To better prepare for a catastrophic earthquake, the city of San Francisco participated in the Golden Guardian statewide exercise on Wednesday, May 15.

The exercise helped the city and outside organizations practice carrying out preparedness policies  and recovery activities to fine tune responses in the event of an actual disaster. During the exercise, the partnership of agencies utilized social media and other technology to communicate with the public like they would during an emergency.

Francis Zamora, the public information officer for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management said two social media outlets were used during the drill to provide updates: SFDEM on Facebook, and @SF_emergency and @em4sf on Twitter. The first of the two Twitter handles, which has nearly 60,000 followers, is used for sending out both urgent and non-urgent messages.

“It’s great that we can push messages out to different people, but not everybody’s on social media and so we use [more traditional] tools to do that,” Zamora said.

The department also publishes emergency preparedness information on, providing tips to many different segments of the population, including seniors and the disabled, parents and pet owners.

For the full story on the Golden Guardian earthquake preparedness exercise in San Francisco, go to the Emergency Management website.

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and outside agencies work together in the Emergency Operations Center during the Golden Guardian statewide earthquake preparedness exercise. Photo courtesy of Paul Williams.

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.