Massive Emergency Plan Covering How City Will React to 22 Types of Major Disasters Goes to Committee for Approval

Published : Monday, April 15, 2019 | 5:01 AM

A year-and-a-half-long effort by multiple City agencies led by the Pasadena Fire Dept. has culminated in detailed emergency plans to guide City rescue and recovery operations in the face of calamitous disasters. That Local Hazard Mitigation Plan will be seen by a City Committee on Wednesday.

The draft of the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan lists 22 different possible hazards or disasters, including both natural and man-made calamities, and the applicable responses to each one of them.

High on the list of possible catastrophes? An outbreak of infectious disease, water shortages during a drought period, an aircraft crash, terrorist attacks and earthquakes.

The draft, which has taken several City offices spearheaded by the Pasadena Fire Department over a year and a half to prepare, will be presented to the Public Safety Committee Wednesday, and to the full City Council next Monday, April 22 for possible adoption.

Under the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires local agencies to conduct a disaster mitigation planning process, which includes preparing a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan to address cost-effective actions for risk reduction, required resources for the greatest risks and vulnerabilities, the need for partnerships among residents, organizations and businesses; and the need to educate the public about hazards and to communicate priorities to state and federal officials.

An Agenda Report prepared by the Pasadena Fire Department said the planning process began with meetings in October 2017 of a Citywide steering committee and representatives of the consultant team SOTERIA Emergency Services, and included meetings with stakeholders and the community last year.

Assessing the fiscal impact of the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, Pasadena Fire Chief Bertral Washington said its adoption would allow the City “to pursue federal funding for projects that are not dependent on a presidential disaster declaration and streamline the administration of disaster relief.”

The introduction in the Plan document showed how important it is for the City of Pasadena to recognize the consequences of disasters and the need to reduce the impacts of hazards.

“Across the United States, natural and man made disasters have led to increasing levels of death, injury, property damage, and interruption of business and government services,” the introduction states.

“The impact on families and individuals can be immense and damages to businesses can have catastrophic regional economic effects. The time, money and effort to respond to and recover from these disasters also divert public resources and attention from other important programs and problems.”

The Agenda Report showed the Pasadena Local Hazard Mitigation Plan draft was submitted to the California Office of Emergency Services last September. CalOES approved the draft after numerous revisions.

The plan was then submitted to FEMA, which has also approved the draft pending the final step in the process — its adoption by the Pasadena City Council.

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