Public Works Blog
GIS tech creates emergency incidents map for wildfire response
Posted On: October 01, 2021
Chelan County Public Works GIS technician Lori Beidler will be honored in October by the Washington Chapter of the American Public Works Association for an interactive map she designed to aid in wildfire evacuation notification.
A county employee for 13 years, Beidler is receiving the Empowering Teams Award, which recognizes public works teams harnessing new technologies to accomplish tasks more efficiently.
Beidler, who is also the addressing coordinator for public works, was instrumental in using GIS technology to build an interactive map that is used in emergency situations. In working with RiverCom and Chelan County Emergency Management on emergency response to wildfires, Beidler created the Chelan County Emergency Incident Map this summer.
The online map provides consistent, real-time updates of road closures, evacuations and structure counts that are essential during wildfire season. It allows homeowners to put in their address and see if their property is in an evacuation area, and what level of evacuation they are on. It also shows road closures.
For emergency responders, the online map gives them an accurate number of how many structures and homes are in an evacuation area – and where those homes are. Beidler also has worked with incident response teams on post-fire mapping.
The map was used heavily for the Twenty-Five Mile and the Rooster Comb fires this summer. At the end of September, it had 235,559 hits.
“Lori works closely with our 911 dispatch agency and Chelan County Emergency Management,” said Eric Pierson, Chelan County Public Works director/county engineer. “She is viewed by local emergency services as an asset in her field and is called upon for help in many ways. Oftentimes, she has stepped in during nonwork hours to update the emergency incident map for the public and emergency responders.”
Beidler will receive the award at the APWA chapter meeting Oct. 14 in Yakima.
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