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Building Resiliency in California Communities

The Cal OES Hazard Mitigation (HM) Section is responsible for supporting state and local mitigation efforts to reduce the negative impacts of future disasters on lives, property, and the environment. The Section increases California’s capacity to withstand natural hazard events through state and local mitigation planning, grants administration, and specialized technical assistance. Our staff support plans and projects that reduce the effects of future natural hazard events and supports eligible subapplicants in their submission of projects that are eligible, feasible, and cost-effective. The essential steps of hazard mitigation are: Hazard Identification, Vulnerability Analysis, Defining a Hazard Mitigation Strategy, and Implementation of Hazard Mitigation Activities and Projects. 

The HM Section is comprised of three (3) subsections — Hazard Mitigation Grants, Hazard Mitigation Planning, and Hazard Mitigation Quality Assurance.

Hazard Mitigation Grants, Programs, and Funding Opportunities

The Hazard Mitigation Grants Division is organized into three (3) geographic units—Coastal, Inland, and Southern Mitigation Units—and is responsible for administering hazard mitigation activities and projects through state and federal grant programs, including HMGP, BRIC, FMA, and state-led special initiatives (i.e., Prepare California, California Wildfire Mitigation Program). Click on the links below to learn more about the following programs.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) – Section 404

As the result of a Presidential Disaster Declaration, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds plans and projects that reduce the effects of future natural disasters. In California, these funds are administered by the Cal OES Hazard Mitigation Section. Eligible subapplicants include state agencies, local governments, special districts, and some private non-profits. To learn more about FEMA’s HMGP, please visit FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance and the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance Addendum.

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) 

The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program is an annual, nationally competitive, hazard mitigation grant program that aims to shift the federal focus away from reactive disaster spending and toward consistent, research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience. The Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for BRIC is released in August with subapplications due to OES in December.

Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)

The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program provides annual funding for activities that protect properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. The Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FMA is released in August with subapplications due to OES in December.

Prepare California

The Prepare California Initiative is aimed at reducing long-term risks from natural disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, extreme heat, and drought by investing in local capacity building and mitigation projects designed to protect communities. This program leverages funds approved in Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 State Budget and is designed to unlock federal matching funds for community mitigation projects that vulnerable communities would otherwise be unable to access. This program is intended for communities that are the most socially vulnerable and at the highest risk for future natural hazard events. 

California Wildfire Mitigation Program

As part of the State of California’s effort to strengthen community-wide resilience against wildfires, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to develop a state home hardening initiative to retrofit, harden, and create defensible space for homes at high risk to wildfires, focusing on high socially-vulnerability communities and providing financial assistance for low- and moderate-income households.

406 Mitigation Funding

During the recovery phase of a declared disaster, 406 Mitigation funding is available to mitigation projects that protect disaster damaged facilities from similar damages in the future. Applicants eligible for permanent work repair projects under FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program are also eligible for 406 Mitigation funds to cost-effective mitigation measures to harden the damaged facility rather than repairing it to its pre-disaster design. In certain instances, an eligible mitigation measure may not be an integral part of the facility.


Hazard Mitigation Planning 

The Hazard Mitigation Planning Division develops and maintains the State Hazard Mitigation Plans (SHMP) and supports the development and state approval of Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) to identify state and local risk to hazards, mitigation capabilities, and mitigation strategies. This Division is comprised of the State Mitigation Planning Unit and Local Mitigation Planning Unit with staff working around the clock to maintain and update various comprehensive state and local mitigation planning programs.

Hazard Mitigation Quality Assurance

The Hazard Mitigation Quality Assurance Division consist of two (2) units — the Mitigation Administration Unit and the Mitigation Assessment Unit. The Mitigation Administration Unit is responsible for supporting the Section’s grant administration efforts and data analytics support. The Mitigation Assessment Unit is responsible for supporting loss avoidance analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and promotion of Section 406 mitigation under the Public Assistance program.

The Lick Observatory Loss Avoidance Study

The Hazard Mitigation Quality Assurance Division also conduct Benefit Costs Analyses (BCAs) and Loss Avoidance Studies (LASs) to support subapplicants throughout project development. The most recent loss avoidance study was conducted at the Lick Observatory to determine the efficacy of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation project and the related maintenance during the SCU Lightning Complex fires. This study used FEMA’s Hazus loss estimation software to calculate an economic evaluation of the Observatory and the impacted structures in two scenarios.

MyHazards Internet Mapping Tool 

MyHazards is an internet-mapping tool for the California public to discover major natural and man-made hazards in their area and learn steps to reduce personal risk. By identifying local risk, individuals will increase their knowledge about natural disasters and then apply preparedness efforts.