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Rep. Young Kim Speaks at Science, Space and Technology Committee Markup

Jan 18, 2023 | Press Releases, Wildfires

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Young Kim (CA-40) and Melanie Stansbury (NM-01) introduced the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act (H.R. 369) to boost communications and information sharing efforts between first responders, fire management response officials and community members during wildfires.

Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02) joined as an original cosponsor.

Congresswoman Kim first introduced this bill in the 117th Congress after hearing directly from representatives from Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), California Army National Guard (CalGuard), CAL FIRE and the National Weather Service at a wildfire roundtable she hosted to discuss the state of wildfire coordination and response efforts across Southern California.

“Our brave first responders’ ability to rapidly and securely share information during a wildfire can save lives,” said Kim. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill after hearing directly from Southern California first responders. I will keep working to create thoughtful policies to support those on the front lines of preventing, detecting and containing wildfires and keeping our communities safe.”

“The Orange County Fire Authority’s (OCFA) mission to continuously enhance our emergency response services hinges on the support of elected officials who are engaged with and supportive of the fire service,” said OCFA Fire Chief Brian Fennessy. “Rep. Kim is such a leader, and her efforts to improve communication and information sharing on major incidents through the introduction of this bill is critical to our ability to safely prevent, detect, and contain wildfires.”

“Last year, communities across New Mexico were devastated by the two largest wildfires in our state’s history, and we owe so much to our brave firefighters and first responders who fought these fires. I worked alongside our New Mexico delegation to secure $3.95 billion in disaster relief funding, but we must ensure that our firefighters have the best science, technology, and tools to respond,” said Rep Stansbury. “That’s why I am proud to join Representative Kim in re-introducing bipartisan legislation that will help improve emergency response and help keep our firefighters safe by improving data, communications, and coordination across agencies.”

“As wildfires continue to threaten our communities in the West, we must work together to find ways in which we can better support our first responders – the firefighters who bravely put their lives on the line to fight these flames. That is why I am proud to cosponsor Representatives Kim and Stansbury’s bipartisan bill to support our first responders and enhance communication and response times,” said Congressman Neguse.

The NIST Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act would require NIST to work on wildfire communications efforts by:

  • Executing a research plan on public safety communication coordination standards among federal, state, local, and tribal wildland firefighters, fire management response officials and the National Interagency Fire Center;
  • Carrying out live and virtual field testing and measurement of equipment, software, and other technologies to develop standards for information dissemination; and
  • Providing recommendations to the member agencies of the National Interagency Fire Center on how to improve communications during wildland fires.

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