Technology, Policy & Regulations

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The Total Cost of Wildfires: Implications for Taxpayers and Policymakers
Presenter(s)
: Robert W. Gray, R.W. Gray Consulting, Ltd.; Molly Mowery, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division
Description: Year-end reports suggest that the 2012 wildfires will have cost the nation over $1.4 billion to suppress. However, that is not the total cost. Wildfires have far-reaching economic consequences that are felt for years afterward. A recent study reveals large fires have actually cost from two to 32 times the reported suppression costs. Taxpayers and policymakers must recognize that economic impacts go beyond suppression and property damage. We typically don’t consider these impacts in disaster planning; if we did, policymakers could make a better argument for mitigation funding. Taking a holistic community approach, such as with fire adapted communities (FAC), reinforces the emphasis on up front investments to decrease reliance on suppression costs and improve economic and environmental recovery.

The Use of Geospatial Technologies in Emergency Management
Presenter(s): Tom Patterson, ESRI
Description:
During any disaster situation, wildfires, floods, tornadoes etc. problems facing emergency are mostly geographic. Where is the fire? How fast is it moving? What are the values at risk? Are there hazards to response personnel? Where are the safety zones and escape routes? The answer to these critical questions can be easily answered using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Case studies depicting the use of GIS during CA wildfire and search and rescue operations will be covered. Additional incidents such as the 2009 Victoria bushfires and 2011/2013 Queensland floods in Australia will also be used to exemplify the geospatial platform. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico will be reviewed as the largest deployment of mobile mapping technology used in a huge area covering the coastlines of five states. Finally the lessons learned to map damage assessment during the tornado impact in Tuscaloosa, AL and Joplin, MO in 2011 will depict how GIS was used for real-time mapping when the existing Emergency Operations Center was destroyed. The bottom line, GIS is an efficient system to provide emergency management officials the information they need to make faster, smarter and better decisions based on dynamic, changing conditions (situational awareness) which in turn provides for personnel safety in the field.

Community Wildfire Safety through Regulation (PDF, 2 MB)
Presenter(s):
Don Elliott, Clarion Associates, Colorado
Description: Over the past three years, the National Fire Protection Association and the Fire Protection Research Foundation have been researching the use of land use regulations to reduce wildfire risk in the WUI. This session will review the results of that research and a new NFPA best practices guide for planners and regulators, Community Wildfire Safety Through Regulation to help disseminate those lessons across the United States. Topics to be covered include nationwide research on the type of regulations in common use, which regulations are most effective, the two key regulations with greatest potential to reduce wildfire risk, strategies for building political support for regulations, and good models for cooperation between local fire, building, and planning personnel.

The National Hazard and Risk Assessment (No-HARM) – What’s Your Vulnerability?
Presenter(s):
Chris White, Anchor Point Group, Inc., Colorado
Description: This session will cover the basic methodology and finding in the development of the country’s first and only, 50 state wildfire HAZARD and RISK assessment. The methodology integrates the built environment or WUI factors as well as fire behavior and probability of occurrence into the assessment. Lessons learned include the difficulties and solutions of conducting a National assessment vs. a regional or local assessment. We will present National and Utah State data that shows the percentage of the population in the various hazard categories. The overall objective will be to explain and provide examples of how detailed hazard and risk assessment should be included in policy, planning and operations, regardless of the data source. The presentation will be very visual with real-time examples shown.

Moving Towards Collaborative Forest Fire Management in Portugal (PDF, 3 MB)
Presenter(s):
António Patrão, Portuguese Forest Services - ICNF
Description: Forest fires represent the main natural risk in Portugal. Since 2003 the territory has been affected by extreme wildfires which have consumed more than 1.2 million ha and destroyed lives, and many tangible (e.g. wood, houses) and intangible (e.g. soil, recreation) resources. Following that sequence of events fire management strategies in our country are changing from a paradigm based on response to wildfires (e.g. combat) to a paradigm based on community collaboration directed to wild fires risk mitigation and prevention.

An Overview of Insurance Resources in Wildfire (PDF, 8 MB)
Presenter(s):
Clark Woodward, RedZone Software
Description: Insurance companies are playing an increasingly visible part in the wildland fire community. As firefighters, it can be difficult to see the world through the eyes of insurance company executives. Through his experience as CEO of RedZone Software, Clark has worked closely with both fire departments and national property/casualty insurers and can so provide unique insight into both industries. The presentation will examine 4 topics • Underwriting: How insurers use wildfire modeling in deciding whether to insure a home • Accumulation: Using wildfire modeling to model loss exposure to a single event • Home assessments: How home assessments (public and insurer sponsored) are used by the industry • Response programs: motivation and goals of private insurance response programs As part of the presentation, Clark will highlight specific programs and discuss their impact on the industry and relationship between the public and private sectors.

Using Social Media to Expand Awareness and Engage Communities (PDF, 5 MB)
Presenter(s):
Lauren Backstrom, NFPA Communications and Michael Hazell, NFPA Web & Internet
Description: Each year, social media grows in popularity across the world. Knowing how to utilize social platforms to spread safety messages and educate the public will aid in the success of any campaign. Social interaction can be applied to any brand’s online presence to help generate a deeper connection with the customer. This session will highlight current trends in social media, tips and strategies for moving beyond a basic social presence, how to connect with your audience and what can be learned from the interactions, as well as several examples of successful social media campaigns or programs.

Getting the Most out of Your Firewise® Community Assessment
Presenter(s):
Tom Esgate, Lassen County Fire Safe Council, Inc.
Description: Over the past 10 years, Lassen County Fire Safe Council, Inc. has expanded the use of Firewise Community Assessments. The assessments have been used as environmental compliance documents that help gain required approvals from county, state and federal agencies for grant funded vegetation treatments. Assessments are also included as community chapters in the county Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The session will explain how communities can efficiently expand on their community assessment efforts to cover project environmental compliance required by grantors. Resources and tips will be shared with session participants covering areas such as: Cultural Resources, Endangered Species (including fish & wildlife and plants), Fuel & Severity Models and Mapping Programs.

The Total Cost of Wildfires: Implications for Taxpayers and Policymakers
Presenters: Robert W. Gray, R.W. Gray Consulting, Ltd.; Molly Mowery, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division
Description: Year-end reports suggest that the 2012 wildfires will have cost the nation over $1.4 billion to suppress. However, that is not the total cost. Wildfires have far-reaching economic consequences that are felt for years afterward. A recent study reveals large fires have actually cost from two to 32 times the reported suppression costs. Taxpayers and policymakers must recognize that economic impacts go beyond suppression and property damage. We typically don’t consider these impacts in disaster planning; if we did, policymakers could make a better argument for mitigation funding. Taking a holistic community approach, such as with fire adapted communities (FAC), reinforces the emphasis on up front investments to decrease reliance on suppression costs and improve economic and environmental recovery.

The Use of Geospatial Technologies in Emergency Management
Presenter(s):
Tom Patterson, ESRI
Description: During any disaster situation, wildfires, floods, tornadoes etc. problems facing emergency are mostly geographic. Where is the fire? How fast is it moving? What are the values at risk? Are there hazards to response personnel? Where are the safety zones and escape routes? The answer to these critical questions can be easily answered using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Case studies depicting the use of GIS during California wildfire and search and rescue operations will be covered. Additional incidents such as the 2009 Victoria bushfires and 2011/2013 Queensland floods in Australia will also be used to exemplify the geospatial platform. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Incident in the Gulf of Mexico will be reviewed as the largest deployment of mobile mapping technology used in a huge area covering the coastlines of five states. Finally the lessons learned to map damage assessment during the tornado impact in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri in 2011 will depict how GIS was used for real-time mapping when the existing Emergency Operations Center was destroyed. The bottom line, GIS is an efficient system to provide emergency management officials the information they need to make faster, smarter and better decisions based on dynamic, changing conditions (situational awareness) which in turn provides for personnel safety in the field.

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