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Tell Mayor and Supervisors that NERT Should Receive Budget Priority

With all the depressing and fear-mongering news about the economy and the realities of friends, families, or maybe even ourselves losing jobs, I hate to bring up another bummer topic … BUT, it needs to be kept in mind by our Mayor and Supervisors when preparing the FY 2009-2010 budget for the City and County of San Francisco.

Images from the days following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were jarring for multiple reasons, but they also reminded those of us living in earthquake country that being prepared for a disaster is key to mitigating the trauma and number of deaths following the event.   While we have wonderful online information resources like www.72hours.org and www.ready.gov , the best training and education is provided to residents by the San Francisco Fire Department via the Neighorhood Emergency Response Team free training workshops that provides hands-on practice followed up by annual practice drills (usually in April and October).  While we can debate whether or not the symphony and opera should receive money from the City, I don’t believe there should be any debate about the importance of preparing San Francisco residents for the next big earthquake.  Please let our Mayor and Supervisors know that they should fully fund the San Francisco Fire Department’s NERT program and why you believe this is so…

A SFFD-NERT Fiscal Year 2009-2010 budget update follows.  We are asking neighbors to support NERT and its continued funding, at or near the amount proposed by the Fire Department, by contacting the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor now. 

The San Francisco Fire Department has submitted its proposed Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget and has recommended $479,496 for NERT, a $28,034 increase over FY2009.  This is wonderful news, but it is a proposal that we know will face scrutiny before the budget is finalized.
The city’s fiscal situation is worse than the Mayor projected when he asked all departments to cut 12 1/2 percent from their 2010 Fiscal Year budget.  The Mayor will ask for an additional 12 1/2 % in cuts – bringing the total to 25% for the coming year — and will probably seek even deeper cuts if the economy doesn’t improve.  [See http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/detail?&entry_id=36252]
For the Fire Department, a 25% cut is approximately $6.3 Million.  With such deep cuts, it is likely that the Fire Department will have to consider reductions in service such as browning out fire stations as well as looking into every possibility for reducing operating costs. [See http://www.saveourfirehouses.com/about.html]
The NERT budget may not represent a significant amount in terms of the overall budget or the total in cuts.  However, with such drastic measures facing the city, all savings must be considered. 
Take Action

Please write, e-mail, or call the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor.  Tell them why NERT is important to you and why it should be funded as proposed.  You may also include your support for the Fire Department’s proposed budget overall.
It is important that you tell your own story about why NERT matters to you.  We have listed below some key messages about NERT that you can use as well.  Please remember that when we advocate for NERT and for the Fire Department, we represent NERT.  Be professional and polite in your advocacy.

More Talking Points:
NERT Key Messages:
After a severe earthquake or other disaster, our first responders will be overwhelmed.
The more we know about how to take care of ourselves in a disaster, the safer we will be and the quicker we will recover.
The San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team is the only organization in San Francisco that provides free, hands-on training by first responders in how to be self-sufficient after a disaster.
 Since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, NERT has trained over 17,000 citizens to assist the San Francisco Fire Department after a severe earthquake or other major emergency by taking care of themselves, their families, and neighbors.
NERT supports its graduates and neighborhood teams through continuing and advanced training, preparedness events, and team leadership development.
NERT training provides preparedness skills to people of all ages and physical conditions.
Training is available in many locations throughout the year.  More information on upcoming training can be found on the NERT website, www.sfgov.org/sfnert.
About NERT
The San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) is a disaster preparedness organization sponsored by the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD).
NERT offers free, basic and advanced preparedness training to those who live or work in San Francisco.
NERT also provides an organizing framework for neighborhood teams in the city.
After a disaster, NERT teams survey their neighborhoods, provide information to the SFFD, conduct light search and rescue and medical triage, help transport victims to medical treatment facilities, and assist in directing untrained volunteers.

Mayor Gavin Newsom:
City Hall, Room 200, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160
Email: gavin.newsom@sfgov.org
Board of Supervisors:
Michela Alioto-Pier
District 2
(415) 554-7752 – Voice
(415) 554-7843 – Fax

John Avalos
District 11
(415) 554-6975 – Voice
(415) 554-6979 – Fax

David Campos
District 9
(415) 554-5144 – voice
(415) 554-6255 – fax

David Chiu – Board President
District 3
(415) 554-7450 – Voice
(415) 554-7454 – Fax

Carmen Chu
District 4
(415) 554-7460 – Voice
(415) 554-7432 – Fax

Chris Daly
District 6
(415) 554-7970 – Voice
(415) 554-7974 – Fax

Bevan Dufty
District 8
(415) 554-6968 – Voice
(415) 554-6909 – Fax

Sean Elsbernd
District 7
(415) 554-6516 – Voice
(415) 554-6546 – Fax

Eric Mar
District 1
(415) 554-7410 – Voice
(415) 554-7415 – Fax

Sophie Maxwell
District 10
(415) 554-7670 – Voice
(415) 554-7674 – Fax

Ross Mirkarimi
District 5
(415) 554-7630 – Voice
(415) 554-7634 – Fax

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