Monthly Archives: August 2014

Preparedness is about connection, not catastrophe.

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Many of us were awakened early Sunday morning by the largest earthquake in the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta earthquake nearly 25 years ago. Thankfully, San Francisco suffered no damage. But we know that aftershocks in the region are common following a large earthquake of this magnitude. This is a good reminder that we need to do what can now, before the next earthquake, because that will make our City’s recovery all the more effective.

But while we are taking stock of our emergency preparedness, we want to underscore this: emergencies look more like cities coming together than falling apart. And at the heart of this is connection.

While Sunday morning’s earthquake is foremost on our minds, let’s use this as an opportunity to not only build upon our earthquake preparedness, but connect within our community networks about emergency preparedness in general. Have a conversation about preparedness with your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers. Talk about what you would do if an earthquake causes damage in our city, and in our neighborhoods. Visit to learn how to be prepared for earthquakes (along with any type of emergency), and ask your neighbors to do the same.

Plan Basics

We also encourage everyone connect into emergency preparedness by taking the San Francisco Fire Department’s free Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training, and register for the City’s e-mail and text-based notification system

We know disasters, whether it is an earthquake, tsunami, or something human made, can happen at any time with little or no warning. That is why it is important to take steps now so we are ready for any emergency. Let’s not wait until the next disaster to show how connected and prepared we are.

More Prepared

20 Years Ago: The Northridge Earthquake

Early this morning the Bay Area was shaken awake by the largest earthquake since the Loma Prieta earthquake nearly 25 years ago. It’s a good reminder to think about your state of earthquake preparedness, and build upon it. And remember, you are more prepared than you think…really!

San Francisco DEM

1994 Northridge Earthquake 1994 Northridge Earthquake (FEMA NEWS PHOTO)

San Franciscans stand with our fellow Californians by remembering the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.  We remember the lives that were lost and those that were changed.  The magnitude 6.7 quake caused $25 billion in damage and was the costliest U.S. natural disaster at the time.  Northridge was a not so subtle reminder that we live in earthquake country (Universal City residents received a more subtle reminder this morning).  The 20th Anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake is also about saluting the resilient people that rebuilt their community and worked hard to return to normal life.

More Prepared

Whether you’re just starting out or a preparedness pro, gathering your emergency supplies and planning ahead is easy. A good rule of thumb is to have supplies for about 3 days, or 72 hours. You’ll be surprised at how much you already have. Take simple steps today on

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DEM’s Demo Days

Something is in the air when it comes to awesome technologically and/or socially innovative ideas that support emergency management. Just this week alone, DEM was involved in three very exciting “Demo” events:

  1. DEM was invited to the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day where we were thrilled to announce the launch of City72, an open-source emergency preparedness platform modeled after our own SF72  that is designed specifically for local governments. The City72 platform includes a toolkit that provides cities with the  technical guidance to create a customized City72 site for any city or region (for more about City 72, read on).
  2. While at the White House, we also announced our formalized partnership with AirBnB to help facilitate temporary housing, should the need arise, during an emergency (for more about the DEM-AirBnB partnership, read on).
  3. During the San Francisco Entrepreneurship in Residence Demo Day DEM was joined by the company Regroup to showcase a project linking the Shake Alert Earthquake Early Warning System to mobile phones (for more about the Shake Alert Earthquake Early Warning Regroup demo, read on).

And here’s what Mayor Lee has to say about these exciting demos:


Modeled after SF72, San Francisco’s emergency preparedness hub, City72 allows any area, large or small, to create an effective preparedness platform for their community no matter their technical capabilities. To provide technical guidance to cities adopting City72, we created the City72 Toolkit, which includes open source code that allows local governments and web developers universal and free access to the City72 design and blueprint.  It also allows universal redistribution of that design and blueprint, including any improvements made by other communities or developers.

For communities that do not have access or resources to hire a web developer, the City72 Toolkit offers a content editor that functions as a “ready to go” website. This tool provides simplified emergency preparedness information alongside templates designed to showcase hyper-local videos, images, and sentiments that are unique to any community creating its own City72 site.  All communities have to do is add their own text, images, and videos.

“When it comes to building products like this, it should be publicly available, it should be shared. We want to help other emergency managers, many of whom don’t have the resources like we did to push the development of a public messaging system. We want to make it easy.” —Rob Dudgeon, DEM Division of Emergency Services Deputy Director, about making City72 available to  the emergency management community collective.

SF DEM presenting at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office of the President


San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and AirBnB Memorandum of Understanding

Also presenting at the White House Demo Day was AirBnB where the social sharing company announced its partnership with DEM (and the City of Portland), formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding, to help meet temporary housing needs during an emergency.

AirBnB will also work with DEM to make sure the pre-identified hosts are prepared and trained to react in an emergency.

 “Opening doors to people who need a place to stay is in the DNA of the Airbnb community. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, 1,400 Airbnb hosts in New York opened doors and cooked meals for those left stranded. We were inspired by these stories to build a disaster response initiative with our community.” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

San Francisco and Portland are the first cities to enter this sort of agreement with Airbnb.

 Shake Alert Earthquake Early Warning System

DEM Operations Coordinator Anna Sop, joined by Regroup CEO Joe DiPasquale,  showcased a demonstration project linking the Shake Alert Earthquake Early Warning System to cell phones at the San Francisco Entrepreneurship in Residence Demo Day.

Anna Sop

During the demonstration, DEM and Regroup explored the connection between the ShakeAlert system to early earthquake notification to provide automatic mass notification and warning to our city’s diverse population. In an effort to ensure the messages are as accessible as possible, the system would  use pre-crafted messages in different languages (English, Chinese, Spanish, and Tagalog).