If there is one thing that’s guaranteed, it’s that a disaster can happen at a moment’s notice. The 3.5 magnitude earthquake that shook the Bay Area on October 5 was a reminder to be ready for the unexpected.
That is why all employees with the City and County of San Francisco are designated by both State and City law as Disaster Service Workers (DSW). All City and County of San Francisco employees serve as DSWs and have the responsibility to respond in any disaster or emergency impacting the San Francisco Bay Area region. The City’s highest priority is ensuring the safety of the community and employees.
For the SFPUC, in the event of a major disaster, all DSWs should first prioritize making sure their families are safe. After this, for all employees who are able to serve as DSWs, the SFPUC requires that they call into a designated telephone line to receive instructions regarding transportation details. This includes whom to call for reporting and how to access in-City reporting sites if employees are outside of the San Francisco region. While the Department of Management will activate their Emergency Operations Center, a multi-agency hub designed to manage emergencies, the SFPUC will simultaneously activate its Department Operations Center to assist in the mobilization of DSW duties and roles which can be fulfilled.
SFPUC employees serving as a DSW may perform general duties such as clerical support, damage assessment, driving, food preparation, sorting, packing, or loading. Some employees may have more specialized duties, depending on the work they do every day, or have additional skills, such as speaking a different language, possess a commercial driver’s license, or have completed CPR training.
Although the SFPUC last activated its DSWs was during the Rim Fire in 2013 – 2014, the SFPUC still continues to train its employees and partner with other agencies and utilities to be prepared. After all, the next quake may be the big one and happen anytime.