SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Joining a select list of American communities, the Las Virgenes Malibu Council of Governments - comprised of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, and Westlake Village -- has been included by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in its "Project Impact" initiative.
Project Impact is a partnership-based, nationwide effort begun by FEMA in 1997, to help communities lessen the risk of disasters. Las Virgenes Malibu is uniting with FEMA, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), local citizens, and business leaders in protecting against future damages.
"We are pleased that Las Virgenes Malibu is now part of a locally focused program aimed at reducing the devastation and terrible human costs associated with disasters," said OES Director Dallas Jones. "The five cities' locations make them extremely vulnerable to a wide range of hazards."
The cities have been proactive in anti-disaster projects, such as its aggressive community preparedness and multihazard mitigation programs, even before joining Project Impact.
"Las Virgenes Malibu is a very welcome addition to Project Impact," said Martha Whetstone, Regional Director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Prevention works. Project Impact will help the cities' residents, business owners, and municipal officials shift their focus from simply responding to disasters to taking advance action."
Since 1997, approximately 200 communities and 2,500 business partners have embraced Project Impact. Instead of waiting for disasters to strike, Project Impact communities - through public-private partnerships - initiate mentoring, public outreach, and mitigation projects. Preventative strategies have included revising local building and land use codes and passing necessary bond measures. Corporate and community partners assist with money, in-kind services, technical support and labor for projects. FEMA provides technical, administrative and financial support.
In the past 10 years, FEMA has spent more than $25 billion to help repair and reconstruct buildings and infrastructure in disaster-stricken areas. Project Impact's goal is to erase the ceaseless damage-repair-damage cycle through preventive measures, before trouble strikes.