California's Earthquake Management Program

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How is Earthquake Preparedness, Mitigation, and Resilience administered by the State of California?

The State of California coordinates earthquake policy and process with the United States government. Primarily they work with the U.S. Department of the Interior and its agency the United States Geological Survey as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In addition, local authorities have earthquake mitigation, preparedness and response  programs like Ready LA or in San Francisco.


California map of earthquake zones

above: Earthquake danger zones


The State of California has two main government agencies that manage the earthquake file. The first is the Natural Resources Agency and its Department of Conservation . The Department of Conservation oversees the California Geological Survey which is responsible for mapping earthquakes pinpointing faults and identifying areas prone to liquefaction in California. 

The other agency that is involved with earthquakes is Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. Under this agency is the Seismic Safety Commission .

Working with these two agencies is the California Governor's Offices of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Cal OES administers the Earthquake Early Warning Advisory Board.The current governor of California is Jerry Brown (D)

Other state agencies have earthquake programs or programs like Be Prepared from the CA Department of Public Health. 

The most important piece of legislation is the California Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act.   Every five years, California updates its Earthquake Hazards Reduction plan. The latest copy can be obtained by emailing

California has a multiple agency approach to Earthquake management with no overarching authority save the sitting governor. 


California Earthquake Hazards Reduction Plan


Diarmuid D. O'Dea

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