Fire, Rescue, and EMS

Key Takeaways from the US Fire Administrator’s Summit 2023

The Fire Service’s Role in Community Risk Reduction, Wildland Urban Interface, and Data

The US Fire Administrator’s Summit 2023 was a gathering of fire chiefs, fire service leaders, federal officials, and experts to discuss the most pressing issues and challenges facing the fire and emergency services. The summit, which took place October 10–11, at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, covered a wide range of topics, such as the following:

One of the main themes of the summit was the importance of CRR as a proactive and holistic approach to reducing fire losses and enhancing community resilience. CRR involves identifying and prioritizing local risks, developing and implementing strategies to mitigate those risks, and measuring and evaluating the outcomes. CRR also requires collaboration among various stakeholders such as fire departments, local governments, community organizations, businesses, and residents.

One of the areas where CRR is especially critical is in the WUI. The WUI is the area where the built environment—for example, a neighborhood—intermingles with the natural environment, and it represents the fastest-growing land-use type in the United States. It is also where wildfire problems are most pronounced. Fire is a growing threat to many communities in the US, as climate change, land-use policies, population growth, and development patterns increase the exposure and vulnerability of people and properties to fire.

The summit highlighted several recommendations and actions to address wildfire and WUI risks through CRR, such as these:

The US Fire Administrator’s Summit 2023 was a valuable opportunity for the fire service and the public safety community to exchange ideas, share experiences, and learn from each other. The summit also provided a platform for advocating for the fire service’s needs and priorities at the national level. The summit demonstrated the fire service’s commitment and leadership in advancing CRR, wildfire and the WUI, and other critical issues for the benefit of the communities these organizations serve.

Learn more about how GIS can support the fire service or wildland fire industries.

About the authors

Mike Cox is the Director of Fire and EMS Solutions at Esri, where he advocates for geospatial technology in public safety and works collaboratively with GIS professionals to promote the broad use of Esri’s ArcGIS platform within fire and EMS. He has 27 years of experience in the Henrico County Fire Department and served on the Central Virginia All Hazard Incident Management Team.

Anthony Schultz is the Director of Wildland Fire Solutions at Esri. He has a background in wildland fire management and operations, having served in a variety of capacities, most recently as the Fire Management Officer (FMO) for the State of Wyoming. During his tenure in Wyoming, he served as chair of the Western State Fire Managers and was a Rocky Mountain Coordinating Group member. He has also served as an FMO with the State of North Dakota. Prior to becoming an FMO, he worked as a wildland firefighter the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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