San Francisco kicked off its Fleet Week celebrations Monday with disaster preparedness exercises designed to ensure The City is ready for a catastrophic event.

More than 2,000 sailors, Marines and members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy are expected to descend upon San Francisco for Fleet Week.

Now in its 36th year, the event pays tribute to maritime forces and has been a major attraction for tourists and Bay Area residents alike.

Monday’s disaster training was held in the Presidio to practice moving emergency supplies to commodity distribution points. In 2010, humanitarian assistance disaster preparedness exercises were incorporated into the celebration.

“A city that is resilient is a city is going to make sure that the people … in the neighborhoods get connected up with our emergency response teams,” Mayor Ed Lee said. “Whether it is the [Department of Emergency Management] or whether it is neighborhood leaders … it really is about people getting to know each other not only by their name but by their operations they’re in charge of.“

The goal is to coordinate Bay Area emergency managers at the local, state and federal levels with Department of Defense through Defense Support of Civil Authorities unit, to strengthen response strategies to, say, a catastrophic earthquake in the Bay Area.

This week’s events also include a veteran art exhibit at The Cannery at 2801 Leavenworth St., various performances by the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Band at multiple locations, as well as tours of several military ships.

A festival at the Marina Green is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Blue Angels will perform on those three days as well, starting at 3 p.m.

The festivities will conclude on Oct. 10 with a High School Band Challenge at the bandshell in Golden Gate Park. The contest will showcase dozens of high school bands and benefit arts programs at local high schools.

For information about the multiple events scheduled this week, visit www.fleetweeksf.org.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Patrick Fitzgerald
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Patrick Fitzgerald

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