The Coastside is no stranger to disaster. Recent storms have caused flooding, fallen trees and prolonged loss of electricity. The damage caused by the CZU Lightning Complex fires devastated the South Coast in 2020. The proximity to the ocean and chance of fire and flooding — it all means risk is ever present. But there are some ways those living on the coast can prepare their space and homes to mitigate damage. 

“I wish Coastside homeowners were more aware of the actions they could take to prevent and mitigate many risks associated with disasters and extreme weather,” said Colby Williamson of Coastside Home Inspectors LLC in an email to Coastside magazine.

Williamson said that preventative maintenance helps the homeowner be proactive instead of reactive in the event of a disaster, and that locals should be aware of the type of disasters that are more likely to occur in their area so they can better prepare for them. 

“In our area I wouldn’t be too concerned with tornadoes but am concerned with the possibility of wildfires, mud slides and earthquakes,” Williamson wrote. “Becoming familiar with your home’s components and its condition helps you to better maintain it and prevent costly repairs from damage. 

“Just like we get regular checkups to maintain our health, it's important we regularly inspect our home’s condition to ensure its health,” he said. “Annual home maintenance inspections can identify any potential issues that can be addressed before a disaster occurs.”

David Cosgrave, district coordinator of San Mateo County Department of Emergency Management, said Coastsiders need to assess threats to local homes and families, before it's necessary. He said that one way people can do this is to go to and enter their address and they can see the likelihood of fire severity, earthquake faults, liquefaction and flood zones.

To see the maximum tsunami inundation, Cosgrave said residents can go to Cosgrave pointed out that this map is based on the worst-case scenarios.

“Preparing the home is not a one-time or once-a-year occurrence,” said Cosgrave. “Maintenance must be done regularly to keep it ready because you cannot prepare when the event occurs.”

“I have never experienced weather like I have in the past year or so here on the coast,” said Williamson.

The home inspector said that the amount of rain the area has received and the issues of maintenance of trees and vegetation create risks for homeowners. 

“I think being prepared is key,” he said. “Education and awareness are the first steps in mitigating risks during a disaster … By getting familiar with your home and continually maintaining it, you lessen the risk of costly repairs caused by disasters.”



Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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