Mayor Lee Highlights Emergency Preparedness to Mark 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire Anniversary

4/17/12—On the eve of the 106th anniversary of the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, DEM Director Anne Kronenberg and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White today highlighted the importance of earthquake and emergency preparedness.

“As we observe the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and reflect on other recent major earthquakes around the world, I encourage all San Franciscans to take steps to become better prepared for any emergency,” said Mayor Lee. “And, as we ask our citizens to be prepared, the City is also taking steps to upgrade infrastructure that will serve us during an emergency. It is critical that our water supply systems, our police and fire stations and our hospitals can rapidly respond in an emergency and stand ready to provide care and services to our residents.”

The 1906 Great Earthquake struck at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906. It took the lives of an estimated 3,000 people and left San Francisco in ashes; much of the destruction caused by fires. The 1906 earthquake remains one of the worst tragedies in California history.

“Whether by visiting to develop your emergency plan, downloading the SF Heroes iPhone application to test your preparedness know-how, or registering for AlertSF to get emergency information on your cell phone, there are many simple ways to enhance your preparedness and resilience,” said DEM Director Kronenberg.

“We are reminded on this date each year that we must remain diligent in our efforts to be prepared, as individuals and, as a community,” said Fire Chief Hayes-White. “The San Francisco Fire Department is committed to helping the residents of San Francisco to be part of the solution through our Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training program. It is available, free of charge, to every resident and worker in San Francisco.”

To commemorate the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, several events and activities are planned, including:

Ceremonial naming of SFFD Engine 28 in honor of 1906 earthquake survivor Bill Del Monte followed by Survivors Parade
April 17, 2012 @ 3 p.m.
Westin St. Francis Hotel, 335 Powell Street

John's Grill Annual Survivor Dinner
April 17, 2012 @ 4 p.m.
63 Ellis Street
Reservations suggested; call (415) 986-3274 for more information.

106th Anniversary Commemoration and Wreath Laying Ceremony
April 18, 2012 @ 5:00 a.m.
Lotta’s Fountain, Market St. at the intersection of Kearny, Third & Geary Streets

Golden Fire Hydrant Painting Ceremony
April 18, 2012 @ 5:40 - 6:00 a.m.
20th & Church Streets

Lefty O’Doul’s Annual Survivor Breakfast
April 18, 2012 @ 6:00 a.m.
333 Geary Street at Powell Street

San Francisco has significantly improved its level of emergency preparedness in recent years. The City’s award-winning website,, provides information on making family emergency plans, building disaster kits, and getting involved in training before a disaster occurs or volunteering to help out afterwards. The information is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese. In addition, tests knowledge of what to do if an earthquake strikes while at home, driving, on public transit, at the beach or at work. is also available to the public, a text-based message system that delivers emergency information to cell phones, PDA’s and other text-enabled devices, as well as email accounts.

Since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, voters have approved several General Obligation Bonds to retrofit City facilities. Through the most recent Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond, the City’s emergency water system that helps fight fires is now being repaired and retrofit, neighborhood fire stations are being improved and a new Public Safety Building is being built so that public safety agencies can provide uninterrupted emergency services during and after a disaster.

The City has completed more than 190 seismic improvement projects since Loma Prieta in 1989, and another 34 projects are underway. Other large projects such as the Bay Bridge, San Francisco General Hospital and Doyle Drive are being rebuilt right now. The City is also repairing and rebuilding the system that delivers pristine drinking water and clean hydropower from Hetch Hetchy to the Bay Area.

The Planning Department has updated the Community Safety Element of the City’s General Plan. The update devotes new sections on response and recovery, ensuring that the City maximizes its ability to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce damage directly after an earthquake. Through new and updated policies, the update ensures that over the long term, the City is able to provide a positive path forward to house those displaced, provide services to homes and businesses, and resume economic and government functions. The Community Safety Element also highlights the numerous City programs already underway to increase earthquake and emergency preparedness.

This update to the General Plan supports the numerous initiatives under Mayor Lee to increase earthquake and emergency preparedness, including the City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, the ResilientSF Initiative, the San Francisco Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS), and the issuance of numerous General Obligation Bonds to retrofit City facilities and infrastructure systems.

The update to the Community Safety Element is expected to be heard at the Planning Commission for initiation and adoption this Spring. Its adoption will ensure that programs like these, and funding that facilitate their implementation, continues into the long-term.