San Francisco mayor shares disaster preparedness lessons
San Francisco’s sister city. He pays a courtesy call to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and shares his city’s lessons on disaster preparedness

MANILA, Philipiines – San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee visits Manila — San Francisco’s sister city.
He pays a courtesy call to Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and shares his city’s lessons on disaster preparedness.
Ryan Macasero reports.


Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada welcomes the mayor of his sister city, San Francisco, with a song.
This is San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee’s first trip to the Philippines since he became mayor in 2012.
Lee is the first Asian American elected mayor of the city.
He led the sister city delegation of government officials, businessmen and community leaders.
The region is home to at least 450,000 Filipino Americans.
But this visit was more than just a courtesy call.

EDWIN LEE, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we saw images of people of the Philippines coming together to help each other. This inspired many people in the San Francisco Bay Area to give back. Through the SF Gives Back program in the days following the days of the tragic tsunami, we encouraged our communities to help communities recover from natural disaster. We are certainly no strangers to natural disasters.

San Francisco sits along an active fault zone and is prone to earthquakes.
The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake injured over 3,000 people, killed 57 and caused billions in economic damage.
The most important tip from San Francisco? Be prepared.

ROB DUDGEON, EMERGENCY SERVICES DIRECTOR: A lot of people will tend to but that (emergencies) in the background noise. Eh, it’s gonna happen, there’s not much we can do about it, but we believe there is. How we motivate people to change their behavior is more important than what we tell them.

Dudgeon says people prioritize their immediate needs over preparedness.
And that’s what needs to change.
The city recruited social scientists and communication experts to change that culture.
The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management uses text messages, emails, Facebook and Twitter to deliver important life-saving messages to residents

FRANCIS ZAMORA, SF EMERGENCY SERVICES SPOKESMAN: We want to have messages that are very simple, plainspeak, and people can understand.
During an emergency people want to know what’s going on, what we are going to do about it and what is going to happen next. It’s the what, so what, and now what?

LEE: It is a different mindset when you build the confident and public’s confidence that you can manage disaster, manage its recovery quicker if you plan for it and identify what things you do.

Disaster preparedness is not just about the government.
It is about the people – and people are best prepared when all sectors work together.
Ryan Macasero, Rappler, Manila.


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