The City of La Palma is preparing a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, or LHMP. This plan will help create a safer community for residents, businesses, and visitors. The LHMP allows public safety officials and city staff, elected officials, and members of the public understand the threats from natural and human-caused hazards in our community. The plan will also recommend specific actions to proactively decrease these threats before disasters occur.
The next meeting regarding the draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1, starting at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Why have an LHMP?
An LHMP will let La Palma plan for future emergencies. Usually, after a disaster occurs, communities take steps to recover from the emergency and rebuild. A LHMP is a way for the City to become more prepared in advance of these disasters, so when they do occur, less damage occurs and recovery is easier. Our community can use LHMP strategies to reduce instances of property damage, injury, and loss of life from disasters. Besides protecting public health and safety, this approach can save money. Studies estimate that every dollar spent on mitigation saves an average of four dollars on response and recovery costs. An LHMP can also help to strengthen the mission of public safety officers, such as police and fire department staff, providing them with clear roles and responsibilities to build a safer community.
Besides helping to protect La Palma, our LHMP will make the City eligible for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that can be used to further improve safety and preparedness in the community. Having an adopted LHMP can also make La Palma eligible to receive more financial assistance from the State when disasters do occur.
What will be in our LHMP?
The City of La Palma LHMP will include four main sections:
- A summary of the natural and human-caused hazards that pose a risk to our community. This will include descriptions of past disaster events and the chances of these disasters occurring in the future.
- An assessment of the threat to La Palma, which will describe how our community is vulnerable to future disasters. The plan will look at the threat to important buildings and infrastructure, such as police and fire stations, hospitals, roads, and utility lines. It will also look at the threat to community members, particularly disadvantaged persons.
- A hazard mitigation strategy, which will lay out specific policy recommendations for La Palma to carry out over the next five years. These recommendations will help reduce the threat that our community faces from hazard events.
- A section on maintaining the plan, which will help ensure that our LHMP is kept up-to-date. This will make it easier for us to continue to proactively protect ourselves, and will also keep the City eligible for additional funding.
What hazards will our LHMP help protect against?
The City plans to include the following natural hazards in our LHMP:
- Flooding and Dam Inundation;
- Seismic Shaking (Earthquakes and Liquefaction);
- Severe Weather (Extreme Heat, Severe Wind); and
- Climate change
Our LHMP will also look at how climate change may affect these hazards and may include other hazards that pose a threat to our community.
How is our LHMP being prepared?
The City has assembled a Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC), which includes representatives from public safety officials and City departments, and will guide the overall development of our LHMP. The HMPC is supported by key stakeholders, and technical consultants. Together, these participants form the project team responsible for preparing our plan.
When will our LHMP be done?
The project team plans to release a first draft of the La Palma LHMP for public review in Fall/Winter 2019. After members of the public provide comments and feedback, the project team will revise the plan, and send it to state and federal agencies for review and approval. Once approved by state and federal agencies, the La Palma City Council will approve the final LHMP. We hope to have the plan ready for adoption in Winter/Spring 2020, but it may be later depending how long state and federal review takes.
How can I get involved?
You can get involved in preparing our LHMP in different ways.
- The project team will hold public meetings to share information about our LHMP and obtain community feedback. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1, starting at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
- The City released an online survey to members of the public earlier in the summer asking for information about past experience with natural hazards and how our LHMP can be the most useful.
- The City will release a draft of the completed LHMP for public review. Please review and provide comments on this document, either at in-person meetings or in writing.
- Encourage members of the La Palma City Council to adopt the plan. Then, encourage them to put the plan into effect.
- Reach out to Police Captain Ron Wilkerson at (714) 690-3370 or email him at email@example.com for more ways to stay involved.
What can I do now to be better prepared for disasters?
- Know the hazards that may affect you at your home, work, or school. You can find out more at http://myhazards.caloes.ca.gov/.
- Assemble an emergency kit for your home. In a disaster, you may have to rely on supplies in your emergency kit for at least three days. Be sure to include supplies for any pets and anyone in your home with special needs. Learn more at https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
- Have a disaster plan for your household, including how people should contact each other if a disaster occurs and where you should meet.
- Learn about your neighbors and how to help them. In a disaster, emergency responders may not be able to reach your neighborhood for a while. Know if your neighbors have any special needs, and be sure to check on them as soon as you can.
- Make sure your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers you from disasters such as earthquakes and floods. If these disasters occur, having good insurance coverage will help you recover easier.
- Volunteer with an emergency response or community service organization that does work on disaster education and preparation.
- Speak to your employer about creating a disaster recovery, workforce communication, and/or business continuity plan. If they already have one or more of these plans in place, make sure you and your co-workers know it.
- Join West Orange County Regional Community Emergency Response Team (West County CERT), a group of volunteers trained by several Cities in western Orange County (including La Palma) to assist emergency responders during disasters. Training is free and offered at times throughout the year. Learn more at https://westcountycert.com/