Monthly Archives: August 2016

From Napa to Italy

Today is the anniversary of the 2014 Napa Earthquake, and as per our custom to use relevant disasters as reminders to get prepared for them, we were going to post a blog about the most significant earthquake to have occurred in the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But our plan changed in light of what happened in Italy. Just last night a powerful 6.2 Magnitude earthquake epicentered in Amatrice, Italy caused nearly 200 fatalities and immeasurable destruction. 

Seeing the devastation Italy is experiencing today (and will for quite a while) is chilling, tragic, and heartbreaking. It’s only natural to think about the ‘what-ifs’ when it comes to a significant earthquake happening here at home, only to push those dark scenarios out of our heads and move on to the next most pressing to do. We are here to tell you it is okay to set those scary thoughts aside; but please don’t stop there. Do something constructive, productive, and proactive when it comes to being prepared for an emergency. Take stock of your supplies (and add to it if you can). Talk about your emergency plan with your family. Ask your neighbors what you all could do to respond and recover–together. Get creative. Keep it simple. Do what feels right for you and yours. It will feel good knowing what you have done before the earthquake will make a huge difference in the aftermath.

Please visit to learn how to be prepared for just about any emergency.  And as we take some time now to get prepared our thoughts, hearts, and prayers go out to Italy.

DEM Quarterly Review

This DEM Quarterly Review captures DEM’s spring seasonal highlights–which was a very busy several months that included  special recognitions, commemorations, and graduations. 


National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Honoring Our First, First Responders

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is an opportunity to highlight their outstanding work. Although every dispatcher is honored during this week, we take this opportunity to recognize stellar performance through the following awards:

Dispatcher of the Year

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Supervisor Eric Mar (far left) presented Natalie (center), a resident of his District, with the Dispatcher of the Year Award. 

Natalie Elicetche was recognized as Dispatcher of the Year for fielding a call from a San Francisco resident who reported the possibility of multiple murders in Tennessee. Natalie contacted local authorities in Tennessee which led to the arrest of the murder suspect. This was an incredibly complex situation, yet through it all Natalie exhibited compassion, strength and initiative which resulted in justice for the victims of this horrendous crime.

Toni Hardley Award

16286 DEM - Toni Hardley Award  - Janice Baldocchi

Janice Balodocchi is this year’s recipient of the Toni Hardley Award for Excellence in Supervision–an award dedicated to the memory of Toni Hardley, a beloved supervisor of DEM who is remembered for her calm, cool, and collected nature. As one supervisor remembers her “She was the supervisor everyone aspired to be.” Janice was awarded for her outstanding commitment to leadership, guidance, and support to her staff.  She is revered on the 9-1-1 dispatch floor, and we commend her for her service to our dispatchers.

9-1-1 Heroes Awards

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The 9-1-1 Heroes Award gives us the opportunity to recognize children who called 9-1-1 for family members in peril, and the dispatchers who answered their calls. This year we honored Allessandra Esquivel and Janaia McKinley who called 9-1-1 for family members experiencing medical emergencies; and DEM Dispatchers Celia Velasquez and Burt Wilson who helped them to save their loved ones.

About the Calls:

Allessandra had to assist her non-English speaking parents when calling 9-1-1 because her baby brother was choking.  DEM Dispatcher Celia Velasquez assisted Allessandra by instructing her to perform CPR on her infant brother.

Janaia called 9-1-1 to report her grandmother’s heart attack.  DEM Dispatcher Burt Wilson directed Janaia until an ambulance and paramedics were on scene.


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DEM Dispacthers and 9-1-1 Heroes Awardees Burt Wilson and Celia Velasquez


A Morning of Ceremony, Community, & Connection

Every spring DEM joins our fellow San Franciscans to commemorate the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire that took place on April 18, 1906 at 5:12 a.m. The early morning setting is stepped in years of tradition with revelers dressed in turn-of-the-century attire. Through song, speech, and a little spray paint we reflect on what happened that morning many, many years ago; and we celebrate how San Francisco rose from the ashes to become the resilient and beautiful city it is today.

16294 DEM - 110th Anniv of the 1906 EQ Lotta's Fountain

The 1906 earthquake commemorations begins before dawn at Lotta’s Fountiain, where many San Franciscans gathered in the early morning of April 18, 1906 after the earthquake struck.

16295 DEM - 110th Anniv of the 1906 EQ 20th & Church

DEM personnel at Dolores Park where the ‘Golden Hydrant’ (one of the only working fire hydrants after the 1906 earthquake ) gets a customary fresh coat of gold spray paint every April  18th.  


San Francisco Emergency Services Week: Recognizing Paramedics, EMTs, and Hospital Providers


This May we celebrated our San Francisco paramedics, EMTs and hospital providers with various events during National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. For the first time City Hall was lit in EMS colors, as San Francisco joined the ranks of other major cities like Boston and New York that light iconic city structures in the EMS colors during National EMS Week.


San Francisco City Hall lit in EMS colors.

We also honored our EMS community by hosting San Francisco’s EMS Day at Civic Center Plaza where ambulance service providers, EMTs and paramedics gathered to share apparatus displays and educational information with the public. San Francisco City College stole the show by exhibiting hands-only CPR skills and encouraging public participation.


San Francisco EMS Day on Civic Center Plaza.

Also a component of San Francisco’s EMS Week is the EMS Awards–annual awards program that recognizes outstanding emergency medical services delivered to San Francisco. The awardees are nominated by their peers for a variety of emergency medical services including: emergency medical dispatch; field medical response; hospital medical service; community service; and the Raymond Lim Excellence in EMS award.We were thrilled to see DEM’s very own Dawn Mahoney awarded with the EMS Dispatcher of the Year award.


L to R: Paul Henderson, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Anne Kronenberg, Executive Director, SFDEM, Dawn Mahoney, Public Safety Dispatcher, EMS Dispatcher of the Year


Welcome Our Newest Dispatchers

Congratulations to the POST 51 Academy, DEM’s newest group of dispatcher recruits who graduated from academy training. We wish you the best of luck in the next phase of your journey to become one of San Francisco’s Public Safety Dispatchers!