At a time when disasters facing California have become more frequent, complicated, and often involve numerous counties and regions across the state, Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Budget Revision continues the state’s efforts to prioritize investments to strengthen the state’s emergency capacity and capabilities to respond to increasingly complex disasters, security threats, and emergencies.
The May Revision includes a package of initiatives to lead multi-faceted, long-term recovery efforts across California and strengthen equity and connections with vulnerable communities. In addition to modernizing technology and data analytics, these resources would lessen the reliance on redirected staff to respond and ready California during and post emergencies.
“Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Budget Revision makes historic investments in emergency management that will help keep our communities safe for decades to come. The budget is clear about the challenges our state faces both from climate-driven disasters, like wildfires and drought, and also the increasing need for year-round emergency response capacity to help protect Californians from emerging threats like cyber-crime, human and narcotics trafficking, power outages and hate-driven attacks on vulnerable Californians.
“While the frequency and severity of disasters is increasing, this budget builds on multiple years of first-in the-nation investments in California’s preparedness initiatives, emergency responders, in addition to the technology and infrastructure they utilize. While there is much work to be done, these investments put our state in a strong position to continue helping Californians prepare for, respond to and recover from all-hazards emergencies.
We look forward to finalizing this budget in the coming weeks and are confident that under the leadership of the Governor and Legislature we can work rapidly to build a more resilient California.
– Mark Ghilarducci, Cal OES Director
As the state’s lead emergency management agency, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) serves as the hub to respond, direct and coordinate state and federal resources and mutual aid assets across all regions to support the diverse communities across the state.
In 2021, Californians endured some of the most challenging emergencies in state history, including the COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic wildfires, oil spills and earthquakes.
With climate change continuing to intensify and lengthen the fire season in California, 10 of the 20 largest wildfires in state history have occurred since 2017, with six of those occurring in 2020 alone and 17 occurring since 2000.
Governor Newsom’s unveiled 2022-23 budget includes $2.3 billion ($807.6 million in General Fund) and 1,777 positions for Cal OES.
STRENGTHENING CALIFORNIA’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE
The May Revision proposes $183.4 million ($153.9 million General Fund) and 50 positions to address the more frequent, complicated, and often simultaneous emergencies and disasters across the state, including:
- Enhancing Emergency Warning and Response – $8.1 million General Fund ($5.2 million ongoing) and 19 positions for the California State Warning Center to better analyze, monitor, coordinate, and inform decisionmakers on critical emergency incidents and disasters.
- Building on a Strategic Stockpile of Emergency Supplies – $114.3 million General Fund to provide warehouse space, purchase new and replace expiring personal protective equipment, increase commodity supply for an all-hazard event, and secure logistic support equipment.
- Modernizing Technology and Data Analytics – $19 million General Fund ($10.5 million ongoing) and eight positions to modernize Cal OES’s technology and data capabilities through new technology and updating outdated systems.
- Responding to the Pandemic – $29.5 million General Fund to continue COVID-19 testing efforts and provide resources to activate the state’s mutual aid system in the event of future outbreaks.
- Improving Emergency Training – $7.2 million General Fund ($5.8 million ongoing) and 23 positions to provide a greater selection and more relevant courses for emergency management professionals and emergency responders at the California Specialized Training Institute.
- Strengthening Southern California Response – $5.4 million General Fund for design of a permanent Southern Regional Emergency Operations Center at the former Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa.
- Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Deployment Resources – $25 million General Fund and five positions to provide local law enforcement support during disasters and emergencies.
- Nonprofit Security Grant Program – $50 million General Fund to provide security assistance to nonprofit organizations at risk of hate-motivated violence, which includes members of the Asian American Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Black, and Jewish communities.
- Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force – $5 million General Fund to support the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, which helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and combatting underground child pornography rings.
These proposals build upon the items already included in the proposed January Budget, including:
- Community Hardening – $44 million for Cal OES, CAL FIRE, and the UC Fire Advisors program ($13 million for Cal OES for home hardening) to improve defensible space and retrofits to harden homes and communities against wildfire ignitions.
- Modernizing All Hazard Response and Mutual Aid System Through Technology – $30 million and 31 positions ($24.4 million General Fund and 11 positions for Cal OES) to establish the Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System (FIRIS) program to increase the real-time information and situational awareness available to the state and California’s mutual aid system responders and managers on all hazards events, including wildfires.
- Enhancing the Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid Fire Fleet – $11.2 million General Fund in 2022 23, $10.9 million ongoing, and 11 positions to enhance the California State Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System’s fire fleet.
- Providing Resources for Mission Tasking – $10 million ongoing General Fund to provide funding to state entities for costs incurred as a result of mission tasking for incidents not covered under a Governor’s proclaimed state of emergency.
- Addressing Heightened Risks Through Enhanced Partnerships – $5.8 million General Fund and 20 positions to enhance regional response capacity and key partnerships with local governments and other local stakeholders.
- Expanding Disaster Logistics Capabilities – $4.9 million General Fund and 21 positions to improve Cal OES’ core operations and effectiveness, foster quality improvement projects, and enhance emergency response capabilities.
- California Earthquake Early Warning System – $17.1 million ongoing General Fund to support education and outreach, operations, and research and development of the California Earthquake Early Warning Program.
- Cal OES Emergency Operations Centers and Security Improvements – $11.6 million General Fund to complete design and construction for a renovated State Operations Center (SOC) at the Cal OES facility in Sacramento and enhanced site security renovations.
- Implementing a 988 Suicide Hotline—$7.5 million General Fund ($6 million ongoing) and 10 positions to implement a new federally mandated 988 call system to increase the ease and accessibility to provide help for those considering suicide or self-harm.