2022 Challenge Honorable Mention – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Presenting Team Members:

Anil Singh – Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering

Ethan Stroh – Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering

Caleb Erlenborn – Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering

School: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Challenge: Resilience for All in the Wake of Disaster

Develop holistic solutions to improve the resilience of the built environment, making equity a central focus of the proposed solution by strengthening the ability of communities—especially those that are underserved, marginalized and vulnerable—to adapt, persist, and recover in the event of natural or manmade disruptive events.

Project Title: Implementation of Affordable Wildfire Prevention Plans

Solution: Our project focused on methods to prevent the disastrous consequences of wildfires. Specifically, we focused on creating a solution that serves socially vulnerable Californian communities living in areas that have a high risk of wildfires. Our selected method of doing so has three main aspects: the development and adherence to Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), the reallocation of government provided funds to focus on communities that most need financial support, and the implementation of defensible zones. Through years of research, the California Safe Council has found community-based efforts to have the most effective long-term benefits. However, Community Wildfire Protection Plans are expensive to implement and require proactive initiative from many community members. Historically underserved communities often lack the time and money to mobilize in this way, and this can prevent them from receiving monetary support in the form of grants. To aid in this implementation, we have developed a strategy to partner with insurance companies. Through this, we intend to create a mutually beneficial arrangement between insurance companies and at-risk communities where the development and adherence to a CWPP yields a financial incentive in the form of reduced fire insurance premiums. To achieve this, we recommend partnering with the ongoing collaboration between Governor Newsom’s administration and the California Department of Insurance in order to gather more data on the effectiveness of CWPPs in order to present a more convincing plan to insurance companies.