letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Board Approves “State of Urgency” Declaration


Good news for San Francisco!  The Board of Supervisors has just unanimously approved on Nov. 19, a resolution declaring that a “State of Urgency” exists because there is no plan to protect the entire city from fires following a major earthquake.

The legislation authored by Supervisor Gordon Mar resolved “That the Board of Supervisors hereby declares a State of Urgency to rapidly expand the City’s Emergency Firefighting Water System (EFWS) to protect all neighborhoods in the event of a major earthquake and fire, given that the vulnerability of the City poses a serious and urgent threat to the well-being of San Francisco and the safety of its inhabitants and environment.”

Supervisor Mar stated  “The current pace is not enough and we must expedite the expansion of this life saving infrastructure across the City.”

His resolution is in response to the July 17, 2019 Civil Grand Jury report that identified large parts of the City, particularly in the western and southern districts, that were not covered by the seismically safe, high-pressure Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS), which provides excellent firefighting protection.

The press release for this CGJ report stated “City leaders have known about this deficiency for decades, but have yet to develop concrete plans or a timeline to provide a robust emergency firefighting water supply for all neighborhoods.”

Now, the Board of Supervisors has responded by urging City departments to develop a comprehensive action plan with funding identified for expanding the multi-sourced EFWS to cover the entire City by June 30, 2034.  The Board also urges the City to provide them with consolidated annual reports beginning on June 30, 2020 on the state of the EFWS preparedness.

Let us hope that the decades’ old deficiency will finally be corrected.

Nancy Wuerfel


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