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IAFC Members Invited to Engage EPA Researchers for a Disaster Waste Management Study

EPA's Homeland Security Research Program would like to hear from state and local emergency management and waste management professionals on their experiences and the needs of their community with on-the-ground decision-making regarding waste and debris during disasters. There is an opportunity for IAFC members and their staff to engage EPA researchers for a disaster waste management study.

Why is this study being conducted? Researchers want to understand how debris and waste are sorted, staged, and transported in disaster contexts and how final disposal and/or recycling decisions are made in the field. In particular, researchers are interested in learning more about who is involved in these processes and how coordination between agencies and organizations occurs in different disasters. 

What is the expected outcome of this study? This study would like to bring together emergency management and waste management professionals from across the country to discuss waste and debris management with and learn from one another. This study will help inform the development of resources at the federal level that can contribute to state and local capacity-building for improved future disaster waste management and improvement in coordination among federal, state, and local efforts.

How will this study be conducted? Volunteers can choose to participate in a 90-minute virtual focus group with other state and local emergency response staff or a 60-minute virtual one-on-one interview with the researchers. Focus groups are currently being scheduled for the following dates/times. 

  • Tuesday, November 30 | 12 - 1:30 PM EST / 9 - 10:30 AM PST  
  • Tuesday, November 30 |  3 - 4:30 PM EST / 12 - 1:30 PM PST  
  • Wednesday, December 1| 1 - 2:30 PM EST / 10 - 11:30 AM PST
  • Monday, December 6 | 1:30 - 3 PM EST / 10:30 AM - 12 PM PST  
  • Tuesday, December 7 | 12 - 1:30 PM EST / 9 - 10:30 AM PST  

If dates/times do not work for interested participants, don't hesitate to contact researchers to schedule discussions.

Who should get involved? Researchers would like to hear about experiences with on-the-ground decision-making regarding disaster-related debris/waste (including preparedness or recovery) in various disasters (e.g., tornadoes, floods, wildfires, oil spills, etc.) and types of waste (including hazardous household waste, vegetative debris, construction waste, animal carcasses, etc.). Emergency personnel interested in participating in this research should contact Keely Maxwell (maxwell.keely@epa.gov) or Marissa Matsler (Matsler.marissa@epa.gov) with any questions or suggest participants for this study.

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