New disaster communications system likely coming to Ferry Building 

click to enlarge A $551,552 disaster communication system will be installed at the Ferry Building. (Getty Images file photo) - A $551,552 DISASTER COMMUNICATION SYSTEM WILL BE INSTALLED AT THE FERRY BUILDING. (GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)
  • A $551,552 disaster communication system will be installed at the Ferry Building. (Getty Images file photo)
  • A $551,552 disaster communication system will be installed at the Ferry Building. (Getty Images file photo)

The last time a major earthquake struck The City, thousands of shocked residents instinctively flocked to the Ferry Building for guidance, but the venerable port institution had little information to offer them.

In the event of the next major disaster in San Francisco, things will likely be much different.

A new $551,552 disaster communication system is set to be installed at the Ferry Building to help coordinate rescue and evacuation efforts in the case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The communications system will feature audio loudspeakers and visual display boards, both of which will announce critical travel messages, according to Port of San Francisco spokesman Renee Dunn Martin. She said the messages — displayed in multiple languages — will detail information about possible bridge closures and transportation updates, including any potential effects on ferry service.

The new system will be paid for entirely by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Dunn Martin said the grant will pay for the design, engineering and deployment of the system. The project will go out to bid after it’s approved by the Board of Supervisors, and is expected to be completely installed within three years.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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