PROGRAMS   BayPrep  
Recent events such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami, and the trend towards global warming have prompted a renewed focus on disaster preparedness in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region that is highly vulnerable to natural hazards. Even with the best efforts of government, the next big earthquake will leave much of the population in need of basic services like food, water and shelter, and without immediate government assistance. Fritz Institute research has shown that the most vulnerable populations of our community - the sick, the elderly, and the poor - become even more at-risk when their lives and communities are disrupted by disaster. For these people, community-based human service and faith-based organizations (CBOs) regularly provide critical assistance and are a vital safety net under ordinary circumstances. In disasters, these community-based organizations become a lifeline to survival, often the only source of support available.
Fritz Institute's BayPrep (formerly the Bay Area Preparedness Initiative) seeks to improve disaster preparedness in the San Francisco Bay Area and ensure that vulnerable communities have been taken into account in disaster planning. Drawing on lessons learned from our global research on disaster relief effectiveness and our collaborations with international aid organizations and the private sector around the world, BayPrep will have three key elements, each meant to synergistically address existing gaps in preparedness and advance the ability of the Bay Area to withstand and recover from a major disaster. These include:
  • Assessing and establishing baselines of preparedness for community- and faith-based organizations, who will be called upon to serve the most vulnerable when disaster strikes
  • Developing a cross-sector 'community of practice' to facilitate collaboration, dissemination of lessons learned, and innovative partnerships and solutions among emergency practitioners from the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors
  • The development of objective, third-party standards of preparedness for a limited set of indicators that are the easiest and least expensive to achieve, but have the greatest associated benefits

It is our hope that BayPrep will serve as a national model for how the nonprofit and faith-based sector can more effectively partner with uniformed first responders and the city and state infrastructures in serving local citizens in disaster situations.

BayPrep is a multi-year program supported by a lead grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, with additional funding from The San Francisco Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
In partnership with CaliforniaVolunteers, Fritz Institute hosted a two day discussion around disaster preparedness standards and continuity of operations planning tools for community- and faith-based direct service providers (hereafter CBOs). On February 13, 2009, more than eighty cross-sector stakeholder representatives convened at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco to review and comment upon generally accepted elements of preparedness standards and a suggested continuity of operations planning template. Participants included representatives from local CBO, non-profit agencies that provide support to CBOs (American Red Cross, United Way, SF CARD, etc.), state-wide philanthropy, private sector consultants, and local, state, and Federal government.

Participants were asked to explore the applicability of the suggested preparedness standard elements and continuity of operations planning template in building the post-disaster service and recovery capacity of CBOs. The results of the dialogue will be used by the BayPrep team in the continued development of an achievable and effective CBO Disaster Preparedness Standard. Specific comments about the elements and the standards-based approach were varied. Even so, general agreement was reached that the standards and planning template development efforts should continue and that a preparedness standard coupled with cross-sector recognition, acceptance, and support would be beneficial to CBO preparedness efforts.

To download the Workshop Proceedings and Presentations: please click here
Assessing the Disaster Readiness of Community-Based Organizations
Disasters often stretch community-based and faith-based organizations beyond the limits of their capacity to provide critical information and services to those in need. It is vital that these critical assets of the community be nurtured and strengthened to respond in disasters. However, despite 50 years of social science research about disasters, there is very little information about the readiness and capacity of these organizations. Neither is there an evidence base that would provide a roadmap to effectively building their disaster response and recovery capacity.

In June 2007, as a first step towards addressing this gap, Fritz Institute will launch a major research study on the disaster response capacity of community-based and faith-based organizations in San Francisco. The research will be led by Professor Kathleen Tierney, Ph.D., director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. Dr. Tierney is one of the nation's foremost experts on the social science aspects of hazards preparedness.

By performing in-depth interviews with the leaders of community and faith-based organizations in San Francisco, we hope to have the nation's first study on the resilience of CBOs. It is anticipated that this research will lead to recommendations to government and philanthropic leaders about how to strengthen the disaster response capacity of this invaluable group of civilian first responders.
"Assessing Disaster Preparedness" Conference
On November 4, 2006, Fritz Institute hosted the Assessing Disaster Preparedness conference at the Quail Hill Conference Center at Lynmar Winery in Sebastopol, California. The conference brought together key stakeholders across different sectors to engage in an open dialogue about the level of preparedness in the Bay Area and the community's ability to respond to a major natural hazard such as an earthquake. Conference participants included the CA Office of Emergency Services (OES) represented at the state, region and local levels; heads of non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way; corporate executives, renowned academics in the field of natural hazards research, and the heads of leading philanthropic organizations. In addition, representatives from various national disaster preparedness organizations and emergency preparedness accreditation organizations were in attendance. For more information on the Assessing Disaster Preparedness conference please click here.

The conference ended with a unanimous resolution to make the Bay Area a national leader in disaster preparedness with evidence to demonstrate this preparedness. The group recorded its intention in 'The Lynmar Compact', which outlined a collaborative cross-sector, grass-roots approach to disaster preparedness, and requested Fritz Institute to take the leadership role in its execution. Fritz Institute's BayPrep is the result of this mandate.

Frameworks for Disaster Preparedness Assessment
On November 3rd, 2006, several of the nation’s top academics and practitioners met with Fritz Institute and spoke to the literature on measures and metrics of disaster preparedness. These reviews were provided to each of the participants at the Disaster Preparedness Conference.
A Fritz Institute study found that 26% percent of those who did not evacuate before Hurricane Katrina had to wait at least one week for outside assistance, and of those, 43% were people with disabilities.
We' re proud to be partnering with Fritz Institute in this initiative to bring together the philanthropic, non-profit and private sectors to enhance disaster preparedness. The project will provide valuable insight into the disaster response capacity of our local non-profit and faith-based organizations. It will also lead to a roadmap that can serve as a model for other cities across the nation.

  –Gavin Newsom
   City of San Francisco
Bay Area Preparedness Initiative
Press Conference, April 2007
(Left to Right): Julian Potter, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom; Steve Leventhal, Former Director, External Relations, Fritz Institute; Harold Brooks, CEO, American Red Cross Bay Area; Lynn Fritz, Chairman, Fritz Institute; Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco; Ophelia Basgal, Vice President of Civic Partnership and Community Initiatives, Pacific Gas & Electric; Sandra Hernandez, CEO, San Francisco Foundation; Anisya Thomas, Board Member, Fritz Institute

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