County to work on hazard mitigation plan | August 7, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 7, 2009

County to work on hazard mitigation plan

Public meetings being held to get input from residents

by Geoff Gillette

Officials from the Contra Costa County Office of Emergency Services will be in San Ramon next week to talk to area residents about a countywide plan designed to deal with potential natural disasters.

"We're going to have earthquake maps so the public can look at the map and see where their home is in proximity to fault lines. Also where they are in proximity to flood zones," said Emergency Planning Coordinator Susan Roseberry.

"We're in the process of updating our current mitigation plan so we're looking at strategies for strengthening the infrastructure."

Roseberry said the countywide effort is designed to provide residents with an awareness of the potential hazards in the area and also to garner input on how the county can best be prepared.

"We want to get the public aware of the hazards that surround them here in the county and provide them with methods of strengthening their homes and mitigating some of these hazards," she stated.

The county, 13 cities and 27 special purpose districts are working with a consultant to either create a new mitigation plan or update their current one.

Four public meetings have been set up around the county. Danville residents are encouraged to attend the Aug. 11 meeting in the San Ramon Community Center from 6-9 p.m.

Funding for the plan comes from a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant is designed to help the county develop a multi-hazard mitigation plan. The plan will enable the county and the cities to take steps to help reduce or eliminate long-term risks to life, property and the environment.

Contra Costa County currently has a plan, but in order to get money from FEMA, the plan must be updated and the cities and the state must have their own mitigation plans as well.

Roseberry said the most recent iteration of the mitigation plan for the county was written in 2007. She added that some aspects of the plan, such as potential flood zones, have changed and that needs to be accounted for in the new plan.

According to the Office of Emergency Services, an earthquake on the Hayward-Rodgers fault measuring 7.1 could cause $3.5 billion in damages to structures and their contents and displace almost 1,300 households in Contra Costa County.

Roseberry said that making people aware of the dangers is one step toward getting residents to take the necessary steps to make their houses safer and more resistant to natural disaster.

"We're trying to make our county more resilient in the case of a natural hazard," she explained. "It's better to mitigate before an event than after."

Once the meetings are completed, the county will continue to work on its plan. Roseberry said the plan must be approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, California Emergency Management Agency and FEMA. Once approved, the county, cities and specials districts will have access to FEMA funds in the case of a disaster.


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