FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 9, 2023
San Francisco Joint Information Center
San Francisco Prepares for Extreme Weather
City Activates Emergency Operation Center to Coordinate Storm Response
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) has elevated the activation level of the San Francisco Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate the City’s response to another round of stormy weather while urging residents and businesses to take necessary precautions to prepare their homes and property for extreme weather.
Since late last year, San Francisco has experienced unprecedented weather that caused flooding, power outages, and down trees impacting residents and businesses across the City. In preparation for the forecasted inclement weather expected to affect San Francisco and the region, DEM has activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate citywide operations, to include clearing storm drains, distributing sandbags, responding to fallen trees, and keeping San Franciscans informed about what actions they should take in preparation and through the storms.
Residents are asked to keep 9-1-1 available for police, fire, and medical emergencies that impact life and safety, and for downed power lines and gas leaks. Residential or street flooding issues are important; however, if lives are not in danger, these calls and other non-life-threatening storm issues should be reported to 3-1-1.
Residents are asked to report non-life-threatening storm issues to 311, such as:
- Clogged catch basins
- Non-life-threatening street and residential flooding
- Sewer backups or wastewater odors
- Downed trees
Reports may be submitted via the SF311 mobile app, available on iPhone or Android, online at sf311.org, or by calling 3-1-1.3-1-1 is available 24/7 with translation services in more than 200 languages.
City’s Storm Response Agencies Actions:
The City’s EOC is led by (DEM) to support field operations, provide citywide situational awareness, coordinate city resources, and provide public information as necessary. Media representatives should contact the EOC’s Joint Information Center at email@example.com for inquiries about San Francisco’s storm response.
As part of the City’s storm preparedness and response, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and San Francisco Public Works are clearing storm drains, monitoring low-lying areas, addressing service requests, and providing sandbags for San Francisco residents and businesses whose properties are prone to flooding during heavy rains.
While supplies last, Public Works will distribute up to 10 free sandbags per property; however, residents and businesses are asked to save sandbags for properties most prone to flooding. Sandbags are available at the Public Works OperationsYard at 2323 Cesar Chavez St. (enter at Kansas Street/Marin Street gate). sfpublicworks.org/sandbags
During the storm, the SFPUC and Public Works will have maintenance crews on duty, including arborists, gardeners and general laborers to address downed trees and limbs during storm days. Additionally, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will have staff responding to hazardous trees and flooding in public parks, including arborists, park rangers, heavy equipment operators, plumbers, and gardeners. Stern Grove and grass sports fields will remain closed due to heavy winds and rain. Park-goers should be mindful that wind can topple even healthy trees and limbs during a storm.
San Francisco residents are also supporting citywide efforts through the SFPUC’s volunteer-driven Adopt-a-Drain Program. To date, nearly 6,441 storm drains were adopted by more than 4,538 volunteers that help keep the drains clear of leaves, debris, and trash that could otherwise clog the system. Through this year-round work, volunteers help ensure stormwater can drain properly and reduce the risk of flooding, protect the environment by minimizing pollutants and trash from entering the wastewater system, and keep the City’s streets clean. Residents can learn more and sign up by visiting adoptadrain.sfwater.org. SFPUC encourages residents and businesses to take advantage of resources to get rain ready: purchase flood insurance, apply for the SFPUC’s Floodwater Grant Program that reimburses eligible property owners for 100 percent of eligible costs (capped at $100,000) for implementing projects that help minimize the risk of flooding.
In advance of the storm, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) has made additional shelter beds available at:
- MSC South (525 5th Street)
- Next Door (1001 Polk Street)
- Sanctuary (201 8th Street)
These beds can be accessed by walking-up on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 4pm daily. San Francisco’s Interfaith Winter Shelter Program is active and provides additional shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness during the winter months. The Interfaith Program is currently located at Canon Kip Senior Center (705 Natoma Street) and can be accessed by walking-up on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 6pm daily. For more information please visit: hsh.sfgov.org/services/how-to-get-services/accessing-temporary-shelter
San Francisco’s street response teams including the Homeless Outreach Team, Healthy Streets Operations Center, and Street Crisis Response Teams are also conducting wellness checks, offering available shelter, distributing appropriate resources, and providing information about how and where to access walk-up shelter resources.
The upcoming storm has the potential to impact transportation, utilities and cause localized flooding. As the City prepares, there are practical things residents, businesses and visitors can do to stay safe before, during, and after the storm:
Before the Storm
- Sign up for AlertSF by texting your Zip Code to 888-777 to receive real-time emergency alerts.
- Check your supplies and make sure you have what you need on hand: sf72.org/supplies.
- Check on friends and family who may need assistance preparing for the storm, especially the elderly, homebound, or neighbors with disabilities.
- Remove debris and sweep up any leaves from sidewalks and storm drains to keep them from getting clogged. Join San Francisco’s Adopt a Drain and Rain Guardians programs to “adopt” one of the 25,000 storm drains (or catch basins) or rain gardens in our beautiful City and pledge to keep it free of debris and help minimize risk of flooding.
- If you live in an area that floods, Public Works will provide San Francisco residents and businesses up to 10 free sandbags leading up to and during severe rainstorms. Sandbags can be retrieved daily between8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Public Works operations yard, Marin Street/Kansas Street gate. Hours may be extended during severe storms. Check sfpublicworks.org/sandbags for the most up-to-date information. Bring proof of address. Sandbags also are sold at many local hardware and home improvement stores.
- Elevate business inventory or personal belongings in garages or basements.
During the Storm
- Keep 9-1-1 available for life and safety emergencies. Report non-life-threatening storm-related issues such as clogged catch basins, residential or street flooding, sewer backups, or wastewater odors to 311 online at sf311.org, on the 311 mobile app for Android and iPhone, or by calling 3-1-1.
- Avoid driving during heavy rains and winds. If you have to be out, then stay away from flooded areas and downed power lines, whether in a car or on foot. Do not drive through water more than 6 inches deep.
- If the power goes out, unplug and turn off appliances. Leave one light on to signal when power is restored. Report power outages directly to PG&E.
- Avoid using candles during power outages to prevent fire hazards. Use flashlights or headlamps instead.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Stay informed: tune-in to KCBS (740 AM or 106.9 FM), local TV channels, or social media (@sf_emergency; @MySFPUC; @sfpublicworks; @sf_dph) for emergency advisories and instructions.
- Check on friends and family who may need assistance during the storm, especially the elderly, homebound, or neighbors with disabilities.
After the Storm
- Check your home or business for flood damage and contact your insurer or landlord. Information about how to file a claim for injury, property damage or loss caused by the City and County of San Francisco can be found at sfcityattorney.org/claims or by calling (415) 554-3900. Claims filed will be investigated and evaluated by the City Attorney’s Office Claims Division.
- If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, call 9-1-1. Then call PG&E at (800) 743-5000.
- Keep children and pets away from floodwaters and avoid outdoor areas that have been recently flooded. Remove shoes and wipe paws before returning indoors.
- If the power is off, throw away all discolored or foul-smelling food, especially meat, poultry, and fish in the refrigerator. Freezer foods may last from 48 to 72 hours if the freezer is full, and the door remains closed. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Continue reporting clogged catch basins, street flooding, sewer backups or wastewater odors to 311 online at sf311.org, on the 311 mobile app for Android and iPhone, or by calling 3-1-1.
- Check on friends and family who may need assistance after the storm, especially the elderly, homebound, or neighbors with disabilities.
For updated forecasts, visit the National Weather Service.