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Mission Fire Watch

Background Context

Fire WatchThe Fire Watch is dedicated to ending veteran suicide in the State of Florida.  According to The Fire Watch, “Veteran suicide is a growing crisis. At least twenty U.S. veterans are taking their lives every day. To date, solutions to prevent suicide have been inadequate at best. In particular, federal solutions have had little to no effect on the crisis on the ground here in Florida. Given that Florida is home to over 1.5 million veterans, the need and the challenge are evident.”  To support its mission, The Fire Watch engaged NLP Logix in 2021 to gather, extract, transform and load disparate data sources into a single visualization tool providing analysis and insights.  This scope of work was to perform data analysis for the full state of Florida.

Nick Howland, Executive Director of The Fire Watch, states, “For decades, access to recent and actionable data on veteran suicide has been an insurmountable challenge for veteran-serving organizations working to end this national tragedy. Data has only been available from the federal government – data that is more than two years old and stops at the state level. We needed data that is more actionable and timely.”

Gnarly Problem

One of this project’s most significant challenges was consolidating the disparate data sources.  Katie Bakewell, NLP Logix Modeling and Analytics Team Lead, stated, “Historically, data around veteran suicide has been at a state level and available two years in arrears.  Thanks to data from the Department of Health, we were able to make this information accessible and actionable for The Fire Watch.”

Strategic Approach

Having identified The Fire Watch’s key points of interest, NLP Logix performed an analysis of data gathered from a variety of sources.  This included the following data:

  • US Census Bureau American Community Survey data at a census tract level
  • Florida Department of Health Death Counts Data
  • Watch Stander Data compiled from two data sets

Over three months, in conjunction with the data analysis, NLP developed an interactive dashboard to support the analysis.  The dashboard timeline began with the initial build and presentation, paused for new data set, iterated with new data refresh, dashboard updates, and then the final presentation.

Bakewell said, “Nick and the Fire Watch Team have been integral in building this analysis.  Without their subject matter expertise, the applicability of the data would have been limited.  Bi-weekly meetings allowed us to quickly integrate any feedback from the team.”

Operational Success

Once the analysis was conducted, the findings were visualized through dashboard development and access to actionable data on veteran suicides is now available.  The dashboard contains non-identifiable, county-specific data on Florida veteran suicides. It is impactful in helping to establish a baseline to measure the success of The Fire Watch as well as to identify high-risk veterans’ groups.

To combat veteran suicide, The Fire Watch has created the program, Watch Stander.  “The data collected, analyzed, and presented for us by NLP Logix is enormously impactful,” says Howland. “Not only does it help us establish a baseline to measure the success of our veteran suicide prevention programs, but it also allows us to identify hotspots – whether along our coast or in a more rural area – and focus our prevention efforts there. We can now build a community support network for veterans right where it is needed most.”

The Watch Stander program enlists 10,000+ community members to be vigilant to the concerns of those at risk.  Training videos and resource guides are available to those interested in standing watch to save lives.  Learn more about the Watch Stander Program: The Fire Watch Watch Standers Program

Learn  more about Advanced Analytics here: NLP Logix – Advanced Analytics

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