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NIST Guidance Covers Emergency Response During Wildfires


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this month released a pair of reports that include strategies for protecting lives when there is not enough time to safely evacuate residents in the event of a wildfire. As part of this effort, NIST has also launched a new website that provides guidance for making built structures and entire communities more fire resistant.

The reports and guidance are based on the culmination of several years of research by experts at NIST and other federal and state agencies, and is an outcome of an analysis of California’s catastrophic Camp Fire, which killed 85 people in 2018.

The report, WUI Fire Evacuation and Sheltering Considerations: Assessment, Planning, and Execution (ESCAPE), helps communities develop plans and process new information during wildfires, all while considering a community’s resources and conditions. NIST’s other report, A Case Study of the Camp Fire: Notification, Evacuation, Traffic, and Temporary Refuge Areas, meshes 2,600 observations and data points with the timeline of the spread of the Camp Fire to examine how first responders performed lifesaving actions.

“The goal of these reports is to apply lessons learned from the Camp Fire in ways that make our communities safer in the face of continuing wildfire risks,” said NIST fire protection engineer Alex Maranghides, who co-authored the two reports. “Tragically, we are releasing these reports in the aftermath of the fire on Maui Island in Hawaiʻi. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this terrible event.”

Access more information and the reports on NIST’s news page.

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