The purpose of the Disaster Preparedness and Safety Element is to reduce the risk of death, injuries, property damage, and economic and social dislocation from natural and man-made hazards and disasters. Lastly, but most importantly, the community must be prepared if the City is to reduce the risks associated with a major disaster. The objective of the current efforts is to develop a facility that will be able to respond to major disasters in these neighborhoods. Establish plans including such aspects as emergency supplies sufficient to carry out assigned disaster responsibilities. Consistent with public safety and acceptable risk determinations, seek all feasible means to avoid demolition of historic or architecturally significant structures following a disaster by pursuing repair, rehabilitation, and preservation of structures, facades, or other features.
Although threats cannot be eliminated, their level of damage can be minimized through individual and community preparedness, individual and community action to reduce or eliminate long-term risks (mitigation efforts), and sound development practices.
The ability of the University of California, the Berkeley Unified School District, and the City of Berkeley to prepare for, and respond to, a major disaster in a coordinated manner is essential to the health and safety of the Berkeley community.
This regional interdependence of medical, transportation, communications, emergency response, and other systems necessitates active coordination and a consistent level of mitigation and preparedness. To maximize its effectiveness, the Disaster Preparedness and Safety Element is intended to complement and support the other General Plan Elements and City documents such as the Multi-Hazard Functional Plan for Emergency Operations. In recent years, the City has been working to improve its website as a source of disaster preparedness and planning information for citizens. Establish and maintain an effective emergency response program that anticipates the potential for disasters, maintains continuity of life-support functions during an emergency, and institutes community-based disaster response planning, involving businesses, non-governmental organizations, and neighborhoods. Create incentives for owners of historic or architecturally significant structures to undertake mitigation to levels that will minimize the likelihood of demolition and maximize the ability to repair or avoid damage in the event of a natural disaster. Support and encourage efforts undertaken by Caltrans, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas & Electric, telephone and telecommunications companies, Amtrak, the Union Pacific Railroad, AC Transit, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit System to plan for and finance seismic retrofit and other disaster-resistance measures.

If the citizens of Berkeley are prepared, the risk to life and property from a major disaster will be significantly reduced. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers online courses and websites to help you better understand the management of disasters through the federal government. In a disaster, the most vulnerable buildings include: unreinforced masonry (URM), concrete frames, tilt- up buildings built before the mid-1970s, and buildings with soft stories.
Establish facilities and provide equipment that may be used by citizens during the first days immediately after a major disaster until such time as City services become available. Develop criteria for disaster-resistant land use regulations to ensure that new construction reduces rather than increases risk of all kinds. There is currently only one fire station east of the Hayward Fault and it is not capable of servicing this whole area without assistance in the event of a major disaster. Continue to provide education, emergency preparedness training, and supplies to the community at the neighborhood level to support neighborhood- and community-based disaster response planning.
Prepare an annual report in consultation with the Fire Safety Commission and other relevant Commissions and Boards on the state of preparedness in Berkeley. Consider zoning amendments to prevent future development, including the prohibition of new second units, in these areas or sites in these areas that are particularly vulnerable to natural disaster.
Publicize disaster preparedness efforts (such as CERT) and expand public awareness of specific hazards and risks by making available all relevant information including mapping and reports on various hazards, information on vulnerability and risk reduction techniques, evacuation routes, and emergency services, and information on financial and technical assistance resources. Enhance the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program to provide disaster preparedness training to the community at the neighborhood level. However, implementation of policies and actions included in this Element will make Berkeley more resistant to all kinds of hazards and disasters that may occur in Berkeley. Ensure that the City provides leadership and coordination of the private sector, public institutions, and other public bodies in emergency preparedness.

Work with neighborhood associations and other community groups to organize disaster preparedness and other training activities on a block-by-block basis.
For example, the Disaster Preparedness and Safety Element supports Land Use Element goals for neighborhood protection, Urban Design and Preservation Element goals for the protection of architecturally and historically significant buildings, and Housing Element goals for preserving and maintaining housing stock and increasing residential disaster preparedness.
Establish pre-event planning for post-disaster recovery as an integral element of the emergency preparedness programs of the City Council and each of the City departments. Map existing neighborhood disaster preparedness groups and seek to fill gaps with new or extended groups.
Improve the disaster-resistance of utility and transportation systems to increase public safety and to minimize damage and service disruption following a disaster. Continue to provide emergency preparedness and planning information to citizens through libraries, the City website, radio, and other locations. Consider changes to the existing residential zoning in high-risk, residential areas, such as the Hill Hazardous Fire Area, to reduce the vulnerability of these areas to future disasters. Explore possible programs that would enable, encourage, or require landlords, property managers, and realtors to provide information to new tenants and new homeowners about emergency preparedness, evacuation routes, and home safety.
Neighborhood and business groups need to be trained on how to prepare for and respond to a major disaster.
Work closely with area hospitals to encourage hospital preparation and coordinate disaster recovery plans.

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