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Equity mapping tool created after Marshall Fire

The tool was used to identify households with the highest need for resources, in an effort to prioritize them after the devastation.

BOULDER, Colo. — After the Marshall Fire, a new tool was used to help ensure those who needed the most help were prioritized to receive resources and other aid.

Resilient Analytics created an equity mapping tool. In partnership with Boulder County, the tool allows different filters that provide more perspective about neighborhoods impacted by the Marshall Fire. 

For instance, different filters allowed the county to look at different factors: socioeconomic background, household value, residents' age, language barriers for residents, level of insurance, underrepresentation and education levels. 

"So now we have gone from 2,000 homes which was really overwhelming to look at and now we have broken it down to just a handful neighborhoods that have the primary risk which is the answer that Boulder County really wanted to get at,' said Resilient Analytics Director Paul Chinowsky. 

The filters then allowed Boulder County officials to determine which households had the highest need for aid and other resources. It helped push those in need of additional assistance to the front of the line. 

"They just don’t have the same capacity to do things such as take off work to work with the insurance. They don’t have the insurance in place to rebuild the same and interestingly enough, this is where you are seeing a few lots for sale where some people have just said 'we can’t afford to do this. We are selling off the lot,' " said Chinowsky. 

The tool was already in development when the fire occurred, but the need for the tool became more urgent thereafter. 

"I think one of the biggest things that made us feel like we were helping is that people that didn’t have the time and resources where they could write letters to the county, where they could be on the phone for four hours with the insurance company, where they were getting pushed to the back because they didn’t have the voice or the time, we were getting these people noticed," said Chinowsky. 

The county plans to use it in the future, in the event of another natural disaster. 

"I think of all the things that we did, and that’s the thing that I am most proud of doing that the people that just didn’t have the resources to have their voices heard, we gave them a voice," said Paul Chinowsky. 

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Marshall Fire

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