Local Government Profile
San Francisco (California) - United States of America
Mayor Edwin M. Lee
San Francisco has worked tirelessly to increase our overall resilience by investing in our physical infrastructure, such as our water system, and increasing the capacity of our residents and communities to respond to and rapidly recover from disasters
Size : 231.89 square miles sq km
Population : 2010 - 805 235 hab.
Part Of : San Francisco, CA
Hazards : Wild Fire, Tsunami, Land Slide, Heat Wave, Flood, Earthquake, Drought

Advancing Resilience through the Whole Community Approach

Global Climate Change:
San Francisco is located in a coastal climate zone and has recognized the growing threat it faces with global climate change. San Francisco is already a leader in sustainability, having been named the greenest city in North America by Siemens Green City Index in 2011. Despite these achievements, San Francisco still faces the hazards that are connected with global climate change

Seismic Hazards:
San Francisco is exposed to several seismic hazards from both known mapped fault systems and undiscovered systems. The primary risks in the area come from the San Andreas fault system and the Hayward fault system; both of which are strike slip fault zones. There is a 63 percent chance that a severe earthquake (Magnitude 6.7 or greater) will strike the area in the next 30 years

CCSF’s primary tsunami risk does not come from any of the local fault lines as they are all strike-slip. The threat comes from subduction zones elsewhere along the Pacific basin and Alaska. San Francisco has experienced tsunami run-up an average of once every 28 years, but the height of these run-ups is generally only a few inches. Despite the history of small tsunamis, the City recognizes that it is still at risk for a potentially large inundation.

CCSF’s climate has a cyclic relationship with droughts and an average recurrence interval between 4 and 10 years. Droughts can occur in both summer and winter and will affect the water sources for the entire area. Droughts of more than 3 years are rare and San Francisco has never had a federally declared disaster for a drought, but the State of California has. Nevertheless, the City recognizes that droughts can be a serious concern and that global climate change may be increasing their likelihood.

CCSF faces the risk of both coastal flooding and storm water ponding. The city can expect to see coastal flooding begin at 3 feet of inundation with the likelihood of recurrence every 7 to 8 years given strong El Nino conditions. Storm water ponding is generally only a few inches but heavy rainfalls can increase it to greater than 4 feet. This type of flood occurs primarily in winter with heavy rainfall and its recurrence rate is nearly every year. The City is researching sea level rise and adaptation measures to improve its management of coastal flooding in response to global climate change.

CCSF’s primary risk from landslides stems from seismic activity but the city also faces regular landslide risks due to the geographic nature of the area. Landslides generally occur during the wet winter months after high levels of precipitation and typically encompass less than 1,500 feet. San Francisco can expect to experience weather related landslides every 7 to 10 years.

Urban Fire:
CCSF has been devastated by major fires several times. The most severe was in the wake of the 1906 earthquake. The resulting fire killed hundreds of people and directly caused the destruction of 25,000 buildings. San Francisco’s high urban population density, the second highest in he United States, increases its likelihood of large scale fires. The City experiences 5 to 6 fires of two-alarm or larger a year. The greatest urban fire risk is associated with the likelihood of a severe earthquake.

Here is a brief overview of progress by the municipality of San Francisco on meeting the Ten Essentials. You can learn more about their initiative on each essential in the document attached: San Francisco Nomination Form

Essential 1: Organisation and coordination
CCSF has invested in organizational infrastructure, both inside and outside of government, to consistently assess the threats of major hazards to the City as well as deploy strategies that will mitigate their impact. In addition to supporting the private sector’s efforts to be more resilient, the City also actively supports programs that involve resident-run groups in the emergency management process. CCSF supports programs that nurture a citywide narrative emphasizing readiness amongst all relative agencies, departments, and cohorts.

Essential 2: Assign a budget
CCSF assigns an ongoing budget for disaster risk reduction that includes staff, programs, and projects. The City also utilizes programs that help get the general public and the private sector involved in risk reduction. Furthermore, CCSF considers emergency planning and risk reduction in its Capital Investment Plan as well is in the day-to-day operations in several city agencies.

Essential 3: Prepare risk assessments
CCSF maintains and updates a wide variety of data on hazards and vulnerabilities that it uses to develop policies and operations plans. The City makes the majority of its plans available to the public through various websites and it discusses aspects of the plans through its community partnerships.

Essential 4: Invest and maintain critical infrastructure that reduces risk
CCSF regularly invests in and maintains its critical infrastructure in areas such as building retrofits and water and sewer system updates. The City also invests in reducing its CO2 footprint as well as energy security and independence.

Essential 5: Assess the safety of all schools and health facilities
CCSF has strict principles around the safety of health facilities and schools. The City actively assesses the risks that buildings face and continually upgrades them to meet requirements.

Essential 6: Apply and enforce realistic, risk compliant building regulation and land use planning principles
The nature of high priority risks in CCSF has spurred the ongoing creation and enforcement of realistic risk compliant building regulations and land use planning principles. The City has an exceptionally dense population and does not specifically identify safe land use for low-income citizens but instead analyzes the safety of land use on a citywide basis.

Essential 7: Ensure that education programmes and training on DRR
CCSF works to ensure that a broad set of educational programs are in place in the community. The City recognizes that no single avenue of education will reach the entire population, so it creates a suite of innovative and creative programs to reach the broadest audience possible.

Essential 8: Protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods
CCSF works to protect its limited natural ecosystems, primarily along the coastline, to mitigate the effects of flood and storm surge. The City is also advancing programs and projects to combat the effects of global climate change and sea level rise.

Essential 9: Install early warning systems and emergency management capacities
CCSF manages and operates an advanced citywide early warning system. The City also invests in regular public preparedness drills and information outreach.

Essential 10: Recovery and Rebuilding communities
CCSF includes the needs of survivors in its ongoing emergency plans. The City is in the process of developing plans that help to expedite the recovery process of survivors and businesses in the event of a disaster.
Mayor of San Fransico