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)
- 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)
- Participatory Bushfire Risk Management in Victorian Secondary Schools. Funded by: Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund 2018 onwards- Grant from (2022 to 2023)
- Resilience and Adaptation to Climatic Extreme Wildfire (RACE Wildfires). Funded by: National Research Council Canada - Contract from (2021 to 2024)
- WUI-NITY 3: Multimethod traffic movement data collection for the expansion of the wildfire evacuation platform WUI-NITY (externally led by Fire Protection Research Foundation). Funded by: National Institute of Standards and Technology from (2021 to 2022)
- Developing AI-Based Wildfire Evacuation Behavior (AI-WEB) Models (externally led by University of Florida). Funded by: National Institute of Standards and Technology from (2021 to 2022)
- Kuligowski, E.,Zhao, X.,Lovreglio, R.,Xu, N.,Yang, K.,Westbury, A.,Nilsson, D.,Brown, N. (2022). Modeling evacuation decisions in the 2019 Kincade fire in California In: Safety Science, 146, 1 - 12
- Haghani, M.,Kuligowski, E.,Rajabifard, A.,Lentini, P. (2022). Fifty years of scholarly research on terrorism: Intellectual progression, structural composition, trends and knowledge gaps of the field In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 68, 1 - 35
- Dootson, P.,Kuligowski, E.,Greer, D.,Miller, S.,Tippett, V. (2022). Consistent and conflicting information in floods and bushfires impact risk information seeking, risk perceptions, and protective action intentions In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 70, 1 - 27
- Haghani, M.,Kuligowski, E.,Rajabifard, A.,Kolden, C. (2022). The state of wildfire and bushfire science: Temporal trends, research divisions and knowledge gaps In: Safety Science, , 1 - 28
- Zhao, X.,Xu, Y.,Lovreglio, R.,Kuligowski, E.,Nilsson, D.,Cova, T.,Wu, A.,Yan, X. (2022). Estimating wildfire evacuation decision and departure timing using large-scale GPS data In: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, , 1 - 18
- Fisher Liu, B.,Jin, Y.,Austin, L.,Kuligowski, E.,Espina Young, C. (2021). The Social-Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) Model: Identifying the Next Frontier In: Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness: Integrating Public Relations Scholarship with Practice, Taylor & Francis Group, New York & London
- Doermann, J.,Kuligowski, E.,Milke, J. (2021). From Social Science Research to Engineering Practice: Development of a Short Message Creation Tool for Wildfire Emergencies In: Fire Technology, 57, 815 - 837
- Kuligowski, E. (2021). Evacuation decision-making and behavior in wildfires: Past research, current challenges and a future research agenda In: Fire Safety Journal, 120, 1 - 9
- Wahlqvist, J.,Ronchi, E.,Gwynne, S.,Kuligowski, E., et al, . (2021). The simulation of wildland-urban interface fire evacuation: The WUI-NITY platform In: Safety Science, 136, 1 - 12
- Rahouti, A.,Lovreglio, R.,Dias, C.,Kuligowski, E.,Gai, G.,La Mendola, S. (2021). Investigating office buildings evacuations using unannounced fire drills: The case study of CERN, Switzerland In: Fire Safety Journal, 125, 1 - 17
1 PhD Current Supervisions