Merkley, Wyden Announce Over a Million Dollars Headed to Oregon for Firefighting Pre-Planning and Response

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $1,031,417 in federal funding heading to the Western Fire Chiefs Association Inc. to support a project to use technology to enable firefighters to respond more quickly and safely when responding to fires.

“Oregon’s firefighters answer the call when disaster strikes, and the federal government must do everything it can to support their efforts,” said Merkley. “This funding will help fill a critical gap in fire response by establishing a system that will help our brave firefighting men and women plan and prepare their response to structural fires, keeping our communities and themselves safe. But this is only part of the solution. I’ll continue working to secure all the resources necessary to boost Oregon’s disaster prevention and recovery efforts in every corner of the state.”

“Firefighters risking their lives to protect Oregon families, homes and small businesses deserve federal investment in tools like these that help them perform their jobs safely and effectively,” Wyden said. “These funds will equip these courageous firefighters with fresh strategies and regular training to prepare them to fight blazes that pop up anywhere in our state. That’s good news for Oregon in our firefighting prevention work, and I’ll keep battling to build on today’s announcement so our state has a robust response when disaster strikes.”

This project is intended to test and validate the use of cameras and specialized software to automate fire pre-plan maps that will help fire departments know in advance building layouts, the location of critical objects supporting their effective response, and potential hazards. This system will provide geo-located imagery outdoors and indoors, supporting remote and frequent virtual training for department members on critical structures within a city. Once complete, it will also enable the department to obtain new information on structural changes on a regular basis to help improve on-demand pre-planning.