Centennial Commemoration of the Big One Begins
Walgreen's makes stocking home emergency kits easier
City disaster preparedness chief Annemarie Conroy joins Mayor
at Richmond District Walgreen's for unveiling of in-store emergency
and products. Walgreen's District Manager Dave Devencenzi seen
By Pat Murphy
April 1, 2006
This April begins as the month of the San
Francisco Great Quake Centennial with private and public sectors
geared up for exhibitions, commemoration, and do it now preparation
for the next Big One.
Both sectors closed ranks Friday to make it easier for residents
to stock home Emergency Preparedness Kits at a nearby Walgreen's.
Shoppers now are greeted at all 180 Northern California Walgreen's
Stores with an in-store display of a "Disaster Supply Shopping
List" and listed items for purchase.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Office of Emergency Services
(OES) director Annemarie Conroy were on hand at the Ninth and
Clement Streets Walgreen's to praise the joint effort.
"Walgreen's, thank you for this partnership," offered
"I think it is incredibly important for everybody to take
it upon themselves to... make sure they are prepared for a catastrophic
"I would challenge other businesses - if you think you've
got a good idea for your businesses and it's going to help the
City and its taxpayers - we're ready to do a partnership.
"But, you know what, it took Walgreen's to step up."
Walgreen's Western District Manager Dave Devencenzi recalled
past community service during catastrophes.
"For Walgreen's, being part of the community is really nothing
new," Devencenzi stated.
"Especially in the earthquake of 1989 and being on there
in the front lines in the battle against AIDS for the past 20
"A recent example is our response in New Orleans with Katrina.
"We donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in health products
and a lot of items to help with the cleanup afterwards.
"We gave away $9 million worth of prescriptions to people
in the area who did not have any means to pay us for those prescriptions.
"We also raised more than $2 million for the American Red
Cross and our employees also responded in a very amazing way.
"The company rent 50 RVs and drove them down to New Orleans
for employees who didn't have any place to live.
"We also asked our employees throughout the country to travel
to the New Orleans area to help provide quality medical service
Newsom announced home emergency kits will be provided to low-income
San Franciscans through private and City funding.
"The areas where we are weakest in disseminating information
are in the low-income areas of San Francisco.
"They don't have enough money to put any of these kits together
and we've got to make sure that we provide those resources so
that those people have those emergency kits in their homes.
"What we're doing through the good work of Annemarie Conroy
is raising money privately, as well as subsidizing dollars publicly,
to make sure that we're providing emergency ready kits in low-income
Conroy called for citizens to join the partnership.
"The citizens of San Francisco need to be our partners,"
"They need to be prepared. They need to take responsibility
for being prepared, for being on their own for a minimum of three
"It's very simple. The 72hours.org
website has made it easy with the shopping list. You can get on
that website and really learn everything you need to know - the
essentials - for being prepared after a major event."
The website has received more than 250,000 hits, Newsom pointed
out. Multi-language brochures of website content may be ordered
by calling (415) 558-2700, Conroy added.
Newsom instructs the Sentinel to keep questions on-topic.
(SENTINEL EXCLUSIVE: Newsom buys his hair gel at Walgreen's
but declines to name brand.)
Some OES budget funds have not yet been spent due to their allocation
to other agencies from OES, and allocation for scheduled events
and training in the future, continued Conroy.
"Golden Guardian, which is set in November, is a example
of that. San Francisco will be the host city of Golden Guardian
who that will be a significant full-scale exercise which is very
"These dollars are allocated to major departments so it
is their allocation. They're looking at training. They're looking
"Another example is hazardous materials fire trucks. It
takes a long time to spec it out. The bidding process takes a
long time. Everyone in the country is ordering them so they are
"San Francisco has received $83 million total in allocation
of Homeland Security dollars.
"For 2005, $11 million was placed on reserve -- $5 million
was taken off of reserve this week."
Emergency pet shelters and pet care concerned one Richmond District
Nearby resident Daneen Akres is concerned for pets during an emergency
"I'm so glad you asked that," responded Conroy.
"It's a big issue. People will not evacuate if they cannot
take their pets.
"In all of the site studies that are being done to shelter
50,000 San Franciscans in an emergency we're looking at kennels
that would be next door. We also encourage people to have their
For more detail on emergency planning for pets, click
San Francisco Rising website