Increasing Resiliency in Santa Barbara County

Is your home or office building susceptible to damage from earthquakes, wildfires, or floods? Do you want to help increase the likelihood that you can recover from disasters and prevent future damage from these and other natural hazards? Your participation can make our communities more resilient.

With a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services is leading a local effort to update the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan identifies natural hazards throughout Santa Barbara County. The plan includes all eight cities and presents an assessment of critical facilities vulnerable to these hazards. The plan lists potential actions needed to reduce risk and future damage.

Santa Barbara County OES welcomes citizen participation to ensure development of a strong mitigation strategy. In the near future, a public survey will be made available online, drafts of the plan will be posted for review, and ultimately the plan will be presented to the Board of Supervisors and all eight city councils. Pleasesend an email to if you wish to be notified of these opportunities to participate.

Although the plan enables the County and cities to be eligible for various assistance grants, the plan’s value really lies in the identification of hazards and helps emergency managers and residents better prepare for disasters. The current hazard mitigation plan is available online at OES’ web site.

OES’ “Mitigation Advisory Committee” is working with local planning teams at the County and in each city to review recent events such as wildfires and floods, and mitigation projects that have been completed or are in progress based on the current plan, and compile documentation regarding local government capabilities to continue implementing mitigation strategies. Dewberry consulting has been hired to update the risk assessment for the identified hazards and coordinate the development of the complete plan update. The Mitigation Advisory Committee will convene again in March 2011 to review the updated risk assessment and mitigation progress. At this time, new mitigation actions will be proposed and public input will be solicited.

OES, working with the city representatives, identified the following natural hazards for evaluation in the updated plan:

o Flooding (including coastal surge)

o Wildfire

o Earthquake

o Landslide / Coastal Erosion

o Dam Failure

o Tsunami

o Agricultural Pests and Diseases

This plan update is being coordinated by the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Please direct questions or comments to Richard Abrams at or 805-560-1081

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.

After Disaster in Montecito, Where Is All the Money Going?

Santa Barbara nonprofits account for millions spent on relief efforts.

Santa Barbara Experiences a Rainy March, but a Dry Year

Water year only 34 percent of normal for precipitation.