Reducing Future Disaster Risk: Cal OES’ Hazard Mitigation Program


The risks facing Californians are complex and constantly evolving, from wildfires and earthquakes to floods and landslides, that’s why the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has a dedicated Hazard Mitigation team that spearheads a range of programs aimed at fortifying communities and reducing the risks posed by natural hazards.

Cal OES is at the forefront of California’s efforts to bolster community resilience and minimize the impact of future disasters. With a focus on mitigation planning, grants administration and technical assistance, the Hazard Mitigation Team supports state and local initiatives aimed at reducing the negative consequences of natural hazards.

Prepare California and Jumpstart Programs

The Prepare California Initiative invests in building and mitigation projects to safeguard vulnerable California communities from a wide range of natural disasters. In 2022, Cal OES announced the allocation of over $15 million in state funding through the Prepare California Match Program, which will be matched by local communities to support disaster preparedness projects. This funding comes at a critical time, as California prepares for another potentially severe wildfire season.

In addition, Cal OES also manages the Prepare California Jumpstart Program, which is aimed at helping communities develop disaster plans and preparedness strategies. The program provides technical assistance to local governments and community organizations to help them identify risks, develop plans and implement preparedness strategies.

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) is an annual, nationally competitive, hazard mitigation grant program that aims to shift the federal focus toward consistent, proactive investment in community resilience.

Through BRIC, Cal OES submitted grants for statewide projects to help protect life and property from future disaster damage. These grants are integral to upgrading and adding infrastructure and technology. Being able to cover more than 70 percent of the cost of these projects through federal funding will assist these communities in becoming stronger and safer. See how Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is using their grant: Cal OES Secures Federal Grant Designed to Increase Community Resilience | Cal OES News

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds plans and projects that reduce the effects of future natural disasters. Eligible sub-applicants include state agencies, local governments, special districts and some private non-profits.

California Wildfire Mitigation Program

In coordination with state and local partners, the California Wildfire Mitigation Program establishes a community home hardening framework and process that can be modeled statewide.

In this pilot program, select neighborhoods within certain California counties are eligible to receive grants for mitigation efforts. Eligible areas within Lake County, San Diego County and Shasta County have made the most progress. El Dorado County and Tuolumne County were added in 2022 and Siskiyou County was added in April of 2023. Homeowners in these areas should check if they qualify through the California Wildfire Mitigation Program’s online application.

Hazard Mitigation Reduces Risk of Disasters

In addition to their work on mitigation projects, Cal OES also plays a key role in California’s recovery efforts following disasters. They work with local communities to identify needs and develop strategies to rebuild and recover. This might include projects like rebuilding damaged infrastructure or providing counseling services to those affected by disasters.

This work is vital for building resilience in communities across the state. By reducing the risks of disasters and helping communities prepare and recover, the team is working to protect people and property from the devastating impacts of natural hazards.