Monthly Archives: July 2013

DEM on Storm Preparedness

Never ones to pass up a chance to promote disaster preparedness, DEM was pleased to participate in the July 18 hearing at the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee on Storm Preparedness and Response.  DEM works closely with the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency and other city agencies to help prepare San Francisco for potential flooding, debris, power outages, and traffic impacts of major storms.

How DEM sends public information, notification and/or warnings: 

DEM also use several communications tools to keep the public informed during storms, and any major disaster, including:

How DEM (AKA @sf_emergency on Twitter) shares public information about storms.

How DEM (AKA @sf_emergency on Twitter) shares public information about storms.

DEM also has an assigned Duty Officer who monitors emergency situations and provides information updates to key city officials 24X7.  Our 9-1-1 dispatch center handles almost all incoming emergency calls from the public, can take calls in more than 170 languages, and dispatches all Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical services in San Francisco.

After the storm: 

After a storm, fire, or other emergency that destroys housing, DEM coordinates closely with the Human Services Agency, American Red Cross, and the San Francisco Housing Authority to ensure a safe place to stay for any displaced San Franciscans.  We also work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get reimbursement for San Francisco for certain costs incurred from storm damage or for extraordinary efforts made by the city to respond to the disaster.

We are very grateful to Supervisor Eric Mar for shining a spotlight on all that the city can do to get ready for the next big storm season this fall.

Amiee Alden on SFGOV TV talking about storm preparedness in San Francisco.

Amiee Alden, author of this post and who presented during the hearing, on SFGOV TV talking about storm preparedness in San Francisco.

15th Annual Emergency Medical Services Awards

The Honorees Are…

Awards season is typically in February when the Oscars and the Grammys are handed out.  You could debate The Life of Pi was more deserving than Argo or why Taylor Swift didn’t get another Record of the Year but there is no debating the value and contributions of San Francisco’s Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMSA).

During the 15th Annual EMSA Awards Ceremony awards were presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment to emergency medical care.  The honorees are:

Jonathan Baxter, EMT-P
EMS Field Provider Award

Jonathan Baxter is recognized for his years of outstanding service, patient advocacy and promotion of new technologies for EMS.  As an eleven year emergency services veteran, Jonathan joined the San Francisco Fire Department in 2000 and dedicated his career to taking on tough assignments.  At Fire Station 18 he served on the Surf Rescue Unit.  Since 2009, Jonathan has volunteered to work out of Fire Station One- one of the busiest in the nation.   At each station he was recognized for his work and received Meritorious Conduct Awards from the Fire Commission. In addition to his service, Jonathan contributed to projects to streamline patient care documentation and improve patient assessment.

Tae-Wol Stanley, MSN, RN, FNP
Shannon Smith-Bernardin, MSN, RN
Community Members of the Year Award

Tae-Wol Stanley and Shannon Smith receive this award for for years of meritorious service to the chronically homeless.  The Department of Public Health’s Sobering Center is a twelve bed facility that provides thousands of homeless and medically frail clients with sobering, detox and medical respite services. Ninety percent of patient encounters in the Sobering Center result in a discharge to self-care or a shelter, which significantly decreases the impact on EMS, emergency departments and jails.

As the Clinic Director, Tae-Wol manages its programs, budget, and 35 employees. Tae-Wol has also overseen the expansion of the center to field clinics during citywide special events.  In her role as Intake and Sobering Coordinator, Shannon transitioned the staff from LVNs to a mix of RNs and MEAs, wrote its clinical practice guidelines, and designed its referral system.

Jonathan D. Garber, MD
EMS System Hospital Provider Award

As the Chief of Emergency at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center since 1997, Dr. Jonathan Garber has grown the department to include more than 40 physicians and 90 residents. He is highly regarded by his colleagues and students and has been awarded the title of Master Clinician.

Dr. Garber has also been instrumental in helping the VA become more prepared.  Under his leadership, the VA has hosted disaster exercises, created the only helipad in the city, and stored a pharmaceutical cache for prophylaxis during a pandemic disease outbreak. Other innovations and improvements include specialty center designation, inter-hospital communications, ACLS courses, and co-sponsoring an EMS fellowship.

Stephen La Plante, EMT
Raymond Lim Excellence in EMS Award

Stephen La Plante receives this award for his steadfast presence and decades of labor to improve and advance public health, EMS and medical disaster preparedness in San Francisco.  Prior to his retirement in February, Steve was San Francisco’s EMS Administrator.  During his term EMSA hired new staff, wrote a five year strategic master plan, created a program for STEMI and cardiac arrest receiving centers, and reinstated the Exclusive Operating Area that defines the quality and nature of 9-1-1 response to EMS calls.

Steve also contributed to San Francisco’s overall resilience by acquiring a tremendous cache of equipment, including disaster trailers, warehoused medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, and a robust communications system for EMS field providers and between hospitals. These items may serve a critical role should the need arise for rapid deployment of field clinics.

The Department of Emergency Management salutes these outstanding men and women and thanks them for their contributions.


Photos of this year’s EMS Awards recipients:

EMS Awards Group ShotGarcia and EMS AwardeeGarcia with awardee 2Steve and Dr BrownEMS Award Group shotWoman accepting EMS award