Resilience Planning Prepares Salem for Recovery from Natural Disasters

Salem must be resilient and ready to recover from earthquakes, flooding, and other natural disasters.  

What is resilience?

The simplest definition of a resilience is the capacity to adapt to and bounce back from unexpected circumstances that upset the normal routine. To be prepared, cities must:

  • Identify and prioritize risks to community
  • Develop private and public partnerships
  • Implement planning and design strategies to increase resilience

What is Salem doing?

The City of Salem has been looking at ways to mitigate hazards since the millennium change in 2000. Resilience thinking is incorporated into all the City’s plans and projects.

Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines mitigation as “the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters . . . through risk analysis, which results in information that provides a foundation for mitigation activities that reduce risk.”

In 2000, Salem was one of the first communities to have an approved Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (NHMP).

In 2017, resident provided input regarding their preparedness for natural hazards as part of updating the NHMP in cooperation with the University of Oregon Community Service Center-Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience and the Oregon Military Department’s Office of Emergency Management.

With re-adoption of the plan, Salem will maintain its eligibility to apply for federal funding toward natural hazard mitigation projects.

Flood mitigation

Salem’s primary hazard is flooding. Due to diligent improvement activities in Public Works, Salem’s Community Rating System (CRS) has significantly improved over the years. As a result, Salem’s residents are eligible for flood insurance discounts based on one of the highest CRS ratings in the State of Oregon.

Earthquake preparedness

Earthquake preparedness has received increased focus over the decades. Significant resources were expended to seismically retrofit critical public safety infrastructure, including fire stations. Resilience of our community is improved through planning, training and testing the preparedness elements in a live exercise environment.

Community Emergency Response Team

Neighborhood resiliency is being enhanced through education and training in the Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. Salem residents have been organizing and training since the fall of 2002 to assist with the “bounce back” in their local neighborhoods. Training classes in 2017 will push the number of trained volunteer residents over 1800.

Energy planning

Improving energy efficiency is a key component to withstanding future energy-related challenges. Salem’s Community Energy Strategy serves as a road map for energy saving efforts community‐wide.

​Related documents

Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (2017)10394 KBnatural-hazards-mitigation-plan.pdf
Prepare! A Resource Guide (Red Cross)2309 KBred-cross-prepare-guide.pdf
Salem Emergency Management Plan - 20142191 KBsalem-emergency-management-plan.pdf

Contact us

Gregory WalshEmergency Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
370 Trade ST NE
Salem OR 97301