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Smart Growth

Regional Resilience Toolkit

5 Steps to Build Large-Scale Resilience to Natural Disasters

From 2013 to 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helped three California regions take large-scale action for disaster resilience. Based on these technical assistance projects, FEMA and EPA partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments (MTC/ABAG) to create a toolkit that helps regions plan for disasters by working across multiple jurisdictions and with non-governmental partners.

Cover of Regional Resilience ToolkitThe Regional Resilience Toolkit focuses on the regional scale because disasters happen at a regional scale, and a coordinated process across multiple jurisdictions can result in safer communities. The toolkit is set up to allow multiple jurisdictions and levels of government to work together for regional-scale actions. It is also designed for non-governmental partners and community groups to engage in a more inclusive and holistic process so that resilience actions are guided by core community values.

Multi-hazard resilience may address risks from wildfires, drought, hurricanes, extreme heat, flooding, earthquakes, landslides, sea level rise, winter storms, and more. This toolkit can help partners across a region address multiple hazards simultaneously within the context of federal, state, and local planning requirements and funding streams. Resilience can include actions that address both immediate, pressing needs as well as decisions that protect long-term investments.

The toolkit has been used in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Coast region, and the Mt. Shasta area of northern California. Based on proven approaches pilot-tested in California, as well as examples and lessons learned from many other parts of the country, the Regional Resilience Toolkit could be used in any region or community — no matter the size, location, capacity, or hazard. Designed to fulfill requirements for FEMA’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan approval and updates, the toolkit also supports the National Mitigation Investment Strategy.

Illustration of the 5 steps in the Regional Resilience ToolkitThe toolkit includes five steps, shown in the image to the right, and users can jump in at any point in the process, depending on where they currently are in resilience planning. The toolkit includes two appendices organized by the five steps. Appendix A provides more detail on nearly every section of this document, as well as a list of specific outcomes and external resources for each step. Appendix B provides worksheets for use by the project team and an advisory group to help spur conversation and assist in planning.

Find more resources on strengthening disaster resilience: Smart Growth Strategies for Disaster Resilience and Recovery.

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