DEM’s Fall & Holiday Round-Up

The last quarter of the year is always a very busy one for the Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM). The fall always ushers in San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) with its large focus on humanitarian disaster relief. But this year we’ve added two special guests to our line up in addition to our annual fall activities, El Nino and Super Bowl 50 preparations.

With this year’s hot Indian Summer having come to a close and the chilly winter having set in, it’s time to share what we’ve been up to!


San Francisco Fleet Week:

Every year SFDEM participates in San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW). SFFW has a very large humanitarian disaster component. As usual we participated in setting up and being an exhibitor at the Humanitarian Disaster Village alongside the US Navy’s Blue Angel Airshow.  Additionally we also partnered with SFFW on the design and execution of a military, federal, state, and local disaster exercise.

This year we focused on the ability to unload disaster supplies from the Bay to land via a military Landing Craft Utility vehicle. We were joined by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. All in all, it was a success!

SFFW Exercise

The Great Shake Out:

In addition to Fleet Week activities, every October we participate in ‘The Great Shake Out,’ which is the largest earthquake drill in the world. This year we were joined by Mayor Ed Lee at Yick Wo Elementary School in Russian Hill. The kids had a great time practicing their “Drop, Cover, & Hold On!” techniques.

Great SHake Out Mayor Wave with Kids

El Nino Public Information Exercises:

Here at SFDEM, one of our biggest roles is to coordinate with our city and public utility partners to get you information ASAP in the event of an emergency or disaster. As we approached this winter we have been refining our plans and practicing via exercises in preparation for a possible El Nino wet winter.

We held the first-ever ‘Public Information El Nino Exercise’ to practice how we would collect, verify, and disseminate life-saving information to the residents of the City and County of San Francisco in the event of a very large and ongoing storm.

Public Info EX 2

Here is our group of participants simulating a real response in our City’s Emergency Operations Center.

Super Bowl 50 ‘Good Day’ & ‘Bad Day’ Exercises:

In preparation for Super Bowl 50 (SB50) we have been working with our military, federal,  state, and regional partners to ensure everyone can visit the San Francisco Bay Area and have a fun and safe time. In total we will have offered four exercises. All of which are table top exercises (TTX) aimed at practicing our response to different situations under the umbrella of two scenarios; a good day at SB50 with minimal problems, and a bad day at SB50 where we faced a possible El Nino storm, and the like.

SB50 Bad Day

SFDEM designed these exercises to engage in a level of gamification, meaning that the severity and circumstances of our situations varied depending on the roll of dice. Both exercises had a spectacular turn out, and proved to be a wonderful opportunity to meet our partners in the field whom we will be working with during a major planned or unplanned event.

In addition, it allowed us to have a press conference where we were able to share with the general public how we are preparing for SB50, and how to connect with us for more information.

SB50 Good Day Presser

We encourage you to connect as well. Do not wait until an emergency occurs to get connected. Please text ‘AlertSF’ to 888-777 to join our distribution list for emergency, life-saving information that is sent via text message.

You can also text ‘SB50’ to 888-777 to receive more general information such as non-emergency information, traffic events, or transportation information regarding SB50 events.

El Nino Preparations:

We have already seen more rain than we have in quite awhile, and these particular rains have not yet been considered El Nino storms. With more wet weather on the way we have been refining our storm plans and working with our partners to give you the most pertinent information on how to prepare before the storm hits, what to do during, and after.

El Nino Presser AK

Above is a photo taken from an El Nino Press Conference, at the podium is our Executive Director, Anne Kronenberg. For more information on El Nino preparations please look to our blog post ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Everything El Nino.’


AlertSF is our emergency notification system. We encourage you to text ‘AlertSF’ to 888-777 to be added to our distribution list. In the event of an emergency you will receive life-saving information via text message. Please do not wait for an El Nino storm to connect with us!

You can also register at if you would like email notifications in addition to text.

We hope you have had a wonderful holiday season, and we wish you a happy new year! See you in 2016!

DEM Xmas Ugly Sweater




Join Our Family Time Preparedness Campaign


Family Time_2

Happy almost Thanksgiving! The holiday season is upon us and here at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management we are rolling out our annual SF72 Family Time Preparedness Campaign. This campaign is all about preparedness, connection, and family time. While you’re visiting with the ones that you love over the holiday season, join us in participating in this campaign.

ConnectionFamily Time_3

Essentially we believe that by capturing your preparedness moments and sharing them we can inspire, connect, and learn together. Not only is preparedness easier than you may think, you can find most of the emergency supplies you will need right in your own home. By sharing these family moments you can show others that it can be done, sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling!

Familt Time_4

We wish you the happiest of holidays with your families and friends. We hope to see your hash tags and tags on social…

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Facebook Safety Check and Your Plan

Many people are seeing Facebook use the Safety Check button for the first time due to the recent Paris terrorist attacks. Normally reserved for natural disasters like 2011 Tokyo Tsunami and nuclear disaster and later after earthquakes in Afghanistan, Chile and Nepal as well as Tropical Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific and Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines, Facebook made the decision to use the notification system for a terrorist attack for the first time in history.

Although the tool is still only used for distinctly time sensitive large events that have been analyzed by Facebook staff for the scope, scale and impact, Facebook does not intend to use the app for ongoing crises like an epidemic or war, for example in the Middle East. We, at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, encourage everyone to use a variety of tools to notify the people in their emergency plans of their well being. This could be any combination of the following during an emergency:

  • Text message to friends and loved ones that you are safe
  • Phone calls to out of the area contacts (these people can then notify others)
  • Facebook or any other social media message stating your well being
  • Meeting at your designated meeting spot in person
  • Listing yourself at
  • Posting messages on a community board and any other methods you see people using!

The key here is really repetition, make sure you let people know in multiple ways, not just relying on social media.

But what if you are not safe? How do you tell Facebook that? Well, we of course want you to call 911 if you are not safe and/or if you need medical attention. SF Dept. of Emergency Management does not want you to rely on social media if you need immediate help. Facebook and other social media outlets are great ways to spread a message, but when it comes to serious emergency situations rely on 911.

This is a great time to test out your emergency plan by calling your out of state contact, checking numbers, meeting places, and information. To learn more and download your own plan visit:

Staying Safe in the Extreme Heat

It’s going to be pretty hot in San Francisco over the next few days and we want to remind everyone of some good public health recommendations (brought to us by our friends at the San Francisco Department of Public Health) to keep us cool and comfortable.

It is important to check regularly on adults at risk, especially the isolated elderly.

Visit at‐risk adults at least twice a day and watch them closely

for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

So, the basics:

  • Drink fluids frequently throughout the day, before you feel thirsty.
  • Check on the elderly regularly.
  • Don’t leave children or pets in the car!
  • Take cool showers/baths.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Take frequent breaks in the shade when spending time outside.
  • Wear light‐colored, light‐weight clothing and a hat.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks.
  • Use an air conditioner if you have one.
  •  If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an air‐conditioned family’s,
    friend’s or neighbor’s home, store, mall, museum, or movie theater, or, visit a cooling center.
  • Check on your at‐risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get to a cool place.
  • Fans alone will not keep you cool when it is really hot outside.
  • Conserve by setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees and only cooling rooms you are using
    when you are at home.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning.
  • between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. or in the evening. If you exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool,
    nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in
    sweat. If you are used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when
    exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
  • Bathing or showering with cool (not cold) water can be helpful for those able to do so safely.
  • It is important to check regularly on adults at risk, especially the isolated elderly.  Visit at‐risk
    adults at least twice a day and watch them closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Looking for cooler places to hang out? Think community centers, movie theater, libraries, swimming pools and/or shaded parks. 

For more information about heat waves and and how to prevent heat illness, check out SFDPH’s Frequently Asked Questions about Heat Waves and Heat Illness.


DEM’s Summer Round-Up

What a summer it’s been in San Francisco, we’ve received more sun than we bargained for! As we look forward to fall we hope you’re ready for the new school year and more lovely warm weather. Check out our seasonal recap and have a great fall!


Dispatchers’ of the Month:

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management’s 9-1-1 Dispatchers manage more than 1.2 million emergency and non-emergency calls annually and are often the “first” first–responders whom San Franciscans reach when facing an emergency or are in crisis. Every month a DEM Public Safety Dispatcher is recognized for outstanding service while assisting those in crisis.

June 2015:

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has selected Public Safety Dispatcher Dana Granby for the month of June 2015. Dana is being recognized for her quick thinking and delicacy in handling a cliff rescue call.

Dana received a call from a woman whose dog had jumped off of a cliff. She was calling to request help due to the fact that she was now stranded on a cliffside after an unsuccessful attempt to rescue her dog. Both Dana and the caller worked very well together obtaining and providing unusual location information.  Dana’s reassuring updates to the caller were instrumental in maintaining the confidence and professional nature in which she handled this at least 20–minute call.  The caller did not wonder for any moment during the call what actions were taking place to expedite a safe rescue because Dana’s timely updates covered any questions she may have had.  The compassion Dana showed to a dog the caller obviously greatly cared for was much appreciated.

Dana’s ability to remain calm and reassuring was a huge part of the success of this cliff rescue.  Dana, you are an asset to the Department of Emergency Management.

July 2015:

San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has selected Public Safety Dispatcher Janelle Meyer for the month of July 2015. Janelle has been selected for her exemplary performance during a heightened call regarding a newborn who wasn’t breathing.

Janelle received a frantic call from a woman reporting that a newborn was not breathing in her home. Janelle immediately obtained all pertinent response details and attempted to give CPR instructions. Although the phone was passed around many times, increasing the panic and emotion felt from the callers, Janelle did not give up on her attempt to relay CPR instructions to whoever would listen. Her ability to remain calm, poised, and professional during such a highly charged call is nothing short than exemplary.

Janelle received many encouraging emails, hugs, and words speaking to what a great job she did from her colleagues and peers. Janelle, we thank you for being such a strong team member here at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.

August 2015:

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has selected Public Safety Dispatcher Dawn Mahoney for the month of August 2015. Dawn has been selected for her spectacular performance during a call received from a boy reporting a person who had fallen and was unconscious.

Dawn received a call from a young boy reporting a person had fallen and was not awake. The child was unsure of the address and there happened to be a slight language barrier. Her ability to utilize a variety of call taking techniques to obtain and verify the correct information was instrumental in this call’s success. Dawn was able to convey CPR instructions that the caller was able to understand and follow. Dawn’s calm and reassuring demeanor were just what the young caller needed to hear.

It is often that our dispatchers receive difficult calls, always having to think fast and improvise on their feet. Dawn, we are grateful for your versatility and fast response.

Giant’s Public Safety Fair:

Stationed in McCovey Cove on a beautiful day, we were happy to participate again in this year’s “Giant’s Public Safety Fair.” We were joined by several other public safety organizations such as the FBI and the Sheriff’s Dept. to share our message and teach Giant’s fans all about safety and preparedness.

Giant's Preparedness Fair Photo


Outside Lands Music Festival:

This was SF72’s first year participating in Outside Lands Music Festival’s Eco-Lands, Non-Profit Partners Exhibition and we were joined by our partners the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. We were surrounded by booths of do-gooders who came out to share their message with a swelling daily audience of 65,000 concert-goers per day. Our goal was to reach as many people as possible with our preparedness materials and messages.

One fun way that we decided to engage the crowd was to ask curious individuals and groups what they did if an earthquake hit. After sharing that the only way to respond was to: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” we asked them to show us what they learned with a mock dining room table. Our exhibitions led to laughs and lessons learned and we had a great time showing force at this year’s OSL.

   OSL 2015

If you’re prepared to camp, than you’re more prepared for an emergency than you think!


 OSL 2015_2

National Night Out:

Another successful event supporting our partners and engaging with the community at this year’s National Night Out! National Night Out is a community-based event that invites neighbors across the nation to participate in safety education. We joined forces with the San Francisco Fire Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, the San Francisco Fire Department, SF Safe, the San Francisco Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and many others to increase awareness on local safety issues.

National Night Out Photo

Psychological First Aid and Responding to Victims

After attending an amazing training hosted in partnership with NERT and SFCARD’s own Susan Schmitz to train trainers on psychological first aid, our community partners were refocused on this vital skill that people from all backgrounds could greatly benefit from. Susan Schmitz answered some of our questions regarding pyschological first aid and her background.

  1. Can you tell us what Psychological First Aid is?

During a disaster, the psychological issues resulting from trauma and distress can be just as alarming as physical injuries. In addition, the effects may not be seen immediately and may become long lasting. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD created a nationally recognized Psychological First Aid (PFA) model to offer an immediate intervention and attempt to minimize the long-term mental health impacts. Similar to medical first aid, PFA is a process for addressing immediate mental health needs. This evidenced informed approach teaches tools and techniques that can be applied by anyone to anyone after a disaster. It is intended to be used by all responders (professional and volunteer) and is the leading psychological intervention used by people without a clinical background.

  1. Where did you get the idea for doing psychological first aid training with NERT trainers?

I spent two years teaching SAFETY FUNCTION ACTION to first responders and public health employees throughout the state of Florida. This is a disaster behavioral health model developed by Dr. James Shultz, and, similar to PFA, is clinically informed and intended for everyone. Everywhere we went, the audience was eager to learn what to say to the survivors they would be working with following a disaster. It showed me that there are more disaster behavioral health options available than just PFA, and what it really impressed upon me, was that all first responders need this training. Therefore, it’s something about which I have continued to be passionate.

Luckily, while working at SF CARD, I had the opportunity to talk about this interest with Teri Dowling (SF DPH) and Erica Arteseros (SFFD – NERT). They too had wanted a mental health training for volunteer responders, and had been trying to find a way to get it. Together we decided to make this become a reality. SF DPH graciously funded SF CARD to create a PFA presentation and train the trainer training specifically tailored to NERT’s needs. Simultaneously, Dr. Elizabeth McMahon, private consultant and psychologist, was asked by a NERT volunteer to teach a disaster mental health training. This just emphasized that we were on the right track. Volunteers wanted this type of training! So, together Dr. McMahon and I set out to create a tailored NERT PFA model. Our final team included myself, Dr. McMahon, Erica Arteseros (SFFD NERT), Shea Baldez (SF CARD), and Teri Dowling (SF DPH).

  1. What resources did you use?

We utilized published resources, professional experience, and a NERT focus group to tailor PFA concepts to meet the needs of NERT volunteers. Some of those written references include:

  • National CERT psychological first aid (PFA) module
  • National Psychological First Aid manuals (general, nursing home staff, medical reserve corps)
  • American Red Cross psychological first aid training
  • State and county level disaster mental/behavioral/psychological health trainings

What we found while trying to apply national PFA Core Actions to NERT was that traditional PFA tools often focus on shelter or disaster service workers. This does not accurately apply to the experiences NERT volunteers (or first responders) will have during a disaster. Also, we received focus group feedback asking us to tailor our program even more to the needs of NERT volunteers. For example, include how to provide PFA during triage and focus on what volunteers could realistically do for survivors within their NERT roles. Ultimately, we created a PFA training that complements and adds to current PFA/disaster mental health best practices.

  1. What do students learn in this training?

The goals of the training are to:

  • Teach, model, and allow practice of culturally competent skills that can quickly and effectively be learned and applied.
  • Increase volunteer confidence and effectiveness in handling distressed teammates and community members.
  • Reduce risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms in volunteer responders and community members.

To do this we teach:

  • Self-Care before, during, and after activation
  • Psychological first aid skills
  • Connect and Direct in triage
  • Connect, Assess, and Direct outside of triage
  • How to manage specific reactions/situations
  1. Can you tell us where you got your passion for this topic?

I think my passion for disaster mental health stems a lot from personal experience. My family has survived two tornados and I’ve seen not only physical destruction, but also psychological resilience. Neighbors, family, friends, all come together to offer support. Usually people offer to help in tangible ways (cleaning, cooking, childcare), but what they’re also doing is helping survivors emotionally. Social support is something so powerful when dealing with a traumatic event and it’s something we often forget and overlook. Psychological First Aid, while providing tools and techniques is also, at its very basic level, reminding us how to be kind to others when they most need it. You don’t need to be a clinical psychologist to offer that kind of support, you just need a reminder of how this may look when times are stressful.

  1. What has the demand been like for this training? Are people interested? Do you think youth might be interested?

Demand is skyrocketing. We provided one NERT PFA Train the Trainer Training in SF and the class was full. SFFD is already looking for more funding so we can hold another one soon. The Human Services Agency, SFPD, SF DEM, and multiple nonprofit and faith based organizations are asking for more information on what PFA would look like in their agencies. SF CARD has provided a PFA training for residential care facilities staff (which is different from the NERT PFA model) and has added this to our roster of available trainings. In addition, Dr. McMahon and I provided a brief overview of what we have created at the Northern California CERT conference and found overwhelming interest. CERT teams from around the state are interested in bringing this to their teams and would like to see this model become incorporated with the National CERT training.

By Susan Schmitz

Want to learn more about NERT? Check them out online for free trainings in emergency preparedness.

Remembering the Napa Earthquake

Last August, we wrote a blog about the earthquake that happened in Napa the crumbled the facades of many historic buildings. Today we look back to see how far we’ve come since the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck at 3:20 am on Aug. 24, 2014. There will be a commemorative event today in Napa at Veterans park starting at 3:20 pm with speakers, music, and emergency preparedness information. For us in San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management reminds you that gathering your emergency supplies and updating your plans on the anniversary of an event like the Napa Earthquake is a great way to show your support for the people injured and killed during this tragic event.

“Napa Strong 6.0/365” will take place at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Napa. The event, coordinated by the City of Napa, Napa County and the Napa Valley Unified School District will focus on progress in recovery from the quake and preparation for future emergencies.

Getting Zen about the Mill Valley Earthquake

Yes, yesterday’s earthquake was only a measly 3.3-magnitude that occurred 6.5 miles off the coast of Mill Valley, but thousands of people felt it, and they are still thinking about it.

Does a little appetizer earthquake like this mean the big one is coming?
Well sadly, we don’t know, and you should know that we don’t know. People at public events often approach us mentioning Karen Schulz’s chilling article on earthquakes “The Really Big One” and movies like San Andreas were a combination scientific evidence and a lot creativity make us think that every event is a pre-shock. With all of these sometimes true and mythical ideas floating around, we ask that you stay zen about it. What does zen mean when it comes to thinking about earthquakes?

Look past the illusion created by the scary yet fun Hollywood versions of earthquakes. Know the science and confront it head on. We live in an area prone to earthquakes large and small, they are what shape this beautiful space we live in, and tear it apart. Know that you can take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your friends. You can do it today, one small step at a time. Start with something like water, then move to food, first aid kits, and flashlights. Accept that you cannot do it all at once and that the items will change and expire. This is part of the process of being prepared. Take a deep breath and let the fear roll away and look forward to how you can help your family and your community.

#LoveWins Preparedness Tips for Pride


By: Daniella Cohen

San Francisco is buzzing this morning as we gear up for a historic Pride weekend on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. What a day and weekend indeed to be in this great city!


This year for the 45th Anniversary of San Francisco Pride the Warrior’s President and COO Rick Welts has been chosen to raise the flag as the Celebrity Grand Marshal. Rick Welts is most recently known for leading the Golden State Warriors to a historic landslide victory in the NBA Finals (their first title since 1975!), but he is also known for being America’s first prominent, openly-gay sports executive. Historic celebrations abound this weekend as San Francisco braces for a gathering of up to half a million people this Sunday for the annual Pride Parade.

1972_poster_asof2009.03.23_234w The first official Pride Parade  poster!

Pride brings many things to mind:…

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DEM’s Spring Round-up

2015 NERT DRILL 16077__5731 HIGH RES Pano Michael Mustacchi

As we approach summer in San Francisco (pull out winter jackets!), spring was quite a season for DEM. Check our seasonal recap and have a great summer!

April is traditionally a very busy month for DEM as it marks two particularly significant events: the yearly National Public Safety Dispatchers Week and the anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.  The following recaps the activities of one of DEM’s most energetic months.


Dispatcher of the Month (April):

San Francisco Department of Emergency Management’s 9-1-1 Dispatchers manage more than 1.2 million emergency and non-emergency calls annually and are often the “first” first–responders whom San Franciscans reach when facing an emergency or are in crisis.

Every month a DEM Public Safety Dispatcher is recognized for outstanding service while assisting those in crisis. This month DEM Public Safety Dispatcher Shannon Bond is being recognized for the protection he provided to Fire and Medical Personnel during an attack from a patient.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has selected Public Safety Dispatcher Shannon Bond as Communications Dispatcher of the Month for April 2015 for his swift thinking and astute sense of awareness while working and surveilling the Fire Channel.

Earlier this month while Shannon was manning the Fire Channel F1, dispatch received a call regarding a seizing patient. Units had been dispatched and although they had reached the scene Shannon heard a commotion over the air waves. He followed-up by immediately calling for a status check from the dispatched units. After no response, Shannon grew increasingly concerned and quickly requested a priority request for the Police to check the well-being of the Fire and Medical Personnel that had been dispatched. When Police arrived at the scene they saw a combative patient armed with a knife attacking the Fire and Medical Personnel. Without Shannon’s ability to rapidly respond and request additional support on the ground, a volatile situation could have become a very dangerous one. We thank Shannon for his diligent work and fast response.

Dispatcher Week:

Have you ever wondered who is on the other end of the line when you call 9-1-1? In the advent of an emergency you call 9-1-1 hoping to ultimately reach fire fighters or police officers, but who coordinates with those entities? Who guides them? Who advises them on the situation, and who helps to keep our officers and fire fighters safe in potentially chaotic instances? Dispatchers are the unsung heroes of our emergency response infrastructure. April 12th-18th was National Public Safety Dispatcher Week and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management celebrated all of our fantastic and talented team of dispatchers.

We celebrated our dispatchers all week long with a special event each day. Some of the highlights included: the Dispatcher of the Year Board of Supervisor’s Proclamation at City Hall, the presentation of the Toni Hardley Award, and our Open House/Dispatcher Alumni Day.

Dispatcher of the Year 2015:

April 13th, 2015 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors honored 9-1-1 dispatcher Kayleigh Hillcoat with the Dispatcher of the Year award for her professionalism and precision in directing three high-stress and complex incidents. As the dispatcher on the Control/Command radio channel, Kayleigh assisted the San Francisco Police Department during an incident that involved a potential officer down, throughout spontaneous celebrations the evening that the San Francisco Giant’s won the World Series, and during public demonstrations in Union Square related to the Ferguson, Missouri protests.

“Kayleigh is being recognized for not only one coordinated response to an emergency, but three. She has exhibited strength, grace, and compassion during incredibly complex incidents,” said Anne Kronenberg, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.

DOTY (2)

Toni Hardley Award Presentation:

Every year we present the Toni Hardley Award for Excellence in Supervision. Toni Hardley was a beloved supervisor of the Department of Emergency Management who is remembered for her calm, cool, and collected nature. As one supervisor remembers her “She was the supervisor everyone aspired to be.” We remember her by the presentation of this award. This year Teodros Deressegne was awarded for his upstanding contributions to his team both as a dispatcher and a supervisor. Teodros Deressegne was particularly recognized for the time he spent talking a young boy out of his home during the Mission St. fire this year. The boy was the last person still left in the building and Teodros helped him to find his way out of the fire.

Hardely 2

Open House/Dispatcher Alumni Day:

On Friday April 17th, the Department of Emergency Management opened our doors for an open house and dispatcher alumni day. We were greeted by some familiar faces as friends new and old arrived to greet our staff.

Even Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White was able to drop by to give our well-deserved dispatchers some recognition!

1906 Commemoration Celebrations:

This year was the 109th commemoration of the San Francisco Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Every year citizens, public servants, and elected officials gather to remember the disaster that brought down a large part of our beautiful city. Many dress in period costumes and are ready to continue a long tradition of remembrance and story-telling shared to honor the victims and the survivors of the great quake and fire. This disaster is commemorated with laughs, smiles, and good old fashioned San Francisco pride as we not only remember the devastation but the remarkable recovery of our city and our citizens.

The Department of Emergency Management began celebrations at the Silver Twin Fire Hydrants, located at Hayes and Buchanan, and Ellis and Van Ness. It is now known that these fire hydrants were equal to the actions of the Gold Hydrant located in the Mission. These two hydrants are traditionally painted silver in long overdue ceremonies to honor the contributions of the “Silver Twins” in stopping the now famous “Ham & Egg” fire in the Western Addition.

Silver Twins (4)

Silver Twins (3)

Following the re-painting of the Silver Twins the crow roared towards John’s Grill who has been serving up the “Big One” Luncheon for 15 years. Some of those who gathered at John’s Grill have been attending this celebration for as long as the Grill has been serving for this event. Period attire, firefighting garb, and vehicles from the era lined the street. We were also serenaded by the thumping and boisterous sounds of Archbishop Riordan’s High School marching band.



John's Grill 16073__5206AHR ©Michael Mustacchi

The main event took place on April 18th at Lotta’s Fountain. The crowd gathered at 5:12 a.m. to once again remember and honor those who fought the fires, those we loved and lost, as well as those remarkable souls that rebuilt San Francisco. After the original alarm bell was sound, the crowd followed with a moment of silence and in chorus sung “San Francisco.”z_pH_b14os-MVza_atX_0e3GDSsnrQDMXwJcOFE2Pbo,goTc79IFRYK0514B-ncMkO4kSnzDPqKeIdJrNHlNFB8


Tradition was everywhere as period roadsters rumbled towards the Mission to re-paint the forever famous Golden Fire Hydrant which is known for bringing down the flames in the Mission District. Fire Chief Hayes-White kicked off the ceremony, survivor’s family members followed suit by sharing who they were there to honor that day followed by splashing some shiny new gold paint on that indispensable “Little Giant.”

Golden Hydrant  Golden Hydrant Cars

Last but not least, the commemorations were wrapped up at the annual Lefty O’Doul’s Bloody Mary Survivor Breakfast. Although we must never forget the devastation we faced, we must always remember how we came together as a community. Commemorating the Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire is just as much about remembrance and honor, as it is about reminding ourselves of the strong community we always have to fall back on, and this year we did just that!

San Andreas Movie Premier:

On Friday May 29th, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and the San Francisco Film Commission joined forces to host a special viewing of San Andreas at the Presidio Theater. San Francisco digitally crumbled underneath a 9.6 magnitude earthquake and an impressively large tsunami proceeded to take down the Golden Gate Bridge! Dwanye Johnson delivered his action movie flare and although parts of the film were tense, we managed to share many laughs (and few “yahoos” during scenes with drop, cover, and hold on). After the film, we held a panel with emergency and earthquake science professionals who helped us to debunk earthquake and tsunami myths.




Check-out our previous blog on the event!

EMS Awards:

May 17th-May 23rd was National Emergency Medical Services Week. San Francisco’s emergency medical service (EMS) professionals rush every day to the scenes of emergencies to assist in what might be someone’s darkest hour.  On Wednesday May 20 we honored their achievements by hosting an Open House and Awards ceremony at San Francisco City College.





Our City’s EMS honorees represent paramedics, emergency medical technicians, dispatchers, educators, and emergency room providers.  Collectively they are shining examples of San Francisco’s emergency medical services community.

For further information on the awardees, please visit “The Awards Go To…”


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