Red Cross volunteer

American Red Cross volunteer David Enriquez is part of a team that maps and monitors wildfires and flooding in Arizona and New Mexico to help keep Red Cross responders aware of the current incident situation.

The team uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to provide vital information about impacted areas. 

This season, he assisted with 44 wildfires, including the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon, Black, Tunnel and Pipeline wildfires. He also has helped with disaster response for 15 flooding incidents.

During a developing disaster, it’s important to know what’s happening in real time: Where is the incident? Are there evacuations? Where are the necessary trailers? Where should a shelter be located? Where are there power outages?

“In order for the Red Cross to provide services in a timely fashion and be good stewards of donor dollars, it is important to have good data and situational awareness,” Enriquez said.

“Maps and dashboards can communicate in a quick and effective way so leadership has the necessary information to make decisions.”

Enriquez is part of the Red Cross information and planning team and during the past season worked under the direction of Regional Information and Planning Lead Doug Patriquin for the Arizona-New Mexico region.

“To be on this team, many of us take mapping classes through the Red Cross to gain the proficiency necessary to work with these maps. That with independent study helps us learn how to use these tools. It is a continuous learning experience,” Enriquez said.

Enriquez has taken on a leadership role in GIS mapping development and improvement.

“David has been a key player in the situation unit of the information and planning function in the Arizona-New Mexico Region in both steady state and disaster response. This includes his involvement in the Wildfires of Concern process during wildfire season,  monitoring other incidents such as the current monsoon season events, and conducting situation awareness briefing for the disaster team,” Patriquin said. 

For his outstanding volunteer work, Enriquez received the Arizona Geospatial Volunteer of the Year Award in September from the Arizona Geographic Information Council, a governor-appointed board of geospatial professionals. 

He was recognized for volunteering significant time and geospatial expertise to promote and enhance the use of geospatial technology in Arizona. 

“I was thrilled to learn about David’s volunteer efforts with the American Red Cross. His work is truly what the Arizona Geospatial Volunteer of the Year Award is about,” said  Deputy State Cartographer Jenna Leveille, who administers the Arizona Geographic Information Council.

“It is meant to recognize and celebrate the unsung heroes volunteering their time, knowledge and expertise to make our world a better place,” 

“David’s story is inspirational. I hope that it is a catalyst for others. We are so lucky to have him in Arizona,” she added.  

Enriquez, a Tempe resident, became a Red Cross volunteer about 16 months ago. He owned an import car repair shop for 45 years before retiring. His sister, also a Red Cross volunteer, encouraged him to sign up.

“It is an honor and privilege to work with the information and planning team along with all the other incredible and talented Red Cross volunteers,” he added. 

Lori Baker is an American Red Cross communications volunteer.

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