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Ref: San Francisco Mayor announces public/private partnership for emergency preparedness

| 04.20.2007 | 07:19:152761 |
GovTech

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Cross-Sector Partnership to Support Disaster Preparedness in San Francisco Bay Area


April 18, 2007 News Report
Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced that the City and County of San Francisco will join the Fritz Institute on the Bay Area Preparedness Initiative (BAPI), a comprehensive program bringing together leaders from government, private industry, and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to identify gaps in preparedness and collaborate in developing solutions that address those gaps.

The program will focus initially on a major research effort to assess the vulnerability of San Francisco's most at-risk populations and the response capacity of the local community and faith-based organizations that serve them. The research will be led by Professor Kathleen Tierney, Ph.D., director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado and one of the nation's foremost experts on the social science aspects of hazards preparedness.

This research will lead to recommendations to government and philanthropic leaders about how best to support and ensure the response capacity of these groups. Fritz Institute also anticipates that the BAPI will serve as a catalyst for a national discussion on how the nonprofit and faith based sector can more effectively partner with uniformed first responders and the city and state infrastructures in serving local citizens in disaster situations.

This is believed to be the first cross-sector disaster preparedness partnership of its kind in the U.S.

"We're proud to be partnering with the Fritz Institute in this initiative to bring together the philanthropic, non-profit and private sectors to enhance disaster preparedness," said Newsom. "This project will provide valuable insight into the disaster response capacity of our local nonprofit and faith-based organizations. It will also lead to a roadmap that can serve as a model for other cities across the nation."

Newsom was joined at the announcement by Lynn Fritz, chairman of the non-profit Fritz Institute, and a leader in enabling preparedness and effectiveness in disaster relief worldwide.

"Our ultimate goal," said Fritz, "is to establish procedures that will not only save thousands of Bay Area lives in the event of a disaster, but will greatly minimize suffering, will enable local agencies to provide aid quickly and effectively to the most vulnerable, and will serve as a model that can be adapted throughout the country. Although our work at Fritz Institute is primarily with relief agencies in other parts of the world, we're greatly honored to have been asked to undertake this task for the city that is our home. We're also extremely appreciative of the generosity, civic mindedness and foresight of our civic, philanthropic, and funding partners in this initiative."

As events have repeatedly shown, from the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the most vulnerable populations become even more vulnerable when their lives and communities are disrupted by disasters. For many of these individuals, community based human service and faith based organizations become a key source of support after a major disaster.