Supervisors honor memory
of Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Legislation on future emergency preparedness introduced
By Aldrich M. Tan
April 18, 2006
The Board of Supervisors honored the memory of the Great Earthquake
that hit San Francisco in 1906. Several agenda items at Tuesday's
meeting were earthquake-related, including discussions on how
to prepare for the next Big One.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi made a legislative request to the City
Attorney to create an incentive program to help local households
prepare for disaster.
"The 1906 earthquake was a deadly disaster," Mirkarimi
said, "but I'm still worried that San Franciscan households
are not prepared for another 7.9 magnitude earthquake."
The legislation is a modest reward system that encourages local
households to complete an emergency preparedness training course,
prepare an earthquake preparedness kit and establish a community
disaster preparedness plan.
The city would solicit Homeland Security grants to fund the program,
A community disaster preparedness plan is already in the works
in Mirkarimi's district. The Board of Supervisors recognized Richard
Shadoian and Cheryl Brodie for their efforts to develop SF5Together,
a neighborhood specific disaster plan for District 5.
"The Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 warned us to learn how
to be self-sufficient for 72 hours," Brodie said, "but
we've had a sobering opportunity to witness through Hurricane
Katrina what it truly is to be on one's own without the infrastructure
of the city to aid us for longer than 72 hours."
The Board adjourned their Tuesday meeting in honor of the lives
lost during the 1906 earthquake, a number that is still debatable.
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier introduced a resolution to amend
the 1906 earthquake's current death toll which the Board passed
in February 2004. In 1907, the Board of Supervisors established
the death toll of the earthquake and subsequent fire on April
18, 1906 at 478.
Gladys Hansen, the founder of the City Archives at the Public
Library, has compiled a list of more than 3,400 fatalities. The
numbers include victims from Chinatown shot by authorities as
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, on behalf of Alioto-Pier, announced
at Tuesday's meeting that the actual death toll may have been
as high as 5,000.
"The research is still a work in progress and we'll have
more information at a later time," Elsbernd said.