October and April are San Francisco’s earthquake months. Of course, we don’t know when the next one will hit, but the last three major Bay Area quakes were in April 1906, October 1868, and October 1989. So October is a good time to remember that we live with earthquakes and need to prepare for them.
After the 1989 earthquake, the San Francisco Fire Department realized that preparation for the next earthquake (or other catastrophic event) has to include the training of citizen volunteers. Thus the San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) was born.
Since 1989, the S.F. Fire Department has trained thousands of NERT volunteers to assist in disaster response by knowing how to provide basic assistance to themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods when the next major disaster strikes our city. To maintain their readiness, NERT members participate in citywide drills each April and October. This year, on Oct. 20, neighborhood NERT teams will set up staging areas at several locations throughout the city and conduct a drill from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. to practice and sharpen the skills they learned when they took their initial NERT training. Participating teams will focus on triage, cribbing, damage assessment, and fire extinguisher operation, to name a few. All NERT volunteers are invited and urged to participate in this drill.
More information about the NERT program, including locations for the Oct. 20 citywide drills and schedules for upcoming free NERT training classes, is available online at www.sf-fire.org/index.aspx?page=859.