Safety Element Update

The County is embarking on a Safety Element Update that is intended to be completed by the end of 2024. The Santa Clara County General Plan Safety Element Update is an opportunity to address the various natural and human-caused hazards affecting the unincorporated areas. As the primary policy document addressing these concerns, the Safety Element is intended to ensure existing and future development is better protected from these hazards and County communities are safer from future hazard events. The County is in the process of updating its Housing element and with each revision of the Element, a review and update of the Safety Element to identify new information not available during previous revisions is required. In addition, the County has a new Sustainability Master Plan, and is in the process of updating its Community Wildfire Protection Plan and Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. All of these plans also need to be acknowledged in the County's Safety Element.

Safety Element Milestones

    As the County of Santa Clara prepares its 2023 Safety Element Update, several opportunities to engage with County staff will be provided. Please fill out this form to be notified of these events and updates regarding the Safety Element Update. Information collected through this form will be used during outreach and policy development for Safety Element Update.

    Stay Tuned for:

    • A public review draft of the Safety Element, to allow the public to review and provide comments on the proposed strategies, policies, and implementations.

    We appreciate hearing from you. Please submit your comments and questions using the form below.

    Your name is not subject to disclosure in response to a request for public records
    Zip code

    This information will help us ensure the Department is engaging with diverse communities

    This information will help us ensure the Department is engaging with diverse communities.


    Santa Clara County is updating the General Plan Safety and Noise Element. This planning process will include the creation of policies and actions that set standards for development and emergency preparation and response to prevent or minimize the impacts from natural and human caused hazards.

    A series of workshops were held in 2022 to 2023 to gain input from the community regarding hazards of concern, identification of County- and community-led responses, and feedback on policies and actions intended to make the community more resilient. Additional events will be scheduled once a draft of the Safety Element update is prepared.

    Hazard Mitigation Plan Survey Summary

    Past Events and Materials

    Date Card - Mar 15

    Climate Resilient Communities Listening Session - Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

    Date Card - Jan 3

    Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action Listening Session - Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

    Date Card - Dec 15

    CARAS Listening Session - Thursday, December 15th, 2022.

    Date Card - Nov 10

    Virtual Workshop #1 - Thursday, November 10th, 2022, from 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

    The County of Santa Clara is preparing an update to its General Plan Safety Element. This update will help the County create a safer community for residents, businesses, and visitors. The Safety Element allows public safety officials and county staff, elected officials, and members of the public to understand the potential threats from natural and human-caused hazards and ways to reduce the vulnerability to these threats.

      A Safety Element is a key component of the County's General Plan. The purpose of the Santa Clara County Safety Element is to identify and include safety considerations during the decision-making and planning process by establishing goals and policies as they relate to future developments within the county. These goals and policies aim to reduce personal injury and loss of life, prevent property destruction, and reduce environmental damage throughout the community. The Safety Element focuses on addressing potential threats associated with:

      • Seismic and Geologic Hazards (earthquakes, landslides, liquefaction)
      • Flooding (including Dam Failure)
      • Wildland / Urban Fire
      • Hazardous Materials
      • Emergency Management

      Safety Elements are governed by California Government Code Section 65302(g). This set of regulations governs the how, when, and what is included in a Safety Element, and identifies the triggers for future updates. Recent additions to the code requiring the County to update the Element include:

      The County’s General Plan Safety Element is most effective in establishing policy when it is up to date with the most current data and mapping available. Frequent updates allow the Safety Element to adapt and better protect existing and future developments within the County and surrounding areas.

      The County is currently updating their Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan provides participating agencies with access to potential grant funding sources to mitigate hazard conditions. The current plan addresses the following natural and human-caused hazards:

      • Climate change/sea-level rise
      • Dam and levee failure
      • Drought
      • Earthquake
      • Flood
      • Landslide
      • Severe weather
      • Tsunami
      • Wildfire

      Integration of these two plans ensures the County is maximizing their future funding opportunities to reduce risk in the County and comply with Assembly Bill 2140 (2006), which affords the county additional benefits under the California Disaster Assistance Act.

      The process by which the County is updating the Safety Element includes the preparation of an updated Climate Adaptation Vulnerability Assessment, an Evacuation Assessment (complying with SB99), and updated goals and policies that comply with the latest requirements for Safety Elements. This update process includes collaboration with key County departments and staff, outreach and engagement, stakeholder coordination, and finally, review and approval. The approval process requires adoption by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection before final adoption by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

      The project team plans to release a first draft of the Safety Element for public review in mid 2024. After receipt of public comments and feedback, the County will coordinate with Cal Fire and the Board of Forestry for review and approval. Once approved by these agencies, the Board of Supervisors will adopt the Safety Element. We hope to have the plan ready for adoption by the end of 2024, depending on the timing of the Board of Forestry review process.

        357 Disasters have occurred in California since 1953

        Disasters in California


        21 Disasters declared in Santa Clara County since 1953

        Disasters in The County of Santa Clara


        Which months disasters have historically occurred

        Disaster frequency by month


        Which years disasters have occurred

        Disaster frequency by year


        Santa Clara County provides easy access to maps and data illustrating the conditions within the County. To access this information, go to the following links

        GIS Maps and Data

        Santa Clara County GIS Mapping Portal

        Geologic Hazard Zones

        FEMA Flood Hazards

        • Know the hazards that may affect you at your home, work, or school. You can find out more at

        • Assemble an emergency kit for your home. In a disaster, you may have to rely on supplies in your emergency kit for at least three days. Be sure to include supplies for any pets and anyone in your home with special needs. Learn more at
        • Have a disaster plan for your household, including how people should contact each other if a disaster occurs and where you should meet.
        • Learn about your neighbors and how to help them. In a disaster, emergency responders may not be able to reach your neighborhood for a while. Know if your neighbors have any special needs, and be sure to check on them as soon as you can.
        • Make sure your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance covers you from disasters such as earthquakes and floods. If these disasters occur, having good insurance coverage will help you recover easier.
        • Volunteer with an emergency response or community service organization that does work on disaster education and preparation.
        • Speak to your employer about creating a disaster recovery, workforce communication, and/or business continuity plan. If they already have one or more of these plans in place, make sure you and your co-workers know it.
        • Join CERT, a group of volunteers trained by the County to assist emergency responders during disasters. Training is free and offered at different times throughout the year.

        Have a Question? Contact Us

        Robert Cain
        70 W. Hedding Street, 7th Floor
        San Jose, CA 95110
        (408) 299-5706

        Samuel Gutierrez
        70 W. Hedding Street, 7th Floor
        San Jose, CA 95110
        (408) 299-5787

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