firefighting

Press Release: State of Urgency to Expand Firefighting Water System Passes Committee

Supervisor Gordon Mar’s State of Urgency resolution to expand Emergency Firefighting Water System (EFWS) across San Francisco earns unanimous committee support.

Legislation to protect neighborhoods from fire will now move on to the full Board of Supervisors for approval.

At Friday’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee meeting, Supervisor Gordon Mar’s resolution declaring a State of Urgency to rapidly expand the City’s EFWS  to protect all neighborhoods in the event of a major earthquake and fire received unanimous support.

“We know the next big earthquake is coming, and when it does, we must be ready to protect every single neighborhood in San Francisco,” said Mar. “Existing efforts are not enough, and it will take all of us working together to ensure we’re prepared to respond to emergencies.”

The City’s EFWS was first created following the 1906 earthquake, and includes 135 miles of high pressure pipelines and two salt-water pumping stations. The network of high pressure water pipelines primarily covers just the northeastern part of the city, and one-third of the City is not protected. Most of the City’s residential neighborhoods on the westside and in the southeast, including the Richmond and Sunset districts, Oceanview-Merced Ingleside Heights, Bayview Hunter’s Point and Visitacion Valley, remain unprotected by the City’s high pressure firefighting water system and are vulnerable to widespread fires, loss of life and property destruction following a major earthquake.

The USGS estimates there is a 72% likelihood of a major earthquake striking the Bay Area before 2043. The USGS also warns that the pace of large earthquakes is likely to increase due to geological reasons.

Mar’s resolution additionally urges the City to create a comprehensive action plan to:

  • Expand the Emergency Firefighting Water System’s high pressure water pipelines dedicated for firefighting to all unprotected neighborhoods within 15 years;

  • Increase the number of Fire Department portable hose tenders, apparatus, and equipment to provide comprehensive interim protections;

  • Strengthen public oversight and accountability by requiring an annual report to be presented to the Board of Supervisors on the status of the Emergency Firefighting Water System’s preparedness for a major earthquake and fire.

Mar previously led the Board of Supervisors response to Civil Grand Jury findings and recommendations to expand the City’s EFWS, following the release of their report entitled Act Now Before It Is Too Late: Aggressively Expand and Enhance Our High-Pressure Emergency Firefighting Water System.

Mar’s resolution is aligned with and expands upon the Civil Grand Jury’s recommendations to ensure the City is protected in the event of a major earthquake and fire. It is co-sponsored by Board President Norman Yee, and Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Ahsha Safai.

With unanimous committee support secured, the legislation will now move on to a vote at the full Board of Supervisors for approval.

 

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