Commemorating Connection--Not Catastrophe

April 18th marks the 107th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Although very few of us have a first-hand memory of what remains one of California’s most significant catastrophes, every April many of us think about the what ifs with regard to earthquakes. 

The thing to keep in mind is that you are more prepared than you think!  If the power goes out, you have a flashlight handy, and you know who can pick up your kids if you get stuck at work then you’re prepared. You adapt and move on. By managing everyday life you already have what it takes. So take simple actions now to make life easier when an earthquake happens!

Actual emergencies look more like people coming together than communities falling apart. Being prepared is not just about getting our supplies together; it’s about knowing our neighbors, lending a hand, and sharing our knowledge and skills to help our community. San Francisco is full of creative, diverse, and visionary minds: we don’t need to look far to become a better prepared city.  We just need to look to each other.

So as we think about what happened to our fair city 107 years ago, let’s commemorate by taking stock of our resources, and then adding a little bit to that stock. If you have a manual can opener and a supply of canned food, you are more prepared than you think (did you know the fluid in your canned beans is a great hydrator?). And lastly, take the time to meet your neighbors – at home, at work, or through social networks. After all, these are the people we rely on everyday no matter the crisis!

Top 4 Resources for Emergency Preparedness Information

  • www.72hours.org:  everything you need to plan for just about any emergency.
  • www.alertsf.org:  be in the know about any emergency alerts, notifications and warnings impacting San Francisco by neighborhood via text message and/or email.
  • Twitter: For ongoing emergency information and preparedness tips, follow DEM on Twitter @sf_emergency (for emergency alerts) and @em4SF (for preparedness and resilience conversations).
  • www.sfheroes.com: the smart phone app that lets you test your preparedness know-how and earn superhero badges as you advance your emergency preparedness knowledge, skills, and abilities.

1906 Earthquake and Fire Commemoration Events:

April 18th: Lotta’s Fountain 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Commemoration Ceremony

 Join your fellow San Franciscans at 5:13 am at 3rd and Market Street as we gather around Lotta’s Fountain to mark the exact time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

DEM dressed for last year's commemoration ceremony.

  • April 18th: Painting of the Golden Hydrant in Dolores Park

Following the Lotta’s Fountain commemoration ceremony, the gathering moves to Dolores Park to pay tribute to one of the only working fire hydrants during the fire that followed the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

The Golden Hydrant in Dolores Park, which gets a fresh coat of gold paint every April 18th to commemorate the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

  • April 20th: NERT Citywide Drill

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) members from all over the city will meet to put their training into action in this three-hour drill. At the drill, NERT volunteers practice search and rescue techniques, triaging injured victims, setting up staging areas, and other essential disaster response skills.  The drill will take place 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at Everett Middle School Yard on 17th between Church and Sanchez. To learn more about NERT visit www.sfgov.org/sfnert.

Team DEM at the Dolores Park to observe (and a few of us to participate) in the golden hydrant painting ceremony.