Theses Master's

Alerting the Masses: Examining San Francisco’s Emergency Public Warning Ecosystem

Chen, Michelle

In conversations about emergency communication, multi-faceted redundant ecosystems are often touted as necessary to deliver important life-saving messages to the community. This paper evaluates the efficacy of San Francisco’s emergency alert system and the challenges the unique urban landscape of a diverse city poses to urban planners in creating emergency communication channels. It aims to understand the significance of using a multi-faceted emergency alert system and each channel's role and significance in the San Francisco emergency alert ecosystem.

The paper uses the unique circumstance of the shutting down of San Francisco’s public siren system in 2019 as a backdrop to examine alternative communication networks. This paper calls for a more comprehensive emergency alert system that is accessible and reliable, as well as a focus on increasing emergency preparation in communities. Analysis of San Francisco’s current emergency alert system as of 2023 suggests that there are vulnerabilities, showing gaps in coverage and channels that are singular points of failure.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Meisterlin, Leah M.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 2, 2023