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San Francisco, 07 February 2018 – The Philippine Consulate General in cooperation with the League of San Francisco Consular Corps organized a seminar on earthquake preparedness for the members of the San Francisco Consular Corps at the Philippine Center yesterday.  Officials from the San Francisco Fire Department facilitated the event.

L-R: Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr., Mrs. Mariza Bensurto, SFFD Assistant Deputy Chief Jeff Columbini, Officer Eli Thomas, Captain Erica Artiseros and rescue dog Vader. Photo by Sherwin Toledo.

In her welcome remarks, Mrs. Mariza Bensurto, President of the League of San Francisco  Consular Corps, stated, “We thought it crucial for the members of the Consular Corps here in San Francisco, who are tasked with the very important and challenging responsibility of taking care of the welfare of their respective constituents, to be equipped with proper knowledge and skills on what to do during this kind of emergency or disaster.”

During the forum, Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. suggested the importance of having an emergency response network among the Consulates General in the case of threats or disasters.

Captain Erica Arteseros, Program Coordinator of SFFD’s Neighborhood Response Team, provided the Consular Corps with helpful information in preparing for such occurrences.  She encouraged the audience to have an emergency supply kit containing food, water and clothing, as well as cooking, medical and safety provisions.  Special items for infants, children, seniors and persons with disabilities should also be included.  Captain Arteseros also discussed having personal, communications and meeting plans that will enable a person to connect and meet with someone in times of emergencies.

Captain Erica Artiseros gives tips to members of the Consular Corps on disaster preparedness and emergency response. Photo by Sherwin Toledo.

The SFFD also discussed the rescue operations it has conducted in response to the recent disasters that struck California and other parts of the United States.  Officer Eli Thomas, who brought along his rescue dog Vader, described how canine units are able to assist in search and rescue missions and save lives.

The SFFD further informed the Consular Corps of other available resources for disaster preparedness.   Cities in the Bay Area have Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams and Community Emergency Response Teams that are there to help in times of disasters.  More in-depth training on preparedness and response is also available to interested participants It also encouraged subscribing to, a text-based notification system in San Francisco.

San Francisco lies near two major fault lines, the Hayward and San Andreas faults, which makes the city vulnerable to earthquakes.  Disaster preparedness and response is thus one of the key concerns of consular posts in San Francisco, which are expected to reach out to their respective communities and organize response teams in the event of disasters.  END.