A Quick Look at Golden Guardian in San Francisco

How we prepare now, before a disaster, dictates how we react, respond and recover during the real thing.  A mock 7.8 earthquake in San Francisco seems like a good test!

We’ll go into more detail later about what went on when DEM and our partners were put to the test.  For now check out our photo gallery and our coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle and Emergency Management Magazine!

Photos by Maurice Ramirez – www.mauriceramirez.com

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Practice Makes Resilience

The act of terrorism that occurred at the Boston Marathon is every city’s worst nightmare. It shakes all of us to the core as it’s hard not to think about something similar happening within our own community.

But as the dust begins to settle in Boston, and across the country, we are beginning to see some something positive: the tangible results of emergency management planning, training and exercises. In Boston, those preparations were clear as emergency medical services, law enforcement and others within the emergency management community worked swiftly and efficiently in its response to this horrific act.  And as a result of this trial, Boston can take some solace knowing they practiced before the emergency to allow for a quicker recovery.  That is resilience.

Much like Boston, San Francisco is no stranger to practicing emergency plans and procedures. Thanks to DEM’s robust training and exercise program, we regularly bring together numerous city departments, along with our government and non-government response and recovery partners to ‘play’ in emergency scenario-based exercises.

“Because we’ll only do what we did yesterday during an emergency, we need to put our plans into practice to validate what works well and adjust what does not” says DEM Deputy Director Rob Dudgeon.

"A Bad Day at the Races" was one of DEM's table top exercises that used a scenario involving a terrorist attack during San Francisco's America's Cup  festivities.

“A Bad Day at the Races” was one of DEM’s 2012 table top exercises using a ficticious scenario involving a terrorist attack during San Francisco’s concurrent America’s Cup and Fleet Week festivities.

We also exercise within the Bay Area region and with the state to strengthen interagency coordination. An example of such regional and statewide exercising is next week’s statewide functional exercise Golden Guardian 2013. The functional exercise will take place on May 15, 2013, and will involve participation from the City and County of San Francisco and other Bay Area counties and cities, as well as tribes, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sector partners. During the Golden Guardian 2013 exercise, we will put our emergency management plans to the test as we work through managing the response to a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Last fall DEM conducted a functional exercise in partnership with the Armed Forces.   Communications were the primary focus of this exercise.

Last fall DEM conducted a functional exercise with the Armed Forces at Ocean Beach. Communications were the primary focus of this exercise.

While San Francisco looks to Boston with condolence for the loss of life and causalities it suffered, we also offer our accolades for its excellent response to the terrorist attack that has shaken the nation.  We are inspired and have invigorated commitment to strengthen our ability to respond to emergencies by training, exercising and practicing so our city can be resilient—to anything.

So, Golden Guardian 2013, we say game on!

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We invite you to follow us @em4sf #sf #goldguard13 for a social media-view of the Golden Guardian 2013 exercise!

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The 107th San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration Photo Montage

We got up very early, we dressed in 1906 style, and we joined our fellow San Franciscans in commemorating one of the most significant natural disasters in California’s history. Please enjoy DEM’s photographs documenting our participation in an annual ritual filled with camaraderie and San Francisco pride.

Special note of appreciation, acknowledgment and thanks to Michael Mustacchi for photographing this special event.

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The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along Powell Street near Union Square.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

The parade ends at historic John’s Grill with an annual Survivor’s Dinner. This year 1906 earthquake survivor Bill Del Monte was able to join the dinner festivities.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

Mayor Brown pictured with 1906 earthquake survivor Bill Del Monte and fellow San Franciscans dedicated to commemorating the anniversary.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

1906 earthquake survivor Bill Del Monte with San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

It turned out to be nothing, but a suspicious package reported near Lotta’s Fountain meant a change of venue to Union Square. But the master of ceremony Bob Sarlatte and the event organizers made sure the show went on.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

A ceremony participant observing a minute of silence at the exact time the 1906 San Francisco earthquake occurred: 5:12 am.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

A very loud siren kicks off the minute of silence.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

Ceremony participants dedicated to keeping the tradition to commemorate the anniversary in 1906 period attire.

Ceremony participants dedicated to keeping the tradition to commemorate the anniversary in 1906 period attire.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

From left to right: Supervisor London Breed, Supervisor  David Chiu, DEM Executive Director Anne Kronenberg, and Supervisor Scott Wiener giving remarks during the commemoration ceremony.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White providing remarks on the disaster and its significance to San Francisco’s ability to respond and recover.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

Mayor Lee shared comments about the City’s strength and what we are doing to promote San Francisco’s resilience.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

From left to right Master of Ceremony Bob Sarlatte, Police Chief Greg Suhr, DEM Executive Director Anne Kronenberg, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and a ceremony dignitary.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

DEM dressed for the occasion!

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Commemoration activities kick-off with a parade along

ShakeOut enthusiasts from southern California made the trip north to join the commemoration.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White helping to give the Golden Hydrant, one of the only working hydrants durning the disaster that saved much of the Mission and surrounding areas from fire.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White giving the Golden Hydrant a fresh coat of gold paint. This hydrant is significant because it was one of the only working hydrants during the disaster   and it saved much of the Mission and surrounding areas from fire.

15628__309HR ©Michael Mustacchi