Author Archives: sfdemkristin
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 www.SF72.org 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.
San Francisco Pride is the pinnacle of all Pride celebrations. It draws the largest gathering of the LGBTQ community and allies in the nation. It is a weekend dedicated to love, equality, and diversity. Sadly, the recent attack in Orlando has cast a dark shadow of sorrow and fear over our beloved SF Pride celebrations. As someone who has dedicated her entire adult life to LGBTQ advocacy, this angers me. Greatly. However, as the department head of the organization responsible to coordinate a safe and secure San Francisco Pride weekend, this invigorates me.
Beginning the Friday of Pride Weekend through Sunday night, my team will run the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). We will be joined by many other City agencies with a role in Pride operations. Should the unspeakable happen, we will be poised and at the ready to provide situational awareness and meet any resource needs. We activate the EOC a lot—for both planned events like Super Bowl 50, and unplanned events like a five alarm fire. We know how to manage emergencies. As Executive Director of the Department of Emergency Management, providing this kind of support to our City’s Pride celebrations adds a dimension to my LGBTQ activism, because I am a part of the system dedicated to the safety and security of all who will be celebrating the culture and heritage of pride in the days to come.
I can’t wait to see San Francisco become electric with Pride this weekend as we welcome all who believe in the LGBTQ ideals to celebrate with us, stand with us, but most of all defy those who use hate as a weapon.
San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
Anne Kronenberg (standing to the left of Mayor Ed Lee) on the front steps of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management following the the SF Pride Weekend City-wide coordination meeting.
As the weekend promises a lot of wet weather, here’s some helpful tips about storm (and El Nino) preparedness.
Here at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) we’ve been planning for and talking about El Nino for a long time. We wanted to offer you a one-stop-shop of all things El Nino to help you feel more prepared and to assist you in sharing, educating, and empowering those around you with the same intel. We know this is a lot of information, but we hope that it answers some of your questions regarding what may come to be.
Above all SFDEM encourages you to do five things:
- Make a Plan
- Gather Emergency Supplies
- Register for AlertSF.org
- Learn the difference between 3-1-1 and 9-1-1
- Follow us on social media
For an in-depth guide please feel free to read away and share this valuable information!
Why do I need to “prepare” for rain? This is ridiculous. Well…we know it might…
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re prepared to camp, than you’re more prepared for an emergency than you think!
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.
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.
Pride brings many things to mind:…
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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!
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…”
Written by SFDEM Intern, Daniella Cohen
Last 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).
The Earthquake Country Alliance agreed on some things the film did a great job of portraying:
~ The importance of the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” message for self-protection.
~The need for a backup and family reunification plan, always have a contact outside of the area all family members can report to!
~The movie demonstrates how critical previous training in first aid can be when trying to help others around you, as well as checking for injuries in times of distress.
~ Knowing that a physical sign of an impending tsunami can be seen in water that is receding.
~Cell phones are shown to not work after the earthquake in the film, with non-powered landlines remaining operational (however this may not last long either). Texting may work even better, and takes less bandwidth on networks, so Text First, Talk Second!
~The depiction of official Tsunami warning radio broadcasts and the use of sirens in San Francisco demonstrates how scientific information (delivered at the right time and in the right way) can save lives.
With that said you can rest assured that there are many organizations, agencies, and individuals that are working around the clock to prepare you for a natural disaster and to assist in responding and recovering.
We will never see the Golden Gate Bridge get crushed by a tsunami or the damage from a subduction zone earthquake, nonetheless we should brush off our emergency preparedness kits and talk shop with our families about a plan.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, and aftershocks oh my! The “Big One” finally befalls San Francisco in Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson’s new movie, San Andreas. Without giving away any spoilers, the trailer makes certain to convey the mayhem and destruction following the 9.6 magnitude earthquake depicted in the film. San Francisco sure does get rocked! Seeing and hearing about this film led many who were witness to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 shudder, after all, could we really be facing a 9.6 magnitude quake in the future? A tsunami that brings down the Golden Gate Bridge? (FYI, The San Andreas fault is not long and deep enough to have a magnitude 9 or larger earthquake and cannot cannot create a big tsunami as depicted in the movie.)
This Friday, May 29th 2015 at 6:10 p.m. the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management in partnership with Film SF will be hosting a special screening of San Andreas at the Presidio Theater. We invite the general public to come and watch with us alongside earthquake science and emergency management professionals who post-film will host a Q & A which will help separate fact from fiction.
On Tuesday evening after seeing the film, Dr. Lucy Jones, a Seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey expressed, “Documentaries educate while movies entertain.” San Andreas will be no exception! This will be a fun and lighthearted event which will bring in community members, specialists, and elected officials to watch our beloved City featured in a major motion film, in addition to highlighting emergency management and disaster relief work.
Our hope is to dispel some of the more frightening aspects of the film from concerned San Franciscans, as well as to take this opportunity to focus on preparedness and community connection. Because disasters look more like cities coming together than falling apart, in times of distress and disaster it will be essential to lean on and help those around you.
So, please join us this Friday for a fun-filled movie going experience (who doesn’t love a good disaster flick, right?!) and enjoy a setting that combines entertainment and reality to educate us about the earth science of our fault lines; and empower us to know what to before, during, and after an emergency.
P.S. We will also have a special guest in attendance ready to sweep you off your feet!
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. Last week was National Public Safety Dispatcher Week and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management celebrated all of our fantastic and talented team of dispatchers. DEM also recognized San Francisco Dispatcher of the Year, Kayleigh Hillcoat.
“Teamwork is vital and I’m proud to work with a team of skilled and compassionate individuals who strive to do their best for our public safety partners and the citizens we serve every day. We put our personal emotions aside and pull through intense, difficult situations together.
The incidents mentioned by Supervisor Mar are no different. I may have been a voice in the chaos, but I was backed by my co-workers helping to log and forward critical information, make calls, notify our allied agencies of crucial updates and dispatching fire and medical response along the way.” Kayleigh remarked during her Recognition of Commendation.
Usually Dispatcher of the Year is recognized for one incident however, Kayleigh is being awarded for commanding three high profile incidents this year. 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.
When asked what her favorite part of her job was, Kayleigh responded “[It’s] challenging, there is something different every day, I appreciate being able to directly make a difference in someone’s day or life depending on what the call is about.” She also enjoys the fact that she provides a service to the public, in addition to assisting our fire fighters and police officers.
What most people are not immediately aware of are the difficult parts of the job. Kayleigh shared, “the lack of closure after the call ends can be hard. There isn’t a lot of follow-up on how the emergency was handled or what happened to the caller.” Sometimes dispatchers interact with callers facing grave circumstances; this is a burden all dispatchers carry.
However, Kayleigh has found a wonderful way to deal with some of the more difficult parts of her job by volunteering her time at San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control (AC&C) where she volunteers with the Fetch Program. The Fetch Program is dedicated to dogs brought into the custody of AC&C due to the fact that the owner may be in the hospital, jailed, or evicted. These dogs are often emotionally stressed after being separated from their owners and the comfort of their homes, that’s where Kayleigh steps in. Kayleigh finds solace that she can help in some way post-call by being on the receiving end of displaced animals due to emergencies.
This September Kayleigh will mark her 10th year as a DEM Dispatcher. Congratulations Kayleigh for a job consistently well done and DEM is proud to honor you for your vital contributions to public safety.