Photo by The Forum News Via Flickr/ Photo by Amber Marchio.

Last year, fires killed over 3,000 people, injured more than 15,000 and caused an estimated $11.5 billion in damage.

Unfortunately, over a five-year period, the cause of ignition in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) was unknown in almost three out of every five home fire deaths, according to the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association.

The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and FEMA recognizing that this reporting gap needed to be addressed they launched a free, online training program for the fire service, “Understanding Your Role in Fire Incident Data”.

The program, which is funded by a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grant, is part of NASFM’s Fire Education Research Foundation.

According to the NASFM, the goal of the program is to determine the root causes contributing to the reporting gap and develop a training solution to help fire departments across the nation with stronger reporting practices.

“The new training program addresses such an important gap in our national fire incident data,” said Butch Browning, NASFM President and Louisiana State Fire Marshal. “If we don’t know what is causing these fires, we really can’t work effectively to prevent them with solutions that specifically address the root problems. By explaining to fire fighters and chief officers the critical importance of accurately reporting the cause of fires, big and small, in their communities, we can go a long ways towards closing this gap.”

The online course at takes one hour to complete. Upon completing the program a certificate of completion is available that can be used for continuing education requirements.

Also, since this training program is self-guided, it can be easily incorporated into recruit training at a fire academy or station level and used by full-time, call and volunteer fire departments.

Related Stories: How to Prevent Home Fires During the Winter

Up Next

6 Keys To Finding A Pre-Packed Bug-Out Bag

The six essentials you need to know when purchasing a pre-assembled bug-out bag for...