The Silicon Valley region could be on the cutting edge of building resilient communications networks to better prepare for and mitigate disasters—though those networks will include not only new but also time-tested technologies like Amateur Radio and low-power FM. In 2015, Resilient Communities led a planning and discovery process with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) to assess options for resilient communications infrastructure throughout the region. We have created a plan that takes into account the area’s increasingly stratified economy, its housing crisis, and its overtaxed transportation system, as well as its varied topography and its many regional communications, technology, and institutional assets. Our work is helping SVCF connect area technologists, local first responders, and community anchor institutions to ensure that nobody is left out of disaster preparedness—especially members of vulnerable and isolated communities.
The outcome of this partnership will better prepare San Mateo and Santa Clara County residents for interrelated risks including drought, fire, earthquake, and storms. Next phases of this work will support further development of a regional networking plan and regional leadership in order to shore up resources for emergency and contingency planning. Overall, Resilient Communities is building from a holistic understanding of the region to help define the role of a community foundation in building risk preparedness and holistic community health.