Cutting Edge Disaster Management Solutions
This week California’s Wildfire Innovation Sprint moved forward, announcing two initial contracts. We first wrote about this in a discussion of procurement innovation when The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) released a Request for Innovative Ideas in March 2019, calling on the vendor community to provide technology solutions to their problems managing wildfires. The goal was to streamline procurement and move from solicitation to implementation rapidly, recognizing the great need to get life-saving disaster technology in the hands of agencies as quickly as possible. More than 131 vendors responded, and two solution providers were awarded contracts this week to conduct a Proof of Concept, which will be tested in four locations before the state decides if they will be expanded statewide.
Technosylva will receive $383,000 to develop a prototype that predicts the path of a wildfire in real-time using an advanced cloud-based modeling subscription service that considers the vegetation, current and predicted weather, and topography. The goal is to help decision makers determine the probable path of fire spread to allow for early notifications to emergency decision makers for purposes of emergency notifications, evacuations, and public updates.
Northrop Grumman’s contract for $1.6 million will entail the creation of an early wildfire ignition detection system based on remote sensors in the sky that interface directly with local computer aided dispatch systems, so appropriate resources can be dispatched in real-time. The goal is to obtain new wildfire detections as quickly, if not quicker, than a 9-1-1 caller reporting a new emergency.
We will continue to monitor the Wildfire Innovation Sprint project in the new year, when CAL FIRE will make decisions on whether to move forward with these new wildfire management solutions on a larger scale. We expect that the success of California’s first Request for Innovative Ideas will lead to more agencies adopting this form of rapid procurement and deployment for public safety technologies.