For the first time, San Diego County officials are including effects of climate change in their update of the local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The region’s 18 city governments, county and several fire protection and water districts are joining to update the plan — with the public’s input via this online survey.

Firestorms have hit San Diego County several times. Image courtesy County News Center

“We want to know what natural and manmade hazards you think are the biggest threats where you live, and how prepared you are to deal with them,” said Holly Crawford, director of the county Office of Emergency Services. “We also want your ideas about the most important things government should do to help protect the region.”

With 18 questions — 16 of them multiple choice — the survey will help gauge residents’ level of disaster preparedness and awareness and help local governments set priorities for addressing potential disasters before they happen.

New is a reference to climate change, with governments addressing potential harm caused by severe weather and drought.

The region’s updated plan will be reviewed by the state Office of Emergency Services and FEMA in early 2015. Besides the public survey, individual cities and districts may conduct public meetings and other outreach to get your input this year. Here is the 2010 plan.

San Diego County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan was one of the first of its kind approved by FEMA in 2004. Local governments must adopt such a plan to qualify for federal hazard mitigation grants.

Local governments can evaluate our biggest risks and do things to lessen their potential harm: put public warning systems in place, institute building codes that require fire resistant materials and retrofit structures to be more earthquake resistant, to name a few.

The The 533-page Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan is updated every five years and describes the specific vulnerabilities and likely damage in each city and unincorporated communities in the event of various hazards — including earthquakes, wildfires and floods.

The plan also outlines what each jurisdiction can do to mitigate the harm.

— From County News Center

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