Skip to Content

Data Collection & Analysis (DCA) Training

2024 Data Collection & Analysis (DCA) Training Courses

 See all available DCA Courses. View all courses >

Executive Summary

For many departments, assembling the data elements for a Community Risk Assessment (CRA) can be a challenging and daunting task.  Efforts to pull together community and organizational specific data, analyzing and presenting such in a meaningful format

 can many times fall flat.  Varying levels of expertise within the organization can have significant impact on selecting the proper data elements, understanding where to easily access them and incorporating visualizations into an easily readable document.  

The 2-day Data Collection & Analysis training breaks this process down into a linear set of well-defined and manageable tasks to draft a basic CRA.  Students use various organizational data sets along with Vision 20/20’s intuitive training, tools and proprietary template to quickly and efficiently draft their CRA, setting the foundation for organizational CRR planning and implementation.  The Data Collection & Analysis training was developed with Vision 20/20’s philosophy to Educate, Equip & Engage and is a strategic investment to build a vital skillset for current and future fire service leaders.​

Learning objectives

  • Organize a variety of data elements and their relationships into meaningful segments related to your organization and community
  • Apply the fundamentals of data analysis such as advanced Excel functions, pivot tables, RMS, and practical statistics to build components of your Community Risk Assessment
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate data insights effectively to stakeholders using data storytelling and visualizations

What students are saying about Vision 20/20’s Data Collection & Analysis training
Over my 29-year career I have attended many different classes and conferences. The classes I have attended in the past have provided generalized information on the topics being presented. The data analysis class put on by Vision 20/20 was by far the most impactful class I have attended. This class really brought Community Risk Reduction full circle and has provided me a different mindset on data and program development. The hands-on portion of this class was extremely valuable and gave me the tools to return to my organization with a much better mindset for decision making. Great Class!!

That doing a CRA doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. This was one of the most helpful class I’ve ever taken in the fire service. I would recommend this class to anyone trying to do a CRA. Vision 20/20 is the best thing to happen to the fire service ever, as far as I’m concerned. Thanks again for your time and dedication to the fire service.

If we want to make an impact on our community by making it safer, we must have data to prove to our organization what fire and life safety programs must be put in place. A CRA is vital tool that every fire department should have in place. Vision 20/20 does an excellent job with this class!

Course Outline


Vision 20/20’s 2-day delivery of the Data Collection & Analysis (DCA) training was specifically developed to build a critical skillset for current and future fire department leaders that is focused on understanding and manipulating organizational and external data sources. Built on our initiative to Educate, Equip & Engage the 2-day DCA is forward facing to assist students in creating a working draft of their Community Risk Assessment (CRA). The centerpiece of the DCA training is a Vision 20/20 proprietary CRA template that is utilized throughout the course. The DCA uses a variety of datasets throughout the course, including internal organizational datasets for incident data (fire & EMS), demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and a wide variety of other sources to assess risk. The 2-day course delivery is broken into 5 modules of Understanding the Basics, Making the Most of Your Incident Data, External Data Sources, Weather, Critical Infrastructure & Risk Scoring and Hidden Figures & Increasing Data Quality.

The DCA uses Microsoft Excel and Word as the primary tools for student work, as well as a wide variety of websites to compile externally sourced data and to develop charts, tables and maps. Student activities are interspersed throughout each course module that are dedicated to building on the lesson plan to complete each section of their Community Risk Assessment document.

The course concludes with an online student course evaluation where Vision 20/20 collects a variety of measurable metrics based on knowledge gained, significant student impacts and qualitative data about the course and the students learning experience.

Upon completion of the course, students are provided with a certificate of completion, USB drive with Vision 20/20 materials, various Vision 20/20 branded material and are encouraged to share their completed CRA with Vision 20/20 upon their review of the draft document.

Terminal Objectives

  • Organize a variety of data elements and their relationships into meaningful segments related to your organization and community​
  • Apply the fundamentals of data analysis such as advanced Excel functions, pivot tables, RMS, and practical statistics to build components of your Community Risk Assessment​
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate data insights effectively to stakeholders using data storytelling, visualizations and a professional, evidence-based risk assessment document.

Module Descriptions

Module One

Understanding the Basics

Introduction to Vision 20/20’s proprietary Community Risk Assessment (CRA) template which provides an understanding each section of the CRA along with detailed guidance into accessing and compiling data and visualizations to complete their document.

Builds an understanding of the risk assessment model inclusive of the 6-step Community Risk Reduction process and Output vs. Outcomes.

Overview of common data analysis and statistical terms and concepts, including an introduction to predictive risk analysis.

The module concludes with discussion on the importance of data driven decision making and using the premise of experimentation as the basis for fire service leaders to develop and implement plans that fail small and succeed big.

Module One Activities
Student Activity 1 – Branding exercise used to familiarize students with the Community Risk Assessment template and develop the narrative of the Project Overview section of the CRA

Student Activity 2 – Completion of the Organizational History section of the Community Risk Assessment template.

Module Two

Making the Most of Your Data

Data quality is critical to making strategic, informed decisions on assessing and managing risk to the organization & community.

Managing the relationship with your data, assessing data quality issues through random sampling, cleaning and knowing the limitations of your data helps the organization utilize the value that data provides to its highest extent.

Data sources – Problem vs. People data

Understanding organizational incident data, relationships between data elements and developing a baseline for risk assessment.

Accomplishing data analysis through canned reports and a detailed discussion on manipulating your dataset through MS Excel Pivot Tables and Power Pivot.

Students learn the process of creating maps that incorporate incident data to build out their risk assessments.  These maps concentrate on structure fires by year, cooking fires by year, high volume incident response by the top 50 addresses within the service area, false alarms and a variety of other incident types.

Module Two Activities
Student Activity 3 – Incident data analysis and creating charts for the Incident Data section of your Community Risk Assessment.

Module Three

External Data Sources

The more we know about which groups are at greatest risk and under what circumstances, the more effective we can be at targeting resources and developing the means to mitigate these risks. Investigating people related data uncovers a wealth of information about the people who live in our communities. Students learn how to examine U.S. Census Bureau data from a variety of online tools and incorporate that information into the Community Profile section of their risk assessment.

This module utilizes a wide variety of external data sources that use U.S Census Bureau data to allow the student to explore the sites that provide them the greatest value in capturing charts, graphs and narrative information to help build out the Community Profile.

Students discover how local incident data combined with demographic data of the community provides greater insight into those most at risk.

Module Three Activities
Student Activity 4 – Building the Community Profile section of your risk assessment document. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data compiled from a number of online resources, students create a demographic profile along with housing characteristics for the community.

Module Four

Weather, Critical Infrastructure & Risk Scoring

Natural occurring weather related events bring high levels of risk to many communities.  Module four identifies weather patterns, captures historically significant weather-related incidents and looks at past FEMA disaster declarations which provide a solid baseline of historical events and their impact on the community.

Protecting critical infrastructure (CI) within the community is the foundation of resilience and sustainability.  Students examine the importance of critical infrastructure and how strategic planning and risk mitigation strategies can assist in addressing damage from primary incidents and cascading events. Students utilize documentation from their pre-course assignment and class discussion to determine whether their CI list is complete or needs further investigation as they incorporate it into their risk assessment.

Risk scoring is a qualitative process to analyze each risk that has been identified through the lens of likeliness of occurrence and severity.  Using Vision 20/20’s risk matrix, each risk is assigned a score to provide an organization with a straightforward approach to investigate feasible and sustainable mitigation strategies.

Module Four Activities
Student Activity 5 – Completing the Weather-Related Risk section of the risk assessment by capturing weather data and historically significant weather events along with FEMA declarations for the assessment area.

Student Activity 6 – Identifying Critical Infrastructure within the assessment area and completing the Critical Infrastructure section of the risk assessment.

Module Five

Hidden Figures & Increasing Data Quality

Closing module for the 2-day Data Collection & Analysis Training.

Discussion on Fire Inspections processes that include fires and fire loss in inspectable properties, supporting fire & life safety systems through 3rd party reporting as a best practice in Community Risk Reduction and developing risk profiles by occupancy type.

The importance of fire investigation to your community and completing the FI lifecycle to ensure that data is updated back into NFIRS. Have a deeper understanding of fire trends, cause causal chain analysis more which promote quality discussions on mitigation strategies in the community.

Increasing data quality across the organization is critical to long term success and can be achieved through some strategies that include a focus on giving the data back to its creators, finding opportunities to talk about data across the organization and developing ongoing training and review. Examples are provided to the students to formulate a plan to approach organizational leadership to institute data quality procedures and projects.

Additional Student Activities
Students are provided with extra time on the afternoon of Day 2 to interface with the instructor address and understand difficult concepts and work on sections of their risk assessment that need additional work.

Students are also provided with videos on how to collect and analyze EMS data which has long been a difficult dataset to access due to HIPPA laws. These videos assist the student in obtaining a very specific subset of this data from their organization, creating the pivot tables to analyze and building charts to incorporate in their risk assessment.

2024 Training Course Schedule


State, City
Aurora, CO
Course Dates
July 16-18, 2024
Course Locations
City of Aurora Public Safety Training Center (CAPSTC)

Register >

South Carolina

State, City
Columbia, SC
Course Dates
October 28-30, 2024
Course Locations
S.C. State Fire Academy

Register >


State, City
Downers Grove, IL
Course Dates
To be released soon!
Course Locations
Downers Grove Fire Department


State, City
Westland, MI
Course Dates
To be released soon!
Course Locations
City of Westland FD

Register >


State, City
Austin, TX
Course Dates
To be released soon!
Course Locations
Barbara Jordan Building


State, City
Forsyth, GA
Course Dates
To be released soon!
Course Locations
Georgia Public Safety Training Center

Register >


State, City
Tulsa, OK
Course Dates
To be released soon!
Course Locations
Tulsa Technology Client Service Center