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Earthquakes and Wildfires Top Gilroy Residents' Concerns

Flooding is not as much a worry, even though city is at risk from creek overflow and dam failures, according to survey.

Earthquakes and wildfires ranked as the disasters some Gilroy residents worry about the most, according to an online survey conducted by Santa Clara County last fall.

Flooding was not a major concern of residents who participated in the survey, even though Gilroy faces possible flooding from local creeks and potential local dam failures.

County officials wanted to know what disasters were of the greatest concern to the public to gather data for its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. The intent of the plan is to help agencies identify how to prevent safety hazards before and after major disasters.

Nearly 550 people participated in the survey around the county; 16 were from Gilroy.

Here’s what was on people's minds, countywide, and indications of what Gilroy respondents thought. (If you didn't have a chance the first time county asked for , this month is your opportunity.)

Highlights from the survey include:

The No. 1 concern among county residents was the loss of potable water during a disaster, followed by earthquakes, loss of power, sewer backups and loss of telephone or cellphone service; Gilroy residents put earthquakes as the No. 1 concern, followed by loss of water and wildfires.

Only six Gilroy residents said they’re concerned about floods, and only four mentioned dam failures, despite the fact the city could face flooding from Llagas and Uvas creeks, and the failure of local dams. Most Gilroy residents said they don’t need flood insurance. Only two residents said they have the insurance, and 12 said they don’t believe they need it. The city does participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, and all residents are eligible to purchase the national insurance, according to the city’s own hazard mitigation report.

The majority of respondents both countywide and in Gilroy thought they had enough flashlights, batteries, blankets and canned food to last three days after a disaster.

Almost three-fourths, or 71.5 percent, of the county respondents said they had no idea if their neighbors had any special needs that might need attention after a disaster; 87.5 percent of Gilroy residents said they had no idea about any special needs of neighbors.

Countywide, 158 people said they have earthquake insurance, and 279 people said earthquake insurance is too expensive; half of all Gilroy respondents said such insurance was too expensive.

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