Following months of surveying the public and assessing levels of risk associated with natural and man-made disasters, the County of San Mateo has updated and adopted a federally mandated plan which lets it receive federal and state dollars in the event of an emergency.
The Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, meeting unanimously approved the countywide Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) and Local Hazard Mitigation Plan Annex. The Board also incorporated the LHMP by reference into the San Mateo County General Plan.
The uniform hazard mitigation strategy is an umbrella plan for the entire county and the annex is specific to the unincorporated area. Twenty-eight participating cities and special districts also created their own individual annexes to the plan as required every five years by federal mandates in the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.
The new multi-jurisdictional plan focuses on several natural disasters including dam failure, drought, earthquake, landslide and wildfire as well as potential man-made disasters. The document discusses the hazards and risks, includes a community wide profile and lists mitigation strategies.
“It’s much more than an emergency plan. It’s really a land use plan,” said Supervisor Dave Pine, District One, prior to the Board’s adoption.
The plan not only allows the participants to quality for pre- and post-disaster federal and state funding, but also provides a foundation from which to measure efforts to create and sustain resilient communities.
A key component in the eight-month planning process was an online community survey which asked residents to share their knowledge of an area’s vulnerability to hazards based on past occurrences and how they’d like government to prepare. From more than 1,100 responses the top three desired actions are:
· Strengthen infrastructure;
· Protect critical facilities; and,
· Better public information about risks and vulnerable areas.
A multi-agency steering committee and consultant Tetra Tech guided the update process. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has tentatively approved the plan, pending its adoption by the County and all participating jurisdictions.
The complete plan and more information is available at http://planning.smcgov.org/local-hazard-mitigation-plan.