SCOE Receives Grant to Create Hazard Mitigation Plan for Schools
The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) has received a nearly $250,000 federal grant that will fund the creation of a hazard mitigation plan for all 40 Sonoma County school districts as well as SCOE.
SCOE will use the $249,706 grant, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help school districts identify risks to students, staff, and school sites from earthquakes, fires, floods, and severe storms. The plan will also identify steps school districts can take to mitigate these risks. The process is expected to take three years.
Hazard mitigation plans are an investment in the future that can reduce harm and prevent damage. They help communities identify potential hazards, take steps to minimize the risk, and thereby reduce the loss of life and property in a disaster. Entities with these plans in place are eligible for increased federal funding for rebuilding, should a disaster happen.
While the County of Sonoma and many cities have hazard mitigation plans, Sonoma County schools are considered a separate jurisdiction. They are only minimally included in the county and municipal hazard mitigation plans.
SCOE will begin the planning process by issuing a request for proposals for an expert consultant who can guide the process. The consultant will work with school districts, county and city offices of emergency services, school transportation agencies, school insurers, and other stakeholders in developing the hazard mitigation plan.
SCOE is undertaking the creation of this plan for all districts at no cost to the districts. Once completed, the plan must be adopted by each school district and SCOE. At that point, it will be in effect for five years.
“Following the Tubbs Fire, SCOE recognized the imperative to help schools be as prepared as possible,” said County Superintendent Steve Herrington. “This hazard mitigation plan will support Sonoma County schools in their efforts to be prepared and resilient in the face of future disasters.”