SafeMeasures® Helps Agencies With Disaster Readiness
October 20, 2020 | Ryan Kielczewski
Wildfires in California are a regular occurrence, but this wildfire season is proving to be especially devastating. The reality of 2020 is reflected in data that show a 40-year upward trend in wildfire damage across the state. While NCCD is not in the firefighting business, we can provide timely contact information for youth in the custody of child welfare and juvenile justice agencies when a natural disaster strikes.
For the past decade, NCCD’s data reporting service, SafeMeasures®, has provided California child welfare and juvenile justice agencies with a mapping feature known as the “disaster map.” This map plots the perimeters of disasters including wildfires, flood warnings, tornado warnings, and earthquake intensities and epicenters; identifies all youth within a 10-mile radius of the disaster who are system involved; and alerts appropriate staff with a list of those youth and their addresses.
SafeMeasures receives updates from the National Interagency Fire Center via a daily feed and layers this information on top of the current locations of youth. Users have two options for viewing this information.
- Location: This is a fixed-perimeter view showing youth physically located within a specific area, e.g., a county.
- Assignment: This is a non-fixed-perimeter view showing the location of all youth whose cases are assigned to a county, even if the youth currently reside outside of that county.
Both versions provide a map that plots the location of youth, along with a list containing key contact information. This makes it easier for agencies when asked to account for children, families, and caregivers in their care who are near active wildfires and other disasters.
SafeMeasures also provides a more targeted list of all youth who are currently within a 10-mile radius of an active natural disaster. During peak wildfire season, this Alert Address list is the most useful of the disaster map’s capabilities. No matter where a fire hits, any user who views this list can quickly check to see if any of their assigned youth are in danger. To further stay informed about recent active disasters and potentially affected youth, users can sign up to receive this list by email on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Please reach out to SafeMeasures staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on this feature. NCCD staff are aware of the growing alarm regarding wildfires in California, and we hope that disaster mapping can support agency staff throughout California when they need current reliable information to help ensure the immediate safety of children and families. Knowing where children are located is a vital component of disaster readiness efforts.
Ryan Kielczewski is a policy and reporting analyst with NCCD.