Frequently Asked Questions Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning

Question: What is the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000?

Answer: The federal Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000 (Public Law 106-390), commonly known as the 2000 Stafford Act amendments, was approved by Congress on October 10, 2000. This act required state and local governments to develop hazard mitigation plans as a condition for federal grant assistance. Among other things, this legislation reinforces the importance of pre-disaster infrastructure mitigation planning to reduce disaster losses nationwide. DMA 2000 is aimed primarily at the control and streamlining of the administration of federal disaster relief and programs to promote mitigation activities. Prior to 2000, federal legislation provided funding for disaster relief, recovery, and some hazard mitigation planning. The DMA improves upon the planning process by emphasizing the importance of communities planning for disasters before they occur.

Question: What is a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan?

Answer: A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is prepared by local governments in response to the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390). These plans act as a keyway to federal funding afforded under the Robert T. Stafford Act. These plans meet statutory requirements that include:
Organizing resources
Assessing Risk
Engaging the public
Identifying Goals and Objectives
Identifying actions
Developing plan maintenance and implementation strategies

Question: What is meant by "mitigation"?

Answer: Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce long-term risks to human life and property from natural hazards. Sustained action means an action that is long term in its impact. This is an essential component of emergency management, along with preparedness, response and recovery. Disasters can have significant impacts on communities. They can destroy or damage life, property and infrastructure, local economies, and the environment.

Question: Who is involved?

Answer: The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 has defined a “local government” as:
Any county, municipality, city, town, public authority, school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (regardless of whether the council of governments is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law), regional or interstate government entity, or agency or instrumentality of a local government; any Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska Native village or organization; and any rural community, unincorporated town or village, or other public entity
Any local government wishing to pursue funding afforded under FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs must have an approved hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible to apply for these funds. The following Local Governments will be covered by this plan:

• Antioch
• Brentwood
• Contra Costa County
• Danville
• El Cerrito
• Kensington
• Martinez
• Pinole
• Pleasant Hill
• Richmond
• San Pablo
• San Ramon
• Walnut Creek Districts
• Antioch Unified School District
• Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District
• Brentwood Union School District
• Canyon Elementary School District
• Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
• Contra Costa Community College District
• Contra Costa County Office of Education
• Contra Costa Consolidated Fire District
• Contra Costa County Flood Control District
• Delta Diablo Sanitation District
• Diablo Water District
• East Bay Municipal Utility District
• East Contra Costa Fire District
• Ironhouse Sanitary District
• Knightsen Community Services District
• Liberty Union High School District
• Mt. Diablo Unified School District
• Pittsburg Unified School District
• Reclamation District 800 (Byron Tract)
• Reclamation District 830 (Jersey Island)
• Rodeo-Hercules Fire District
• San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
• Walnut Creek School District
• West Contra Costa Unified School District

Question: What hazards does it address?

Answer: This plan will address 7 natural hazards of concern that could impact the Contra Costa County planning area. These hazards are identified as:

Dam Failure
Flood (including levee issues)
Landslide (Mass movements)
Severe Weather
This plan will not address non-natural or human caused hazards. It should also be noted that there are many secondary hazards that are directly attributable to these primary hazards that will be addressed by the plan as part of the analysis of the primary hazard of concern.

Question: Will Global Warming/Climate Change be addressed in the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan?

Answer: Yes. By California state mandate, all jurisdictions that assess the risks associated with natural hazards must consider the impacts of climate change on those hazards. Climate change will not be viewed as a stand alone hazard in this plan. But there will be detailed discussion of the impact of climate change on all 7 hazards of concern.

Question: Does the State of California have a State Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan?

Answer: Yes. The State of California is also required to respond to the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. In fact, if the state does not have a plan, no local governments within the state are eligible for any of the programs these plan’s act as the keyway to. By law, the local plans are to be consistent with the recommendations of the state plan. The State plan can be viewed on-line by clicking here:

Question: How does it affect me?

Answer: As a citizen within a participating jurisdiction, you will be able to reap the benefits of the risk reduction actions identified by your local government. Sometimes these can be a direct impact to your property in the form of reduced insurance premiums and reduced risk if you live in a high hazard area. Most of the time, these benefits are secondary. By reducing risk exposure, your local government does not have to expend as many resources on preparedness, response or recovery from the impacts of natural hazards.

Question: How will it affect my community?

Answer: By participating in this planning effort and adopting the updated plan, your community will be eligible to pursue funding under any of the 5 FEMA hazard mitigation grant programs. These programs provide millions of dollars worth of grant funding annually for risk reduction measures identified in these plans. It should be noted that not all eligible local governments within the Contra Costa County planning area are participation in this planning effort. You are encouraged to contact your community officials to determine your community’s eligibility under these programs. Additionally, if your community participates in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program, this plan may have direct impact on reducing the cost of flood insurance within your community.

Question: What is the Community Rating System?

Answer: The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:
Reduce flood losses;
Facilitate accurate insurance rating; and
Promote the awareness of flood insurance.

For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount). The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories:
Public Information,
Mapping and Regulations,
Flood Damage Reduction, and
Flood Preparedness.

Question: What if my city isn’t a part of the Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation planning process?

Answer: If your community is not covered by a local hazard mitigation plan, they have 2 options.
Option #1- They can link to the Contra Costa County Hazard Mitigation Plan by following the “linkage” procedures included in this plan. It should be noted, that this linkage will have to occur once this initial plan update process is completed. The current planning partnership is locked in for this initial update. No new partners will be added at this time.
Option #2- Contact the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) which has developed a regional plan for the bay area. Your jurisdiction may be able to link to that plan.

Question: Why should I get involved?

Answer: The law specifies that this be an “open public process” where the public is given the opportunity to provide comment on all phases of the plan’s development. The reason that this is important is that it is the average citizen that is most severely impacted by the impacts of natural hazards. When these events occur, homes are damaged, functionality of critical facilities is interrupted, services are interrupted, and the economy is impacted; all having a direct impact on the citizen. The principal goal of this plan is to reduce risk. The large majority of the risk exposure within the County is privately held property. It is not possible to identify and implement risk reduction strategies without the support of the property owners targeted by these strategies. Therefore, there must be public support for these initiatives in order for there to be any successful implementation of the recommendations of this plan.

Question: What can I do to support this process?

Answer: Participate! When you see a notice for a public meeting, make an attempt to attend at least one meeting. When you see an article in the paper about this plan, read it. If you get mailed a questionnaire, please complete it. Review the website periodically to obtain an update on the process. And most importantly, spread the word. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about this process. This plan is very important to the health and welfare of the citizens of Contra Costa County. If you don’t understand something, or want to provide input, contact the County Office of Emergency Services for more information.

Question: Does it cost me or my city anything to produce this plan?

Answer: Seventy five percent of the cost associated with the preparation of this plan is being provided by a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning grant. The remaining 25% of the cost is an “in-kind” contribution from the Steering committee, planning team and the 35 planning partners this plan will cover. “In-kind” contribution means non-monetary contributions such as: staff time, facilities, printing cost, etc.

Question: Where are the hazards in my area?

Answer: By law, this planning effort must map the extent and location of all hazards of concern utilizing the best available data and science. This planning effort has identified 7 natural hazards that have the potential to impact the planning area. These maps are currently being produced and/or updated as part of this planning process. As these maps become available they will be presented to the public via various mediums. The County has established a website where this information can be viewed as it becomes available. The website address is: /

Question: Who can I contact for questions?

Answer: Contact Contra Costa Office of Emergency Services
Susan Roseberry
(925) 313-9625

Or: Rob Flaner, CFM
Tetra tech, Inc.

Or visit the Hazard Mitigation Plan website by clicking here.

Question: Where can I get more information about public meeting dates?

Answer: As public meeting dates are established they will be advertised to the public in two ways. First, all public meeting dates, including Steering Committee Dates, will be posted to the Hazard Mitigation Plan website by clicking here.

Second, the County will disseminate a press release to all meeting outlets discussing public meeting purposes and dates. Additionally, each planning partner will be asked to get the word out on these meetings utilizing whatever means they have available within their jurisdiction.
Question: What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

Answer: The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The NFIP is a Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for State and community floodplain management regulations that reduce future flood damages. Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between communities and the Federal Government. If a community adopts and enforces a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risk to new construction in floodplains, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.

Question: The new FEMA flood maps show that my home is in a flood zone. Does this mean I need flood insurance?

Answer: If your home has a Mortgage, Probably. If your home is financed via a loan that is backed by any federal program (FHA, FANIEMAE, FREDIMAC, FDIC) or you have received or will receive financial assistance (grant or loan) form any federal program (SBA, Federal grant programs), a condition of these programs will be the mandatory purchase of flood insurance. If you are not impacted by any of these programs, your lender may still require that you purchase flood insurance but the Federal Government (FEMA) will not require it. No matter what, , you will be required to disclose the flood insurance purchase requirement upon the sale of your property if it resides in a FEMA designated floodplain per the requirements of CA. State Civil Code 1102. There are many issues with regards to the cost of insurance and the timing of when you are required to place this coverage, and where this coverage is available. If your property is located in a FEMA designated floodplain and you have questions you are encouraged to contact your local community’s Floodplain Management program. To find out if your property is located in a designated floodplain, visit the County website by clicking here.

Question: When will the plan be finished? And… will it be available to the public?

Answer: It is anticipated that this plan update process will take 12 to 14 months to complete up to submittal to the California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA) and FEMA for their review and approval. The target time frame for this submittal is October of 2009. This schedule is contingent upon many factors that can impact schedule and timeline. The timeline for submittal will be continuously updated throughout the process as planning milestones are completed

Question: How can I get a copy of the Multi-Hazard Mitigation plan once it is finished?

Answer: Once the draft plan is assembled and is considered to be ready for public review and comment, it will be posted to the Hazard Mitigation Plan website. There will also be an additional round of public meetings were the draft plan will be presented to the public as well as a round of press releases announcing that the plan is available for public review and comment.