Dr. Erica Kuligowski is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in the School of Engineering studying evacuation and emergency communications during bushfire, building fires, and other hazards.
Dr. Erica Kuligowski is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in the School of Engineering at RMIT University. With a PhD in Sociology and MS and BS degrees in Fire Engineering, she has led interdisciplinary research studies of human response to hazards and disasters to improve the safety of people in buildings and communities around the world. She joins RMIT University from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Engineering Laboratory where her research on evacuation and sheltering behaviour and emergency communications in disaster events, including building fire, severe weather, and bushfire, has received awards from the U.S. Government (Department of Commerce) and international fire engineering organisations. Dr. Kuligowski has written seven book chapters and over 100 journal, conference, and agency articles. Her work has led to the development of new or improved building codes and community standards, decision-making tools for disaster response such as evacuation models, and emergency alert/warning creation tools and templates.
Awards and Honours
- SFPE’s Arthur B. Guise Medal, 2020, for the advancement of the science and technology of fire protection engineering.
- University of Maryland, Fire Protection Engineering Department’s Distinguished Alumni Award, 2020.
- Harry C. Bigglestone Award – (with co-authors) for the paper entitled “Assessing the Verification and Validation of Building Fire Evacuation Models”, 2017.
- U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award - for outstanding leadership in developing the Community Resilience Planning Guide, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award - for the development, analysis, and dissemination of a building evacuation database to improve occupant safety during fire incidents, 2016.
- Society of Fire Protection Engineer’s Hat’s Off Award – for contributing exemplary service to the Society, 2015.
- 2015 Engineering Laboratory Communication Award – for an outstanding communication on the technical investigation of the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado (USA)
- U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award - for the study of building performance, warnings, and human behaviour in the investigation of the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado, 2014.
- Harry C. Bigglestone Award – for the paper appearing in Fire Technology that best represents excellence in the communication of fire protection concepts, 2014.
- U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award - for scientific and engineering achievement and technical support in conducting the World Trade Center disaster investigation, 2005.
- U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award – for support in ensuring the accuracy and quality of the analysis, simulations, final report, and recommendations of the Station Nightclub Fire technical investigation, Rhode Island (USA), 2005.
Professional memberships and significant contributions
- WG Expert: ISO TC 268 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SC1 Smart Community Infrastructure, WG6 Disaster Risk Reduction (2020-current)
- Member and Task Group Chair: National Research Council Canada Technical Committee on the Development of a Guide/Code for Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires (2018-current)
- Member: NFPA 1600 (Standard on Continuity, Emergency, and Crisis Management) Technical Committee (2017-2020)
- Member: Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Foundation’s Board of Governors (2020-current)
- Section Editor for the SFPE’s Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (5th Edition, 2015 & upcoming edition, 2022)
- Task Group Member, Co-author of the SFPE Guide to Human Behavior in Fire, 2019
- Associate Editor for Fire Technology Journal
- Editorial Board Member, Fire Safety Journal
- National Fire Protection Association
- Society of Fire Protection Engineers
- International Association for Fire Safety Science
- Dr Erica Kuligowski’s publications can be viewed at her Google Scholar page.
- Applying social science theory and methods to disaster-related engineering problems
- Evacuation behaviour during disasters, including bushfire, flood, and building fires
- People movement and behavioural data collection and analysis from fires and other emergencies
- Emergency communication - alerts and warnings
- Evacuation modelling for building and community-scale hazards
- Post-disaster data collection on emergency official, resident, and occupant decision-making and response
- Community resilience and disaster recovery
- PhD (Sociology) - The University of Colorado at Boulder, USA, 2011
- MS (Fire Protection Engineering) – The University of Maryland, College Park, USA, 2003
- BS (Fire Protection Engineering) – The University of Maryland, College Park, USA, 2001
- Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, RMIT University (2020 - current)
- Fire Protection Engineer, Research Social Scientist, and Group Leader (WUI Fire Group), Engineering Laboratory, U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (2002-2020)
- Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, College Park (2011 - 2014)
- AI Techniques for Emergency Management and Critical Infrastructure - CSIRO Data61 Program Agreement - Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program (NGAIGP) . Funded by: Data61 (CSIRO contract) from (2023 to 2028)
- Investigating Bushfire Evacuation Travel Behaviour in High-risk Communities. Funded by: ARC Future Fellowships commencing in 2022 from (2023 to 2027)
- WUI-NITY 4: An Industry-Ready WUI Fire Evacuation Model. Funded by: Fire Protection Research Foundation Inc. from (2023 to 2023)
- Co-Creative Improved Understanding and Awareness of Multi-Hazard Risks for Disaster Resilient Society [C2IMPRESS] (administered by Sampas Bilisim Ve Iletisim Sistemleri Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S.). Funded by: Horizon Europe 2022 - Research Innovation Actions from (2022 to 2025)
- Predictions in public: Understanding the design, communication and dissemination of predictive maps to the public. Funded by: Natural Hazards Research Australia from (2022 to 2023)
- Kuligowski, E.,Waugh, N.,Sutton, J.,Cova, T. (2023). Ember Alerts: Assessing Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages in wildfires using the Warning Response Model In: Natural Hazards Review, 24, 1 - 30
- Rohaert, A.,Kuligowski, E.,Ardinge, A.,Wahlqvist, J.,Gwynne, S.,Kimball, A.,Benichou, N.,Ronchi, E. (2023). Traffic dynamics during the 2019 Kincade wildfire evacuation In: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 116, 1 - 16
- Ronchi, E.,Wahlqvist, J.,Ardinge, A.,Rohaert, A.,Gwynne, S.,Rein, G.,Mitchell, H.,Kalogeropoulos, N.,Kinateder, M.,Benichou, N.,Kuligowski, E.,Kimball, A. (2023). The verification of wildland–urban interface fire evacuation models In: Natural Hazards, , 1 - 27
- Xu, N.,Lovreglio, R.,Kuligowski, E.,Cova, T.,Nilsson, D.,Zhao, X. (2023). Predicting and Assessing Wildfire Evacuation Decision-Making Using Machine Learning: Findings from the 2019 Kincade Fire In: Fire Technology, 59, 793 - 825
- Gwynne, S.,Ronchi, E.,Cuesta, A.,Villa, J.,Kuligowski, E.,Kimball, A.,Rein, G.,Kinateder, M.,Benichou, N.,Xie, H. (2023). Roxborough Park Community Wildfire Evacuation Drill: Data Collection and Model Benchmarking In: Fire Technology, 59, 879 - 901
- Dootson, P.,Kuligowski, E.,Murray, S. (2023). Using videos in floods and bushfires to educate, signal risk, and promote protective action in the community In: Safety Science, 164, 1 - 13
- Kuligowski, E.,Gwynne, S.,Xie, H.,Westbury, A.,Antonellis, D.,Pongratz, C. (2023). Simulating Evacuation of Humanitarian Settlements In: Fire Technology, , 1 - 31
- Singh, D.,Ashton, P.,Kuligowski, E.,Gamage, P., et al, . (2022). Bushfire evacuation decision support system use in incident management training In: Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 37, 73 - 76
- Kuligowski, E.,Ronchi, E.,Wahlqvist, J.,Gwynne, S.M.V., et al, . (2022). Evacuation modelling for bushfire: the WUI-NITY simulation platform In: Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 37, 40 - 43
- Wu, A.,Yan, X.,Kuligowski, E.,Lovreglio, R.,Nilsson, D.,Cova, T.,Xu, Y.,Zhao, X. (2022). Wildfire evacuation decision modeling using GPS data In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 83, 1 - 15
3 PhD Current Supervisions