Online mapping site allows residents to search and prepare for local natural hazards
The California Emergency Management Agency developed an online mapping tool, the "My Hazards" Web site, to help residents identify and prepare for natural hazards in their locality. The agency hopes that by identifying local risk, residents will increase their knowledge about natural disasters and take up preparedness efforts specific to their risk.
The California Enhanced State Hazard Mitigation Plan concentrates on four main natural hazards that affect California: flood, fire, earthquake, and tsunami. This plan reflects the state's commitment to reducing, preventing or eliminating potential risks and impacts of natural and human-caused disasters in keeping homes, businesses, and communities as safe as possible.
In an effort to educate the citizens of California, and better inform the general public about their potential risk or vulnerability to natural hazards, the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) developed the idea of a risk mapping tool. An earlier partnership with the California Resources Agency – California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) Program developed the Hazard Mitigation Web Portal. Its success led to the creation of the My Hazards Web site. CalEMA chose to build on the Web portal and use existing technology to develop this online public outreach tool.
Natural hazards are part of living in California; however, the degree of risk for particular natural hazards varies depending on location and personal preparedness efforts. California residents need an accessible way to learn about their individual risk of natural hazards and how to prepare.
The California Emergency Management Agency developed a Web site that allows state residents to search for natural hazards by address, city, county, zip code, landmark, or point of interest and adopt appropriate preparedness measures.
The My Hazards Web site provides general information about floods, wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and earthquake-induced events such as landslides, surface fault ruptures, and liquefaction, plus preparedness measures to complete for each hazard.
- Enter a California location (street address, city, county, zip code, landmark, or point of interest) into the search bar or select a location on the interactive map.
- Receive results appear under each of the four hazard tabs - earthquake, flood, fire, tsunami – where they learn about the risk severity (low, medium, high) for each type of hazard.
- Based on the search results, receive a checklist of required, recommended, or optional actions for each hazard is provided. Additional explanations of the hazard, preparedness materials, and links to local resources accompany each category.
Data sources for the Web site are provided by:
- California Emergency Management Agency
- California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Resources Evaluation System
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- California Department of Water Resources
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
- US Geological Survey
- California Geological Survey
- University of Southern California, Tsunami Research Center
- Collaboration. The Web site required access to and availability of local data from a variety of partners.
- Federal funding. All costs related to Web site development were funded by a grant from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Recognition. At the 2008 California Executive GIS Forum, the My Hazards Web site received the More than a map: Coolest Solution Award.
- Regular traffic and periodic increases. The My Hazards Web site sees regular traffic, with a noticeable increase in visitors during reports of flooding, severe storms, fires, and earthquakes. For example, in March of 2011, the day after the Japan experienced an earthquake and tsunami, the number of site visitors jumped to over 4,700.
A third site, My Plan, is in development. This Web site will help city, county, special districts, and state users access federal and state-produced geographic information system data in a central location in order to create hazard area maps.