“It all began with a call,” said Oscar Miron. “And from there, it’s become my full time job.”
Since San Francisco activated its emergency operations center (EOC) earlier this year, Miron, SFPUC Emergency Planning and Operations Lead, has been a part of the City’s response to COVID-19. As part of the SFPUC’s emergency planning and security team, Miron normally assists with the agency’s emergency response and management, security access control, helping to keep employees safe, and leading the floor warden program, which includes coordinating fire and earthquake drills.
Miron was initially activated as a disaster service worker (DSW) to support the EOC’s Logistics Team, supporting the operations and community branch for two and a half weeks. In that role, he was tasked to help provide guidance to education partners on how to respond to the pandemic. This was early on during the pandemic where cases were still not yet reported in San Francisco. When the SFPUC activated its department operations center (DOC), Miron returned to home base to lead the Logistics team as more SFPUC employees were called to serve as DSWs in various roles at the EOC and resources were requested to support the City’s overall response.
Recently, Miron helped coordinate the logistics of setting up emergency drinking water stations, also referred to as “manifolds,” in the Tenderloin neighborhood. As the weather became a little warmer, the SFPUC knew it was important to help serve its neighbors, some of which were considered the most vulnerable in the City. With assistance from the SFPUC’s City Distribution Division (also commonly referred to as ‘the Water Department’), Miron and his colleagues sprung into action.
“It’s so important to provide basic needs, such as safe drinking water, to our most vulnerable communities,” said Miron. “What this pandemic has shown us are equity issues that San Francisco and the Bay Area is experiencing. Our most vulnerable most often do not have access to food, shelter, safe drinking water, medical assistance. This was something that the SFPUC can do for neighbors and our City.”
Even though much of his work is behind the scenes supporting the City’s response to COVID-19, Miron shared that his family has been impacted. “Two of my cousins contracted COVID-19. Luckily, they are okay are getting better,” he said. “It’s a scary time out there.”
Miron said in his experience throughout this pandemic, he has seen humanity rise up. “Humanity does care for people who are more disadvantaged and underserved, those that do have as much,” he shared. “This pandemic is a stark reminder that life is fragile. Things may not directly affect us initially, but it will eventually if we do not take care of the most vulnerable. Providing safe drinking water is the least we can do to support out City’s response and recovery.”