PCI Property Casualty Insurers Association of the United States hosted a congressional hearing on Thursday the 29th of September. The purpose of the hearing, “Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery” on Capitol Hill was to provide Congressional aids with resources to help their constituents take effective action to mitigate before a wildfire event.
According to their press release, “The event was the second installment in PCI’s 2016 Capital Engagement Series. Tom Glassic, PCI’s vice president, policy and government relations opened the event. Jenn Fogel-Bublick, SmarterSafer Coalition moderated the panel of experts including Debra Ballen, general counsel and senior vice president of public policy at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS); Faith Berry, associate project manager, wildfire division at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA); Carl Hedde, senior vice president, head of risk accumulation at PCI member Munich Re; Doug Hilderbrand, lead of NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation; and Bryan Rice, director of the Office of Wildland Fire (OWF) at the Department of the Interior.”
NFPA’s presentation at the event focused on wildfire-related events and described current research NFPA is directly sponsoring and conducting and also what resources NFPA offers to help with wildfire mitigation.
The presentation and handout resources that NFPA provided were well received by the audience. It was a lot of fun to participate because the audience (mainly congressional aids, future legislative leaders) were so interested in the topic and it was interesting to hear what fellow panel members shared about some cutting edge technological advancements.
Questions were raised about how legislators can help become a part of the solution, because they were concerned about the magnitude of wildfire-related losses and how this cost is exponentially growing. There was interest in the NFPA’s Wildland and Rural Fire Protection Standards including NFPA 1141 and 1144. They were interested in exploring how NFPA’s standards could be adopted in whole or in part by states and communities in order to create more resilient communities.
Two of NFPA’s handouts at the presentation the Firewise Toolkit and Take Action’s new Backpack Emergency Go Kit were a big hit. These resources are currently available in a downloadable PDF format on NFPA’s website. It was so encouraging to see Congressional member interest in becoming an integral part of the solution to preventing loss from wildfires.