Established in 2008, the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) is a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative that provides funding to ten designated sites within the United States, including the Bay Area. The Bay Area UASI, through its regional governance structure, manages the RCPGP grant and provides important regional planning across the twelve jurisdictions in the Bay Area UASI footprint. The United States Geological Survey estimates that there is a 63 percent chance of a large earthquake occurring in the Bay Area sometime in the next thirty years. Because of this the Bay Area presents a unique set of planning challenges in regards to major catastrophic events.
Unlike conventional incidents or disasters, a catastrophic disaster causes major damage across multiple jurisdictions and requires resources and coordination on a scale beyond the capability of a single jurisdiction. Effective response and recovery to a catastrophic incident requires coordination across all levels of government, sectors, and jurisdictions. After a major earthquake, local governments will face many challenges. With an emphasis on regional planning, the RCPGP initiative provides funding to tackle these challenges and enhance the region's capacities to prepare, mitigate, respond, and recover from all types of catastrophic events, while providing an important all-hazards planning complement to the terrorism preparedness focus of the UASI grant.
The 2007/2008 RCPGP projects developed five distinct, yet interrelated, planning efforts utilizing the common scenario of a catastrophic earthquake in the Bay Area. Each planning effort produced a regional plan which identified the major roles and responsibilities of regional emergency response entities, as well as the critical relationships and lines of communication between local and regional responders and providers. In addition to the regional plans, local plans are being completed for the twelve counties and three core cities in the Bay Area UASI. These local plans are designed from a standard template to provide consistency and integration with the regional plans, while being customized to the needs of the individual, local jurisdictions. Although developed for a catastrophic earthquake scenario, these plans provide an all-hazards framework designed to be scalable to the size and scope of any disaster.