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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a proposed, revision of a currently approved information collection. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), this notice seeks comments concerning the use of a Census form to collect data for the development of a national fire department database.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) receives many requests from fire service organizations and the general public for information related to fire departments, including total number of departments, number of stations per department, population protected, and number of firefighters. The USFA also has a need for this information to guide programmatic decisions, and produce mailing lists for USFA publications. Recommendations for the creation of the fire department database came out of a Blue Ribbon Panel's review of the USFA—initiated by FEMA Director James Lee Witt in the spring of 1998. The report included a review of the structure, mission and funding of the USFA, future policies, programmatic needs, course development and delivery, and the role of the USFA to reflect changes in the fire service. The panel included 13 members of the U.S. fire community. As a result of those recommendations, the USFA is working to identify all fire departments in the United States to develop and populate a national database that will include information related to demographics, capabilities and activities of fire departments Nationwide. In the first year of this effort, information was collected from 16,000 fire departments leaving an estimated 17,000 fire departments still to respond.

Collection of Information.

Title: National Fire Department Census.

Type of Information Collection: Revision of a currently approved collection.

Abstract: Many data products and reports exist that contain fragmented or estimated information about fire department demographics, and capabilities, but there is no single reference source today that aggregates this data to provide a complete and accurate profile of fire departments in the United States. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) receives many requests for information related to fire departments, including total number of departments, number of stations per department, population protected, apparatus and equipment status. The USFA is working to identify all fire departments in the United States to develop and populate a national database that will include information related to demographics, capabilities and activities. The database will be used by USFA to guide programmatic decisions, provide the Fire Service and the public with information about fire departments, and produce mailing lists for USFA publications and other materials.

Affected Public: Federal, State, local or Tribal government; not-for-profit institutions; volunteer; and, industrial fire departments.Start Printed Page 64897

FEMA formsNumber of respondents (A)Frequency of response (B)Hours per response (C)Annual burden hours (A x B x C)
17,000125 Minutes (.42)7,083
Total17,000125 Minutes (.42)7,083

Estimated Cost: The estimated costs to the government will be contracted direct labor and associated overhead costs of $50,000. There would be no costs to the respondent other than the minimal direct labor cost of a single firefighter or emergency service worker taking a small amount of time to complete the census form and this would be applicable only to those fire departments and emergency service agencies with career employees. The majority of the respondents will be from volunteer fire departments for which no direct labor costs will be incurred. The estimate of respondent costs for those career departments is computed as follows: Estimated number of census forms multiplied by the national average hourly rate of a firefighter of $18.65 multiplied by .42 (representing the estimated 25 minutes it takes to complete the census form) and multiply that by .25 which represents the percentage of respondents who are career (paid) personnel. Using this equation, total estimated costs to respondents of $33,290 is derived (17,000 estimated census forms × $18.65 = $317,050 × .42 = $133,161 × .25 = $33,290). The average cost per census form is a minimal $1.96. The respondents are under no obligation to complete the census form and may refuse to do so or stop at any time so the average cost to the respondent of $1.96 could easily not be incurred by refusing to fill out the census form.

Comments: Written comments are solicited to (a) Evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. Comments should be received within 60 days of the date of this notice.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons should submit written comments to Muriel B. Anderson, Chief, Records Management Branch, Information Resources Management Division, Information Technology Services Directorate, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street, SW., Room 316, Washington, DC 20472, or email InformationCollections@fema.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Contact Gayle Kelch, Statistician, United States Fire Administration, National Fire Data Center (301) 447-1154 for additional information. Contact Ms. Anderson at, email InformationCollections@fema.gov. for copies of the proposed collection of information.

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Dated: October 15, 2002.

Edward W. Kernan,

Division Director, Information Resources Management Division, Information Technology Services Directorate.

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[FR Doc. 02-26796 Filed 10-21-02; 8:45 am]

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