Maui Wildfires Use Case: Whole-Systems Approach to Patient Tracking & Reunification

The devasting wildfires on Maui have impacted thousands of Hawaii residents and tourists, tragically killing at least 99 people while injuring and displacing countless others per EMS1. Additionally, it has been reported that more than 1,000 people are missing or unaccounted for. From the frantic evacuations and patient transports to water rescues, evacuee shelters, and individuals unaccounted for, this large-scale tragedy showcases how Simple Tracking System (STS) can aid response efforts best from a whole-systems approach.


Whether evacuating a specific building or facility to the evacuation of neighborhoods or communities, STS documents and tracks evacuees to safety. Our technology only requires an image to track masses throughout an emergency response, making it an easy and efficient way to account for large numbers of people impacted by disasters. And when an entire jurisdiction implements STS, any agency aiding in the evacuation has access, from the fire service, emergency management representatives, or law enforcement.

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An evacuation record template capturing data on each evacuee to include intended destination.

When evacuating a facility, evacuees match against a database of residents or staff to ensure accountability. In the case of an assisted living facility or hospital, a patient’s medical information attaches to their tracking record and moves with the patient to their new destination, providing pertinent medical information for continuous care. At the same time, automatic notification to the patient’s emergency contact can provide updated information and peace of mind. For larger evacuations, it may be unrealistic to capture each individual, so group photos of families or residences can track groups.

The image tied to the evacuation record will automatically include a date and timestamp as well as a GPS location to indicate where an individual evacuated from. The record can also indicate the intended destination for the evacuee, whether that be a hospital, shelter, or alternative location. Once the individual arrives, another photo is taken and added to the record. This not only provides a registry of evacuees but tracks an evacuation from danger to safety.

Water Rescues

There are reports that residents were forced to jump into the ocean to escape the wildfire as flames and smoke spread quickly. The Coast Guard rescued 14 people, including two children. For each rescue, STS documents the patient, tracking their movement to the hospital for medical evaluation and treatment. This important record provides the date, time, and location of a rescue while providing status and location updates to families and loved ones who may be in search of any information. Functionality works best when multiple agencies across a jurisdiction have implemented STS, but a patient record can begin at any point during transport and tracked moving forward.


Several emergency shelters in Maui County and surrounding areas are open to house residents and evacuees. STS is an innovative and reliable tool to document shelter evacuees, creating a database of survivor information including their current whereabouts, invaluable information to loved ones.

This map showcases how shelters could utilize STS to register, document, and track evacuees across a region.

Upon arrival at a shelter, evacuees register with STS, including a photo, demographic and medical information, and emergency contact. If the individual was documented during the evacuation phase, the registration photo automatically matches with the earlier photo, indicating safe arrival at a shelter and creating a full picture of this individual’s evacuation journey. If no prior image exists, the individual’s record begins on-site. The registration record can capture evacuee needs via STS so jurisdictions can track requested resources and easily follow-up to provide necessary services. Groups can register together and thus linked and tracked together within the shelter.

An emergency contact receives notifications on the evacuee(s), including up-to-date status and location. Subsequently, any time the evacuee moves from that shelter, whether to a hospital for medical care or another long-term shelter, the emergency contact will receive an update. Providing updates to families throughout an emergency is critical.


Reunification is the most important phase of any emergency response. And reunification is easier with a whole-systems approach, ensuring that a jurisdiction has information on evacuees, patients, victims, shelter occupants, and those still unaccounted for. Departments from across the response spectrum populate STS, including the fire service, rescue crews, emergency management, hospitals, shelters, and law enforcement. All this information from various agencies can be available via STS allowing jurisdictions to provide families peace of mind following a large tragedy.

Families in search of information on their loved ones can contact the jurisdiction, who serves as a conduit of STS information, through recommended channels. The jurisdiction searches or filters the database by any data field, including image, name, DOB, contact information, etc. Additional fields can further confirm the identity of a missing individual, and matched records pull up the individual’s current status and location. Obtaining an image from the family assists in matching a loved one with any unidentified individuals in the database, confirming the match with additional data fields.

Families who submit individuals without a match in the database provide important information to a jurisdiction, creating a list of known missing or unaccounted for individuals. This will include an image, demographic information, last known whereabouts, etc. to aid in the search efforts. If the missing individual shows up at an area hospital or shelter, their registration record will match with the one submitted by the family, reconciling the missing record.


STS uses image matching technology through facial photos, not facial recognition, to match records throughout a response. The good thing about this capability is the ability to match images of things other than humans, like our beloved pets.

Reports by the Maui Humane Society say that hundreds of pets have been injured or lost due to the wildfire. Various veterinarians and shelters are taking pets for care and lodging, and some will be placed with foster parents due to limited space.

Luckily, some pets have identification linked to a tag or microchip. However, STS tracks the pet’s whereabouts from rescue through medical care and shelter, making it easy to identify and locate the pet later on. The owner can then submit a picture of their pet, if identification is unknown, and automatically match with the pet’s record in STS. As always, additional fields can further confirm the match. The pet’s record will indicate their current status and location, reuniting families. In this particular case, Maui Humane Society would implement STS providing access to area partners to capture all animal rescues.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Maui has they continue to face the impacts of this devastating disaster. However, STS felt the need to highlight how an innovative and reliable solution can aid agencies when tragedy strikes.

For more information on STS, please click here.