New Maps for the Fire Service

Over the past few months, we have been working closely with several municipal fire departments across the U.S. to determine how GIS can support fire service personnel. Through this collaborative effort we have been able to determine the business needs of the Fire Service community and define the application priorities. Starting this month, we will be releasing a series of maps and apps to support municipal fire services.  The first in the series will be the Fire Station Wall Map, the Fire Run Book, and the Pre-Fire Plan editing maps.  Each shares the same Fire Service Basemap optimized for response activities and operational layers to support map editing and production.  All three maps are part of a system built on top of the Local Government Information Model.  The Fire Station Wall Map and Fire Run Book were published to the ArcGIS for Local Government Resource Center (and cross-referenced in the Public Safety module) last week and the Pre-Fire Plan editing map will be published soon.

Example Wall Map for Fire Station #8

The Fire Station Wall Map is designed to support fire personnel in the station by providing an easy way to produce up-to-date wall maps of the station response area.  Fire station wall maps are useful to engine drivers for learning the geographic reference of places in their community, identifying obstacles for navigating fire engines, and determining the best route in responding to a call for service. The Data Driven Pages toolbar is provided to create a series of wall maps for the entire fire district or one map at a time.  The wall map pages are then exported to PDF for printing.

To learn how to use the Fire Station Wall Map, watch the video Introduction to the Fire Station Wall Map, which can be found on the ArcGIS for Local Government Resource Center.

The Fire Run Book is designed to create hard-copy map books of each fire response area.  These Fire Run Books are placed in each fire service vehicle and are used en route for navigation and logistic preparation.  Each page provides detailed reference information such as street names and addresses, building footprints, parks, schools, hospitals, and other facilities.  Useful information about the response location such as fire hydrants, restricted bridges, gates, turning radii, and raised street medians is also provided.

As with the Station Wall Map, Data Driven Pages are used to create the Fire Run Book. However, in this case, the Fire Map index feature class is used to create a single page for each index grid.  Based on feedback received from the Fire Service community, we used the 1:1,000 scale grids from the U.S. National Grid feature class.  If you are using another map index you may choose to insert it into the Fire Map Index feature class instead.  Once the pages are created they can be exported to PDF.Creating a Fire Run Book using the editing map

Two Python scripts are provided in the Create Map Book toolbox.  The Create Street Index is used to overlay the Fire Map Index grid with the street centerlines to generate a street index report in PDF format.  This script requires a reporting tool from to generate the report.

The second script combines the title page, map pages, and street index report into a single document in either landscape or portrait page orientation. If changes to your community require an update, you can choose to print a single page and insert it into your existing run book.

Example PDF file for a Street Index in Landscape Page Orientation

To learn how to use the Fire Run Book, watch the video Introduction to the Fire Run Book, which can be found on the ArcGIS for Local Government Resource Center.

The Pre-Fire Plan editing map helps fire departments conduct pre-incident surveys and create plans for any structure in the community including large developments, apartment buildings, schools, universities, shopping centers, office parks, amusement parks, and hotel conference centers. In addition to the fire service basemap and operational layers it shares with the other maps in this series, it comes with pre-configured feature templates for editing.  The feature templates use symbology from the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation (NAPSG). This display standard allows fire service personnel to easily identify common features such as building access points, safety hazards, fire suppression devices, alarm and control panels, utility shutoff valves, and detectors. Each pre-fire plan is given an identifier that can be displayed on a Fire Station Wall Map or in a Fire Run Book so that viewers can see that a plan exists for a particular site.

Creating a prefire plan for a hospital

These planning documents can be published through a web service for access on a mobile device or in standards-based in-vehicle applications. You can also create a PDF file for each pre-fire plan and add it to a Fire Run Book.

The ArcGIS for Local Government and Public Safety teams would like to thank the following individuals for their expertise and contributions to the design and development of these maps:

  • David BlankinshipIntterra
  • Lt. Dave Novotny—Colorado Springs Fire Dept.
  • Mark Sperry—Colorado Springs Fire Dept.
  • Capt. Mike Wittry—Colorado Springs Fire Dept.
  • Chris Rogers—Kirkland (WA) Fire Dept.
  • Paul Morgan—Alameda County (CA) Fire Dept.
  • Steve Rivero—Orland (IL) Fire Protection District
  • Steve Pollackov—New York City Fire Dept. (FDNY)
  • Peter Hana—Baltimore City Fire Dept.
  • Eric Fisher—Fairfax County (VA) Fire Rescue
  • Bay Area Fire User Group
  • The NAPSG Foundation Fire User Group participants and regional leadership teams

We encourage you to try the new fire service maps and provide your feedback so we can continue to help fire fighters leverage ArcGIS in their local communities.

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Leave a Reply


  1. wprf says:

    The Street Map Index is configured to allow a street to be listed on more than one page. How is a responder to know which page to turn to if block numbers are not listed in the index?

  2. Walter Potts says:

    If you have block numbers with each street (i.e. 100 block Oak St.) in a single field of your street layer, you can use that attribute for the “Street Name Field” in the Create Street Index Report script. This will create a report with a page for each block. Hope this helps.

    • wprf says:

      Thanks Walter. I also found that you can run an Intersect between the streets layer (with blocks in separate field) and index layer and generate a report from resulting line feature class. Report would have blocks and page names, classed by street name. Like this:

      Main Street-
      A1 1100-1200
      A2 1200-1300

  3. mfournierbeck says:

    Hi there – I was hoping you could help me. I keep getting an error when running the street index script via Catalogue:
    “Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “P:\GIS\RDKB\Tools\FireMaps\FireRunMapBook_ex\Application\”, line 15, in
    from reportlab.lib.styles import ParagraphStyle as PS, StyleSheet1
    ImportError: No module named reportlab.lib.styles

    Failed to execute (CreateStreetIndexReport).”

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Walter Potts says:

    Hello mfournierbeck;
    It looks like the script can’t find the StyleSheet1 from Reportlab. Make sure ReportLab is installed correctly for your version of Python. You will find a link to ReportLab in the Requirements page in the on-line help docs. See below. -Walt

    • mfournierbeck says:

      Thanks Walt! – I thought the pkg you provided was missing the reportlab or I had somehow lost it in the extraction. Thank you for the link and pointing me in the right direction.

  5. hansenpech1972 says:

    Walter, thanks for creating these scripts. They have worked great for me. I have one question: Can you use the street index to list locations of subdivisions also? I’ve tried but it will only do streets. Is there somewhere in the script where I can change it look for subdivisions instead of streets. Essentially I want to have it index the subdivision layer instead of the streets layer. Thanks so much!


    • Walter Potts says:

      Currently the Street Index Report requires a linear feature (streets) to be intersected with the polygon feature (response areas) to create the index. You could intersect streets with subdivisions but not subdivisions (polygons) with response areas (polygons). In the next release, the script will allow you to intersect common places (points) such as a municipal builiding with response areas. Extending this capability to allow polygon on polygon indexing is a good idea and we will consider that for a future release. Thanks for the comment. -Walt

  6. gmitchell92 says:

    Walter, Got fired up at Conference to develop a pre-planning app for our Fire Dept. We were hoping to deliver the info to the guys in the field on their Windows 8 tablets. However, with no programmer on staff we haven’t figured out a way to do this. We have created apps through Sharing on ArcGIS Online, but no swiping movements work and the display is not optimized for tablet so very hard to use. Are you working on any configurable tablet apps for public release? Or other suggestions? Thanks, Greg

  7. slsbermuda says:

    Hi Walter. This is amazing. I am in the process of generating an EMO field reference for Bermuda and of course it needs a street index. My confusion is the reportlabs downloading; what am i actually downloading? Am i downloading this (depending on python version of course)
    Thanks for your help.

    • Walter Potts says:

      Hi Sean;
      Yes, that is the executable for reportlabs that is used in the python script to format the street index. If you are running python 2.7 then you would use this executable: reportlab-2.7.win32-py2.7.exe. Hope it helps. – Walter

  8. mikekelleycrump says:

    Different systems ( e.g. ) can be delivered and done much faster with this proper mapping.

  9. mikekelleycrump says:

    Mapping the whole city will definitely help the ease of access for every emergency call.