Bipartisan Kim Bill Would Improve Wildfire First Responder Communications

U.S. Representative Young Kim (R-CA) recently sponsored bipartisan legislation that would improve communication and information sharing among first responders during wildfires.

“The ability of first responders to quickly and safely share information during a wildfire is critical and can mean the difference between life and death,” Rep. Kim said Jan. 20.

On January 14, the congresswoman introduced the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Wildland Fire Communications and Information Dissemination Act, HR 6410, with original cosponsor U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), who both sit on the US House Science. , Space, and Technology Committee, which is reviewing the bill.

HR 6410 follows a roundtable on the October 2021 wildfires hosted by Rep. Kim where representatives from several California first responder groups and the National Weather Service discussed wildfire coordination and response efforts in the state’s 39th District and Southern California, according to Rep. Kim’s staff.

“Having heard directly from first responders about the need for improved communications and information sharing, I am proud to introduce a bipartisan bill that seeks to do just that,” Rep. Kim said. “I urge my colleagues to support the NIST Wildland Fire Communications Dissemination Act, and I will continue to work to create responsible policies to support those on the front lines to prevent, detect and contain wildfires and keep people safe. civilians.”

If passed, HR 6410 would require NIST to develop guidance and measures on providing real-time data to firefighters; provide recommendations to the National Interagency Fire Center by conducting field tests and working with communications technology manufacturers; and work with the Government Accountability Office to report on the National Interagency Fire Center’s implementation of the recommendations, according to Rep. Kim’s summary of the bill.

Similar provisions proposed by Rep. Kim as amendments to the Democrats’ National Wildfire Risk Reduction Program Act, HR 5781, were approved when the Committee on Science, Space and House technology passed the bill in a November 2021 markup session.

“California people in my district and across the state know all too well the devastating effects of wildfires,” Rep. Kim said at the time. “I am committed to working on common sense policies that will help those on the front lines of keeping communities safe to do their dangerous work.”

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