Oral Testimony at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Land Use Planning Committee
Statement in Support of Rebuilding CPMC
Thank you, Members of the Board of Supervisors, for this opportunity to speak in support of rebuilding CPMC’s hospitals on Cathedral Hill and at St Luke’s. My name is Chris Poland. I am a Structural Engineer, Chairman of Degenkolb Engineers in San Francisco, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a member of the Board of the SPUR and co-chair of SPUR Resilient City Initiative.
We know that a major earthquake will occur in California sometime in the next 30 years. If it happens this afternoon, near San Francisco, we are expecting heavy damage to our city, casualties in the thousands, injuries in the tens of thousands and a very slow recovery.
Our recovery depends on San Francisco being disaster-resilient. We must have credible disaster response plans that assure the ability to govern and support quick recovery. Each of us needs to understand what has happened and work together to shelter-in-place. Our power, water, communication networks and hospitals must begin operating shortly after the disaster, and within weeks people need to be living normally.
I am pleased to say that San Francisco is on a deliberate path to becoming a seismically resilient city. The Mayor's Resilient SF initiative and Earthquake Safety Improvement Program are working to establish and implement programs that will assure a quick recovery.
A seismically resilient San Francisco needs its hospitals to be fully operational after a major earthquake. Unfortunately, most of our hospitals were built prior to the mid 80's and most will not be usable. As you know, a major earthquake today would leave San Francisco with precious few beds to serve the injured. These CPMC replacement hospitals on Cathedral Hill and at St Luke’s will significantly change that picture, but they must be completed along with the needed retrofit of our lifelines, and residential buildings.
When the next major earthquake occurs, San Franciscan’s want and deserve to have modern earthquake safe hospitals that they can turn to for help. The time has come to approve this plan and all the benefits it will bring to our city.