Next week on April 18, we will commemorate the 106th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and great fire. As we remember the lives lost, we will also celebrate the city that we rebuilt. Earthquakes, like the one just suffered in Indonesia this week, remind us that we absolutely must be prepared for the next disaster here in San Francisco. As we always say, “It is not a matter of if, but when” the next earthquake will shake The City.
The good news is that most people are more prepared than they think. Being prepared isn’t necessarily about buying an expensive earthquake or emergency kit. It’s about having basic items gathered and ready at hand. It’s about talking with your family about where to meet after a disaster or making sure everyone knows where your emergency supplies are. It’s about knowing to drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake.
Getting to know your neighbors is an equally important part of getting prepared. Join your free Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. You can meet your neighbors while learning skills that can help save a life. The stronger and more connected you are in your neighborhood, the better equipped you will be to rapidly respond and recover quickly from the next disaster.
There are resources available to help you learn more, especially through The City’s Department of Emergency Management. Go to 72hours.org or quakequizsf.org to learn how to best get prepared, and to test your knowledge about what to do if an earthquake strikes while you are at home, driving, on public transit, at the beach or at work. And please register at AlertSF.org, a text-based message system that will instantly deliver emergency information to you.
It is just as vital to be prepared at home as it is for San Francisco’s infrastructure to be prepared in a disaster. We’ve learned a lot of lessons and we know we must invest in our infrastructure, whether its hospitals, fire and police stations or any other city building.
That’s why, this week, I introduced a proposal at the Board of Supervisors to move forward and build two seismically safe hospitals — St. Luke’s and California Pacific Medical Center at Cathedral Hill. That’s also why last year we put forward the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond. This bond is already seismically repairing neighborhood fire stations, building a resilient Public Safety Building and safeguarding The City’s high-pressure firefighting water system, which will ensure there is enough water to extinguish large-scale fires after a strong earthquake. Collectively, this bond will help our first responders save lives.
Other large projects such as the Bay Bridge, San Francisco General Hospital and Doyle Drive are being rebuilt right now. And let’s not forget that we are also repairing and rebuilding the system that delivers pristine drinking water and clean hydropower from Hetch Hetchy to the Bay Area.
All told, The City has completed more than 190 seismic improvement projects since Loma Prieta in 1989, and another 34 projects are underway.
San Francisco is a great place to live, work and play. I am proud of our progress, but there is still more to do to make sure we are prepared and our city will be resilient after the next earthquake. Please do your part by going to 72hours.org and getting ready.