San Francisco Not Prepared for Disaster
San Francisco's emergency medical operations would "fail catastrophically" in as little as 30 minutes after a large earthquake or other disaster, according to a grand jury report to be released on Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The county civil grand jury has been investigating disaster preparedness at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Office of Emergency Services. The report finds that:
- San Francisco General Hospital -- the city's only major trauma center -- repeatedly diverts patients needing medical care because of staffing and capacity issues and is not large enough to handle patient demand during an emergency;
- No hospitals in San Francisco have helicopter landing sites;
- None of the city's 29 designated contingency landing sites for helicopters has been tested; and
- 62% of hospitals in San Francisco are at risk of collapse in the event of a major earthquake.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday issued an executive order to improve emergency preparedness, which includes 12 items the health department and other departments should follow to maintain medical operations during an emergency.
The order requires the health department to appoint a person to oversee the city's emergency medical response services in the event of a disaster. Newsom's plan also requires OES to include hospitals and health care providers in the creation of emergency plans and in emergency training and drills (Goodyear/Vega, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/26).