Mayor Lee Releases Draft Earthquake Safety Implementation Program

Comprehensive Program to Make Our City Safer, Protect Lives When the Next Earthquake Strikes

10/17/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today released the first draft of the San Francisco’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP), a 30-year plan to update building codes, retrofit privately-owned buildings, and prepare for post-disaster recovery that encompasses 50 objectives, all with the goal of making San Francisco as safe as it can be before the next earthquake hits.

This new ESIP effort is the next step in the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) program that culminated earlier this year after a decade of work by the nation’s leading earthquake experts, local housing advocates and property owners, and building experts. The CAPSS program made a series of recommendations for policy changes and retrofit programs.

“Our seismic risks are well studied and well documented,” said Mayor Lee. “It’s time to start moving toward solutions, and this draft plan begins a longer conversation with property owners and an education process for City residents about how to best protect themselves and their property from earthquake damage. I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors, the Building Inspection Commission, City Departments and stakeholders from all across the City to turn this from a draft plan into reality.”

“Planning for a great city means planning for a natural disaster we know is coming,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Preparing our housing stock and infrastructure for major earthquakes won't be easy or cheap, but we have to do it and do it right.”

The ESIP document represents the beginning of a multiyear effort to communicate with people all over the City about how best to protect their homes and businesses before the next major earthquake strikes. ESIP envisions strong community engagement to transform this draft to a final document. The draft ESIP document represents the collaborative work of many groups and individuals from many sectors. The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) was a key partner in drafting the recommendations and endorsed the draft plan. Additionally, City staff worked closed with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the Applied Technology Council, and the American Institute of Architects to garner their technical input and expertise on these complex recommendations. Also, the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team program leaders and the CAPSS participants were consulted for their feedback in drafting these recommendations as well.

Seismologists predict that a significant Bay Area earthquake – two to three times as strong as the 1989 Loma Prieta quake – is likely to occur within the next thirty years. The goal of ESIP is to assure that after the expected earthquake, residents will be able to stay in their homes and quickly access important community services. ESIP’s recommended policies aim towards a target of no catastrophic building collapses, meaning our economy can return to functionality as quickly as possible, restoring people’s confidence in our City’s ability to recover and rebuild immediately.

ESIP’s recommended tasks are divided into three phases, based on life-safety criteria, feasibility, and cost effectiveness: Startup (2012-2015); Implementation I (2015-2020); and Implementation II (2020-2042). There are seven different categories of tasks: Education/Information, Evaluation, Building Upgrades; Post-Earthquake Response & Recovery; Strategies & Incentives; Study & Technical Development, and Programs & Operations.

To see the first draft of the ESIP, go to: