Meeting notes are available online.


The Presidio Golden Gate Club


Building An Earthquake Resilient Community

Welcoming Remarks
Harold Brooks, President and CEO, American Red Cross Bay Area and Thor Poulsen, Public Education Officer, Hayward Fire Department
Safe Enough to Stay - What needs to be done to enable residents to shelter in place for days and months after a large earthquake?
Lawrence Kornfield, Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, City and County of San Francisco
American Red Cross’ Ready Neighborhoods Initiative: Building Disaster Resilience in Bay Area’s Vulnerable Communities
Alan Kwok, Ready Neighborhoods Manager, American Red Cross Bay Area
SF NERT in the Aftermath of a Large Earthquake
Lt. Erica Arteseros, Program Coordinator for the SFPD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, San Francisco Fire Department

Disaster resilience measures how well residents and communities can respond to, recover from and adapt to challenges posed by a disaster. Building a resilient community is as much about ensuring the physical integrity of homes as it is about training residents to help their neighbors during a disaster, preparing businesses and organizations to resume operations post-disaster and coordinating emergency plans and services across different sectors so communities are empowered to help themselves.

The Bay Area Earthquake Alliance Meeting on April 24th focused on how various programs play an integral role in engaging San Francisco residents and neighborhoods to become more prepared and readied for the next big earthquake and to increase their disaster resilience.


Questions and Answers

We are posting these follow-up questions and answers from the Meeting in the spirit of Johanna Fentonís exhortation that the Bay Area Earthquake Alliance should end meetings with a set of tasks to be accomplished. Some of these questions are rephrased versions of questions that were asked after the talks, and some of them are new.

Does the city keep a list of businesses and banks that have generators?
Laurence Kornfield San Francisco does not currently have a list of businesses with emergency generators. Perhaps issues of providing emergency generation for important commercial services will be considered as a supplementary task of the Lifelines Council (I will follow-up with Laurie Johnson); this important topic is scheduled to be part of the CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, Task A.6.g, Consider scope and issues related to critical retail stores, suppliers, medical service providers, and others. That task is on the 30-year schedule to begin in 2014, complete in 2016. I expect to have the CAPSS/ESIP program staffed by at least 2, perhaps 3, additional City staff by the end of this year.
What can the Ready Neighborhood Project do now to set up the neighborhood centers that will be needed in the days and weeks after a large damaging earthquake? Are the informational materials for these centers available now?
Laurence Kornfield The SPUR and CAPSS/ESIP work has developed a model for Neighborhood Support Centers. In the ongoing CAPSS/ESIP work, we are currently preparing more comprehensive materials to provide guidance to neighborhood groups or larger building complexes in setting up such centers. I would like to set up a movable demonstration center, with necessary materials stored inside a small container. Cost would be about $8,000 to purchase necessary equipment - no funding has been identified for this demonstration project. Last week I met on-site with a Diamond Heights neighborhood group who want to prepare a real-life pilot center in the garage of a mid-size apartment complex. Other organizations are not yet involved in this project, although I expect they will be brought in by the neighborhood group.
By the way, at the specific request of the One Hawthorn St. Emergency Preparedness Committee, a subcommittee of their Homeowners’ Association in new high-rise here in South-of-Market, SF, I have been working on issues related to Safe-Enough-to-Stay in larger residential buildings. I prepared a paper for a recent meeting with them at the SPUR Urban Center. I find that the issues for larger buildings are significantly more complex and difficult to address. I will continue working on this topic and I’ll send my next draft of this paper to you shortly.
How extensive is the Ready Neighborhood Assessment? Does it include a count of the people with access and function needs? Does it include a count of NERT/CERT-trained personnel? Could the assess¨ment be expanded to include a rough vulnerability assessment for the neighborhood?
Alan Kwok The Ready Neighborhood Assessment includes hazards and vulnerability risk assessments, demographic data (e.g. age, race, languages spoken, child care access, and health-related information), and a compilation of organizations and government agencies/representatives serving each neighborhood. The assessment also includes interviews with key internal and external stakeholders on community issues that are facing their neighborhoods and gaps (and progress) pertaining to disaster preparedness/readiness.
The assessment does include data on People with Access and Function Needs (PAFNs). For some neighborhoods we don’t have a count, but we do consult with Area Agency on Aging (AAA) or organizations serving PAFNs to get an idea on what the needs are in a targeted neighborhood.
We collect data from NERTs/CERTs on the number of CERT trainings conducted in each of the targeted Ready Neighborhoods within the last two to five years. In regards the exact count of NERT/CERT-trained personnel, they would have more precise data for each particular neighborhood. Our Ready Neighborhoods initiative supports the work NERTs/CERTs and works with them to bring CERT training to these neighborhoods (as transportation access and language/cultural issues are two major barriers that prevent residents living in underserved communities from participating in the training).
Engineering help would be greatly appreciated and would also better serve the city/county. We gather data from our government agency partners such as OES and engineering help would definitely benefit the city/county levels.
Are the Ready Neighborhood Training Efforts of the Red Cross explicitly aligned with the local NERT/CERT organizations?
Alan Kwok One aspect of the Red Cross’ Ready Neighborhoods initiative is to work in concert with our NERT/CERT partners. Each county/city operates its CERT program differently and we actively work with the local CERT program/fire department to see how our efforts can be aligned if that’s not the case.
Is there a neighborhood command structure for NERT? Are the neighborhood groups autonomous?
Erica Arteseros Upon completion of NERT training volunteers may participate in our leadership training to coordinate or be on the planning team for their neighborhood. The coordinators are the key to communications with graduates and plan neighborhood activities and meetings to facilitate the organization of the team prior to a response being needed.
The groups remain connected to the SFFD. Coordinators and volunteers from the neighborhood planning teams attend a quarterly leadership meeting /training. During the response, they follow set response procedures that are laid out during basic NERT training and reinforced through ongoing training. The teams have set directions for interfacing with the SFFD through our Battalion commanders in each fire district. Fire personnel are not present to assist directly with their team activities so in that sense they are autonomous, but acting within the scope of their training.

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