This is the first installment of three articles that take a closer look at the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Santa Clara County and all its cities, including Campbell.
What’s the worst that could happen?
After asking that question for more than a year now, officials from Santa Clara County and 13 cities, including Campbell, have the top five.
These are all stemming from major catastrophes, for the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. The intent is to help agencies identify how to prevent safety hazards before and after major disasters.
The top five, identified in the order most pressing in the county, are enough to keep anyone awake at night:
- Collapse of unreinforced masonry buildings, or “soft-story” buildings during an earthquake. A “soft story” building is a raised, multistory structure where the ground floor is parking or retail stores with large windows
- Lack of information sharing between agencies
- Dam failures
Campbell officials said in the city’s own report that they are most concerned about what will happen in an earthquake to soft-story buildings—mostly apartments—around the city, and the Lexington Dam just upstream on Los Gatos Creek.
Overall, Campbell’s in pretty good shape, disaster-wise, according to one official who helped create the city’s mitigation plan.
“The good news is we don’t have a lot of wildfire potential, we don’t have a huge hazardous material issue … we don’t have tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis,” said Campbell police Capt. Dave Carmichael. “We’re in a pretty good location.”
Now what do you think?
Officials want the public to voice what they think of the draft hazard-mitigation plan and the identified priorities. The county Office of Emergency Services has posted the plan online and asks for public comments during the month of May to be included in a final draft.
Kirsten Hofmann, director of the Office of Emergency Services, said the county is looking for as much public feedback as possible. Comments can be emailed to the county's consultant, Corinne Bartshire of Dewberry Associates. Hofmann said the comments would help officials in planning for future emergencies.
“The more work done up front is going to help us in the response and recovery phase of any disaster,” Hofmann said.