Local Government Profile

San Francisco (California), United States of America  
RoleModel San Francisco (California)
231.89 square miles
805 235 hab.
Hazard Types
Wild Fire, Tsunami, Land Slide, Heat Wave, Flood, Earthquake, Drought
Name of Mayor
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" Mayor Edwin M. Lee

  • Hazard and vulnerability profile

  • 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


    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.

  • Disaster Risk Reduction Activities

  • 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.

  • Disclaimer

  • The documents have been posted as received. The designations employed do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or of its authorities.