Southern California Catastrophic Earthquake Plan Signed

The OPLAN from the California Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency outlines response and recovery following "unthinkable" destruction from an earthquake.

The California Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched the Southern California Catastrophic Earthquake Plan, known as OPLAN, in a Dec. 14 signing ceremony at the Pasadena Convention Center. The plan outlines response and recovery from a major earthquake in Southern California. The two agencies signed a San Francisco Bay Area Catastrophic Earthquake Plan last year.

FEMA Region IX Response Division Director Justin Dombrowski and Cal EMA Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen took part in the signing, which was attended by first responders, emergency managers, planners, and others. Planning efforts started a year ago with a focus on addressing the highest, most critical, most widespread consequences: mass casualties, shelter and housing needs, infrastructure failure, and enormous economic disruption. Facing "the unthinkable" resulted in a realistic, flexible plan, according to the agencies.

"We know that it's not a matter of 'if,' but 'when' the next big earthquake is going to shake California to its core," said Bettenhausen. "Our number-one priority is to ensure we're doing everything we can to be ready for it and have a carefully crafted, comprehensive plan in place to enable maximum coordination between federal, state, and local agencies. This plan is not the end, but another critical step in our ongoing process of planning."

"Substantial time, effort, and resources have been dedicated by everyone involved in this plan, and we are very confident in our ability to execute them," said Dombrowski. "The completion was possible only through the leadership and presence these organizations provided."

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