San Francisco, CA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is welcoming the County of San Bernardino as the newest member of the agency's Project Impact initiative.
Project Impact is a nationwide effort to change the way America deals with disasters. To date, more than 100 communities and approximately 700 businesses have joined as partners committed to reducing the damage risk of disasters.
San Bernardino County has had its share of devastation from natural disasters - especially earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. As a Project Impact partner, the county will have within reach the latest technological expertise on disaster mitigation practices.
"The incentive for San Bernardino County is clear," said Jon Mikels, chairman of the county's Board of Supervisors. "This partnership complements our county's goals, in which public safety is top priority. Disaster-resistant communities are able to bounce back from calamity with far less loss of life and property."
"We welcome San Bernardino County and applaud its leadership in taking action to help reduce the risk of damages," said Martha Whetstone, regional director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Communities - and in particular, those in Southern California - need to be well-prepared for disasters that we know will come."
Besides FEMA, the county's Project Impact partners will include the State of California, businesses, and several community-based organizations. A formal signing ceremony in April is being planned.
"Project Impact is a great example of a cooperative partnership between the private and public sectors," added Whetstone. "The success of the emergency management process depends upon this type of team concept."
Three common-sense principles are at work in Project Impact: preventive actions must be decided at the local level; private sector participation is vital; and long-term efforts and investments in preventive measures are essential.
Partners in Project Impact agree to mitigate damage to their facilities, to provide emergency training and special services for employees, and to render technical assistance, financial resources or in-kind services to other segments of their communities.
Previously designated as Project Impact communities in California are the City of Oakland and the City and the County of Santa Barbara.