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County and Cities Seek Public Participation in Survey for Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Are you at risk from earthquakes, wildfires, flooding or power outages? It’s likely that most people living or working in Santa Clara County have experienced some of these hazards or natural disasters. The Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services and local cities are asking residents to participate in a survey that will help them update the 2010 Santa Clara County Hazard Mitigation Plan. The survey is located on the County’s home page at under hot items, and titled “Public Input Sought in Disaster Planning for Santa Clara County.” The deadline to complete the survey is Dec. 3, 2010.

“Information gathered from the survey will be critical to updating the countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan,” said Kirstin Hofmann, Director of the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services. “Preparing and planning how we will mitigate disasters can save lives and significantly reduce or eliminate the impact of threats such as earthquakes, flooding, and wildfires.”

Hazard “mitigation” is a sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from natural, human-caused, and technological hazards and their effects.

The Santa Clara County Local Planning Team, including representatives from the County and the cities of San Jose and Cupertino, have identified 25 possible hazards or threats within Santa Clara County. They want to know what residents think are potential hazards. Do they have 72 hours worth of disaster supplies stored? What are they doing to prepare for potential disasters?

“Knowing the preparedness level of our residents will be a factor in creating our strategies for mitigating potential disasters,” said Christopher Godley, Director of Emergency Services for the City of San Jose.

Hazard mitigation plans result in long-term, cost-effective and environmentally-sound guidelines to reduce exposure to risks from natural disasters, protect critical community facilities, and minimize community disruption.

     Examples of hazard mitigation strategies include:

  • Encouraging the cooperation of utility system providers and cities, counties, and special districts, and PG&E to develop strong and effective hazard mitigation strategies for infrastructure systems and facilities.
  • Establishing requirements in zoning ordinances to address hillside development constraints, especially in areas of existing landslides.
  • Encouraging regulatory agencies to work collaboratively with safety professionals to develop creative mitigation strategies that effectively balance environmental and safety needs, particularly to meet critical wildfire, flood, and earthquake safety levels.

“Saving lives, and reducing property damage and the cost of disasters to property owners and all levels of government is the primary goal of the hazard mitigation plan,” said Marsha Hovey, Emergency Services Coordinator for the City of Cupertino.

The updated local hazard mitigation plan will be added to the regional plan titled "Taming Natural Disasters: Multi-Jurisdictional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan for the San Francisco Bay Area". The current plan may be viewed at:

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Miguel Grey, Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services (408) 808-7800
Posted: November 17, 2010