Props used to emphasize quake readiness in S.F.

Hoping to shake Bay Area residents out of any complacency regarding emergency preparedness, the local chapter of the American Red Cross is getting creative with its warnings.

Earlier this year, the group parked a 22-foot-wide mobile billboard in front of the Ferry Building — when looking toward the water, viewers saw the historic building in shambles, and when facing Market Street, the billboard depicted a ravaged and buckled Market Street and crumbling high-rises.

On Monday — in the wake of the deadly 8.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Peru on Wednesday — the Red Cross introduced their newest reminder: a 60-foot sticker made to look like an earthquake crack, complete with trapped cars and broken pipes placed down the middle of Union Square.

There is a 62 percent chance that a catastrophic earthquake will hit the Bay Area in the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, said Tom Brocher, a regional coordinator with the federal agency. And only 17 percent of Bay Area residents are truly prepared for an emergency, according to a standard set by the American Red Cross.

The agency’s goal is to have one in four of the Bay Area’s 6 million residents prepared to help themselves and others in the event of an emergency.

“When we say get prepared, we don’t mean just have a flashlight and a first-aid kit,” said Bruce Burtch, director of marketing for the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter. “When we say get prepared, we mean get an emergency kit, get trained and make an evacuation plan.”

Are you ready?

According to the Red Cross, the majority of San Franciscans are not prepared for an emergency.

46% San Francisco residents who say they have prepared an emergency kit (the smallest percentage of the six major Bay Area counties, according to a local Red Cross survey)

66% San Francisco residents who reported they have a “high level of knowledge” of steps to take in an emergency

40% San Francisco residents who say they have prepared an emergency communications plan

– Source: American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter

beslinger@examiner.com


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