Community Resilience

People attending Shape SSF sub-are meeting

Where We Want to Be

In the future

  • The City maintains responsiveness and minimizes impacts to operations from shocks or stressors caused by climate change and natural disasters.

  • Community assets, infrastructure, and public facilities are prepared for future flood events and sea level rise.

  • Residents, particularly the most vulnerable residents, are protected from climate and hazard impacts.

  • The City provides opportunities for all residents and businesses to be better informed about potential hazards and about resources to prepare and collaborate with the community to inform program development and priorities.

  • The City continuously evaluates risk and will take steps to mitigate potential impacts.



01Performance Metrics:

Shocks and stressors, including climate change in all City plans


100% of City plans address community resilience and climate change impacts


City to begin tracking data and provide in the future.

02Performance Metrics:

Emergency preparedness and disaster response


Train 1,000 individuals in emergency preparedness and disaster response techniques through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program


City to begin tracking data and provide in the future.

03Perfromance Metrics:

Sea level rise and flooding projects completed


An increase in the number of sea level rise and flooding projects completed


City to begin tracking data and provide in the future.

04Performance Metrics:

Resilient housing


Increase the proportion of housing units that complete weatherization, energy efficiency, and retrofits, particularly in disadvantaged communities


City to begin tracking data and provide in the future.

How Our Plan

Gets Us There

Benches along a trail next to a body of water

Natural hazards and climate change present South San Francisco with a series of overlapping challenges. Both gradual climate change and hazard events can expose people, infrastructure, transportation, buildings and property, and ecosystems to a wide range of stressors. These hazards and their impacts disproportionately affect the most sensitive populations in the city. The City will prioritize the most disadvantaged populations. The Community Resilience Element includes goals and policies that will proactively advance community resilience, preparing the community for all hazards, including climate disruption, while ensuring a high-quality response and recovery from future disasters. The City will mainstream climate change into capital planning and assessment activities.

Key Issues and Opportunities-

Hazard Profile

The Community Resilience Element identifies known hazards, such as earthquakes, flooding, and other manmade hazards, as well as methods to reduce the potential risk of illness, injury, death, or property damage that can occur because of these hazards. South San Francisco and its people are susceptible to a variety of hazards. Many of those hazards will influence the frequency, magnitude, and duration of those natural hazards in the city. This section summarizes the hazard profile for South San Francisco.

Climate Change

Climate Change

Climate is the long-term behavior of the atmosphere – typically represented as averages – for a given time of year. This includes average annual temperature, snowpack, or rainfall. Human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (greenhouse gases) are important drivers of global climate change, and recent changes across the climate system are unprecedented. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting in warming over time. This atmospheric warming leads to other changes in the earth systems, including changing patterns of rainfall and snow, melting of glaciers and ice, and warming of oceans. Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes include heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and hurricanes.

Likewise, California and South San Francisco are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Both gradual climate change (e.g., sea level rise) and climate hazard events (e.g., extreme heat days) expose people, infrastructure, buildings and properties, and ecosystems to a wide range of stress-inducing and hazardous situations. These hazards and their impacts disproportionately affect the most sensitive populations in the city.

  • Increasing Temperature: During the last century, average surface temperatures in California and the Bay Area rose steadily. Between 1970 and 2006, the average minimum temperature rose by 1.2°F per decade and the average maximum temperature increased by 0.7°F per decade across the region. Climate change models indicate that temperatures will continue to rise in South San Francisco. Annual maximum temperatures are projected to increase between 3.5°F and 4.7°F by mid-century (2040-2060) and between 4.5°F and 9.2°F by end of century (2080-2100).
  • With climate change, extreme heat events in California and South San Francisco are becoming more frequent, more intense, and longer lasting. The number of extreme heat days is anticipated to increase significantly across the Bay Area region during the next century, but more so in inland areas than coastal cities. Even with lower projections along the coast, by mid-century (2040-2060), the city is expected to have an average of 9 extreme heat days, increasing to an average of 24 extreme heat days per year by the end of century (2080-2100).
  • Changing Precipitation Patterns: Between 1950 and 2005, the mean annual precipitation in South San Francisco was approximately 24.1 inches with variation from year to year. The variability in Northern California’s annual precipitation comes from fluctuations of the biggest storms – a boom and bust cycle. Precipitation in the Bay Area will continue to exhibit high year-to-year variability - “booms and busts” - with very wet and very dry years. The region’s largest winter storms will likely become more intense, and potentially more damaging, producing heavy rainfall and substantial flood risk, especially along Colma Creek and other water bodies. Future increases in temperature will likely cause longer and deeper California droughts in drier years.

Rising Sea Levels

In the last 100 years, sea level in the Bay Area has risen over 8 inches. Sea levels are rising around the world and are expected to accelerate in the coming decades as oceans continue to warm and glaciers and ice sheets continue to melt. The city is already (as of 2021) seeing impacts of sea level rise with King Tides (extremely high tides) causing greater localized flooding in the Oyster Point Marina.

Increasing TemperaturesChanging Precipitation PatternsRising Sea Levels
Extreme heat days will increase considerably in the cityThe Bay Area will continue to see larger precipitation fluctuations over the next century with very wet and very dry yearsMore extensive coastal flooding during storm events
Increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns can create periods of abnormally dry weather that create droughtStormwater flooding may increase as high bay levels can impede drainage of stormwater runoffHigher groundwater table
Warmer, drier summers, high wind events, such as the Diablo winds, and increased vegetation growth, can create conditions suitable for wildfires

King Tide flooding at Oyster Point Marina
Source: California King Tides Project

Hazardous Materials
Airport Hazards
Emergency Preparedness

Critical Planning Issues

This section highlights the critical issues and exposures across multiple hazards and sectors.

Disadvantaged Populations
Disadvantaged Populations

Natural and climate hazards and their impacts are likely to disproportionately affect the most sensitive populations in the city. South San Francisco has seen a significant increase in older adults (age 65+) and a relatively stable youth population (age 18 and under).

More multigenerational households and more people living with roommates, driven in part by higher housing costs, have increased the number of people living within each household. The racial and ethnicity composition of the city’s residents has also changed, with a significant increase in residents who identify as Asian and Pacific Islander or Latino. More than half of all South San Francisco residents speak a language other than English at home. All these populations have an increased sensitivity to climate change that can affect their ability to cope with natural hazards.

For example, the age 65 and older population are at greater risk for adverse health effects from increased heating and cooling costs, and their diminished ability to evacuate in a timely manner. Hazard threats to older adults include heat waves, air pollution, flooding, and sea level rise. This group is also likely to be burdened with multiple non-hazard stressors, such as economic status, technology, and social isolation.

East of 101 and Lindenville
Existing Buildings
Aeriel view of construction work happening on the Orange Memorial Park Stormwater Capture Project



Goal CR-1

Goal CR-1:

The City proactively advances community resilience and is prepared for all hazards, including climate disruption.


To increase preparedness and resilience to respond to and recover from the shocks or stresses that impact South San Francisco through regional, countywide, and cross jurisdictional collaboration and proactive planning and assessment. To adopt the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan by reference, consistent with California Assembly Bill 2140.
Policy CR-1.1: Prioritize the needs of vulnerable populations.
Prioritize the needs of disadvantaged communities affected disproportionately by hazards and disasters. Engage disadvantaged communities in identifying potential hazards and program responses and priorities through the Community Emergency Response Team and promotores programs.
Policy CR-1.2: Participate in regional hazard planning initiatives.
Participate in collaborative hazard planning and preparedness work.
  • Action CR-1.2.1: Continue funding regional sea level rise and flood protection agency.
    Continue to fund and contribute to the San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District.
  • Action CR-1.2.2. Coordinate utility redundancy.
    Continue to work with regional water and energy agencies to ensure redundant water and energy supplies in case of an emergency.
Policy CR-1.3: Mainstream municipal climate preparedness planning and assessment.
Implement climate preparedness planning across City departments, programs, and operations.
  • Action CR-1.3.1: Participate in the countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan.
    Actively participate in the San Mateo County Hazard Mitigation Plan maintenance protocols and County-wide initiatives. Adopt the Hazard Mitigation Plan by reference upon update. Update emergency operations plans and protocols to account for regularly updated hazard information.
  • Action CR-1.3.2: Conduct municipal building and facility sea level rise studies.
    Conduct site-specific vulnerability assessments of municipal buildings and facilities at risk to sea level rise and flooding, including the Water Quality Control Plant and Oyster Point Marina.
  • Action CR-1.3.3: Require multi-hazard real estate disclosure.
    Enact an ordinance to require real estate disclosures of all hazards identified in the Hazard Mitigation Plan, including hazards associated with anticipatory sea level rise and flooding, geologic hazards, groundwater inundation, or wildfire for commercial and residential properties, including ownership and rental.
Policy CR-1.4: Develop and maintain resilient infrastructure standards.
Periodically adjust infrastructure design standards to address asset-specific vulnerabilities associated with the hazards.
Policy CR-1.5: Require capital projects in high hazard areas to adhere to risk assessment guidance.
As part of the capital planning and budgeting process, require all projects located within high hazard areas and sea level rise inundation zones to adhere to risk assessment guidance and identify appropriate resilience strategies.
Policy CR-1.6: Continually strengthen emergency management and operations.
Continually strengthen emergency management capacity and coordination with the San Mateo County Emergency Operations Center.
  • Action CR-1.6.1: Develop a resiliency hub program.
    Develop a resiliency hub program to help community members with disaster planning assistance and supplies.
  • Action CR-1.6.2: Upgrade the Emergency Operations Center.
    Add second floor to the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and a warehouse to store supplies to support the city in the event of a disaster. Ensure the EOC has the necessary capabilities and can continue operations after all future hazards.
  • Action CR-1.6.3: Establish a resilience education program.
    Establish a community resilience education program in collaboration with San Mateo County and local community partners. Work with the Community Emergency Response Team and promotores programs to disseminate the information.
  • Action CR-1.6.4: Identify locations for post-disaster emergency housing.
    Identify locations for emergency housing, siting locations in areas with lower hazard risk.
  • Action CR-1.6.5: Maintain evaluation route plans.
    Maintain and communicate evacuation route plans for businesses and residents.
Policy CR-1.7: Expand Community Emergency Response Team.
Continue expanding the reach of the Community Emergency Response Team program to strengthen community cohesion and emergency preparedness through community engagement efforts.
Action CR-1.7.1: Foster Community Emergency Response Team – Promotores collaboration.
Work closely with the promotores program to deepen and expand relationships and partnerships with community members and organizations that serve diverse South San Francisco community members including those who do not speak English as their first language, the Latinx, and faith-based communities. Collaboration can serve to identify needs and solutions and communicate on programs.
  • Action CR-1.7.2: Increase Community Emergency Response Team outreach in community.
    Target outreach for South San Francisco CERT offerings in specific South San Francisco neighborhoods, such as Downtown.
  • Action CR-1.7.3: Expand Community Emergency Response Team outreach at the library.
    Partner with library to ensure that key populations have access to information about Community Emergency Response Team and other South San Francisco programs and resources.
Policy CR-1.8: Enhance post-disaster recovery planning.
Ensure the city is ready for post-disaster recovery through proactive planning.
  • Action CR-1.8.1: Prepare a post-disaster recovery plan.
    Create a post-disaster recovery framework that establishes post-disaster policies and programs designating when, where, and how rebuilding will occur.
  • Action CR-1.8.2: Adopt post-disaster repair standards for existing buildings.
    Develop and adopt special repair and upgrade standards for existing buildings, in the case of post-disaster reconstruction and/or conversion to mixed use or more compact residential use.
Policy CR-1.9: Assess needs and resources for future pandemic response.
Regularly assess needs and identify resources to prepare for pandemic response.
Goal CR-2
Goal CR-3
Goal CR-4
Goal CR-5
Goal CR-6
Goal CR-7