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The Bay Area Earthquake Safety Guide, It’s Important!

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Earthquake Safety Guide Design by SF Artist Brian Singer

Do you know what to do when a massive earthquake happens?  Do you want to know how to prepare yourself, your loved ones, your neighbors? Good!  The Earthquake Safety Project is aiming at educating everyone in the Bay Area.  Bellow, you’ll find a digital version of the Earthquake Safety Guide, but everyone should have a physical, paper version in their home, because after an earthquake there may not be power or internet connectivity, and this information could save many, many lives.

On April 18th 1906, a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco, this along with the resulting fire decimated much of the city.

This April 18th, the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, safety guides started arriving in the mailboxes of 54,000 San Francisco households (roughly 15% of SF households). The bilingual guides (available in English/Chinese and English/Spanish versions) were sent to homes primarily in districts 10 and 11, including parts of the Bayview, Portola, Visitation Valley, and Excelsior neighborhoods.  The initiative, “BasicSafety.Net,” aims to put free earthquake safety guides into every household in San Francisco, and eventually the entire region.

Every home in the Bay Area Should have an Earthquake Safety Guide.

The guides are designed to address a gap in our disaster preparedness. “After participating in a local design challenge, I observed there’s a ton of disaster preparedness information available online, but what are you going to do if the Internet is down?” said Brian Singer, creator of the initiative. “In a region overflowing with technology, analog solutions have been overlooked. The hope is that residents will keep the guide in their kitchen drawer for use after a disaster.” Singer created the guides based on safety information available from experts such as NERT, Red Cross, and San Francisco Department of Emergency Services.

With a 72 percent likelihood of one or more magnitude 6.7 earthquakes hitting the San Francisco Bay region in the next 25 years (Earthquake Outlook for the San Francisco Bay Region 2014-2043), Singer is eager to arm residents with important information. The guides include all the basics you’d expect, but also items such as how to purify water without electricity, and how, but more importantly when, to shut off utilities.  Fires, caused by broken gas pipes and valves can often be far more damaging than the quakes themselves.  In 1906 the fire resulting from the earthquake claimed more lives and caused more damage than the earthquake itself.



The initial mailing of 54,000 guides was funded by a grant from Sappi Ideas that Matter and crowdfunding. Singer is seeking support to reach the roughly 300,000 remaining households. “It might seem like a lot, but compared to the cost of damage from one fire, or the loss of just one life, it’s a worthwhile investment,” Singer notes.

The distribution to next 300,000 remaining households’ or to “ALL SF HOUSEHOLDS’ for the purpose of public safety is really important because panicked, clueless and powerless is not how we want our neighbors to be when the next big earthquake hits.  The project is looking for funding, so maybe your company wants to help?  Maybe your local supervisor has some ideas?  Contact if you think you can help. 


For the residents that are prepared and have a plan, Singer states, “That’s awesome, thank you, but is your neighbor? Because fire travels real fast. The idea is to elevate the preparedness of neighborhoods as a whole.”


About Brian Singer: Singer is a San Francisco based artist and designer, with a habit of tackling social issues. He’s created global art experiments, like The 1000 Journals Project, taken innovative approaches to dealing with distracted driving, and created provocative street art about the homelessness issue. You can check out his latest projects and art at

Read our interview with Singer here:  Art That Aims at Awareness

Contact to support getting this vital information in ALL Bay Area households. 

& Text your zip code to 888-777 to sign up for emergency text alerts from AlertSF.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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