In 2008 a group of leaders in the Diamond Heights community came together to explore ways to advance the disaster resilience of their community and took the name The Diamond Heights Disaster Ready Workgroup. While convening at St Aidan’s Church, the group partnered with organizations such as the Red Cross and SF CARD (Community Agencies Responding to Disaster), and designed and implemented a plan that gave them a deeper level of preparedness and capacity to succeed in times of stress.
In the Summer of 2012, the Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN) was invited to present its Advanced Community Disaster Resilience Program (ACDRP), which leverages the most current disaster resilience development data and advances FEMA’s Whole Community Approach. As a result of this orientation, and the acquisition of funding from the CDC Foundation and FEMA, the Diamond Heights Community agreed to move forward with a deployment of ACDRP.
Assemble a Team
In order to advance the overall resilience of the neighborhood, the project team would need to expand the number of participating agencies in order to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive action plan. The partners to date include:
- Program Leads
- Diamond Heights Disaster Ready Workgroup
- St. Aidan’s Church
- Casa de Vida Housing
- Diamond Heights Shopping Center
- Diamond Heights Community Association
- St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church
- City Administrator’s Office, CCSF
- SF CARD
- SF State University
- Diamond Heights Disaster Ready Workgroup
- Technical Support Leads
- Dept. of Emergency Management
- Red Cross Bay Area
- SF Interfaith Council
- Community Partners
- Community, faith-based, commercial, housing developments and emergency response organizations in Diamond Heights.
Create an Action Plan
Over the course of two months a working group crafted an action plan that would guide the community over the next year as it worked to increase its resilience. Here are its key elements:
The Diamond Heights Community will negotiate a disaster with the necessary social, economic and infrastructural resilience to support an expedited recovery and remain a diverse and inclusive place that residents, both current and future, will want to call home.
The Diamond Heights Advanced Disaster Resilience Project will provide Diamond Heights Neighborhood stakeholders (residents, merchant, faith-based, civic and nonprofit) a program/framework to achieve true disaster resilience.
By investing in both its physical and social assets, the Diamond Heights Community will empower itself to be able to withstand challenges that arise as a result of a disaster
Focus Areas for Increased Resilience:
The Resilient Diamond Heights Action Plan will leverage the capacity building guidelines that have been identified by the NEN’s Empowered Communities Program. These guidelines offer a framework that addresses both the operational areas of a community’s resilience as well as its capacity to achieve and sustain them.
The Operational Areas Include;
Social / Cultural / Spiritual
Goal: Promote strong and lasting social, cultural, and spiritual connections that maintain a resilient, supportive and vibrant community.
Built Infrastructure (i.e. buildings, roads, water & power systems)
Goal: Ensure that the built infrastructure of the Diamond Heights neighborhood is able to withstand a disaster and quickly return to an operating condition that will support the recovery goals of the community.
Goal: Promote resilience of businesses located in the Diamond Heights community, so that those businesses can maintain and/or resume operations in the wake of the disaster and help ensure that the short and long term economic needs of the neighborhood are met.
Goal: Ensure that all members of the Diamond Heights community, especially vulnerable populations, receive adequate levels of support post-disaster so they can remain a vibrant part of the Diamond Heights community.
Goal: Facilitate a sustained, supportive environment for all members of the Diamond Heights community, in order to minimize the amount of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced after a disaster.
Goal: Ensure that the highest level of safety for residents and visitors to the Diamond Heights community is maintained before, during, and after a disaster.
Goal: Ensure that the natural environment of the Diamond Heights Community is protected during the response and recovery from a disaster in order to provide residents with a safe and healthy neighborhood to pursue their ongoing social and economic goals.
Goal: Increase the overall resilience of the organizations which meet the educational goals of Diamond Heights Community, so that they are able to return to service as quickly as possible after a disaster.
Upon defining its goals and mission, the community then assembled working groups that would craft a work plan to advance the vision of the action plan. Once the working groups were created, they crafted sub action plans and have been implementing them since December of 2012.
Resilient Diamond Heights Working Groups:
Executive Steering Committee
Members: Betsy Eddy, Rev. Tommy Dillon, Jim Stelly, Jeanette Oliver,
DHADR Partner Leads: Daniel Homsey, CCSF, Brian Whitlow, SF CARD
Mission: To steward the actions of the working groups to achieve the objectives of the Resilient Diamond Heights Action Plan
- To ensure a coordinated implementation of the Action Plan
- To manage relationships with external agencies on behalf of the Program
Community Development Committee
Community Leads: Rev Tommy Dillon, Betsy Eddy
DHADR Partner Lead: Daniel Homsey, CCSF
Mission: Promote strong and lasting social, cultural, and spiritual connections that maintain a resilient, supportive and vibrant community.
- Develop a Communications Plan for the Community
- Measure & Strengthen Social Networks
- Develop events
Disaster Preparedness Committee
Community Lead: Betsy Eddy
DHADR Partner Lead: SF CARD
Mission: Ensure that all members of the Diamond Heights community, especially vulnerable populations, receive adequate levels of support post-disaster so they can remain a vibrant part of the community.
- Develop a response plan for the neighborhood
- Create a care and shelter strategy for the community
- Create a spontaneous volunteer plan
- Create a neighborhood support center for the community
Private Sector & Lifeline Committee
Members: Jeanette Oliver, Jim Stelly
DHADR Partner Lead: Daniel Homsey CCSF, Brian Whitlow, SF CARD
- Economic – Promote resilience of businesses located in the Diamond Heights community, so that those businesses can maintain and/or resume operations in the wake of the disaster and help ensure that the short and long term economic needs of the neighborhood are met.
- Lifeline – Ensure that the built infrastructure of the Diamond Heights neighborhood is able to withstand a disaster and quickly return to an operating condition that will support the recovery goals of the community
- Create a database of all private sector stakeholders
- Develop an assessment tool(s) to measure their resilience
- Connect private sector organizations with technical support for their COOP
- Engage lifeline agencies regarding continuity of service strategies
- Create an economic recovery framework for the neighborhood
RDHAP Action Plan Milestones to Date:
September 2012 Working Group Finalizes Action Plan
October 2012 Exec Steering Committee is formed
November 2012 Working Groups are convened
San Francisco State initiates Community Network Mapping Project
December 2012 Working Groups initiate project plan development
January 2013 Working Groups implement project plans
Initial Community Response Plan is released
February 2013 City Agencies are engaged to support Care & Shelter Plan
March 2013 Exec Steering Committee meets with Supervisor Weiner
DHARP Action Plan Organizational Chart:
In face of an inevitable large scale disaster, such as an earthquake, the Diamond Heights community has taken a proactive approach to preparing itself to negotiate the event successfully by investing in both mitigation and preparedness strategies.
By creating a vision of collective resilience that takes into consideration the performance of built assets (i.e. buildings and pipes), the capacity of local organizations to maintain operability and the strength of the social networks that bind residents to each other’s success the Diamond Heights Community has set a new standard for the level of investment and commitment for all neighborhoods to consider when they ask themselves “Are we really ready?”.