SFPrepared is provided by the San Francisco Controller’s Office as a public service to assist local governments with financial and administrative tools for emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Check out the information below to learn more about best practices and resources to help your agency prepare.

For City & County of San Francisco Personnel

Visit our SFPrepared SharePoint site for go-to emergency response resources for finance and administration professionals. Learn more about our Department Operations Center Finance and Administration Section organization and corresponding policies, procedures, and tools.

For Other Local Governments


For local government, emergency financial preparedness means having the capability to continue financial operations when interrupted by an emergency. In addition, finance agencies and financial personnel must be able to support emergency response and recovery through local government’s Finance and Administration function.


Continuity of Operations is the process of maintaining an agency’s essential operations when interrupted by a disaster. Continuity of operations planning should include policies and procedures for maintaining the organizational functions, personnel, systems, and records which are essential to meeting an agency’s mission.


In accordance with California’s Standardized Emergency Management System, and the National Incident Management System, there are five functions that a local government must be able to activate during a disaster: Management, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration. Click here to learn more.

SFPrepared SEMS Functions

Finance & Administration
The Finance and Administration function is responsible for financial support of emergency response operations, and beginning the process of recovery. This may include:

  • Executing pre-established emergency financial policies and procedures
  • Performing expedited accounting operations in support of life safety, property, and environmental protection
  • Tracking employee time related to the disaster
  • Documenting and handling workers’ compensation and injury claims
  • Accounting for expenditures, physical damage, and other losses, and quickly preparing financial reports on total estimated losses
  • Maximizing and expediting recovery of losses


Being financially prepared for a disaster will help you restore your short and long-term financial position when a disaster occurs. Disasters can have a substantial, adverse impact on local governments. Below are some statistics on the financial impacts of the Rim Fire and Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Rim Fire
In 2013, the Rim Fire burned over 250,000 acres - the fifth largest wildfire in California history. The burned area includes infrastructure and other property of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which operates the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. The fire caused over $70 million in damages and other losses to local governments. As of December 2018:

  • Total Federal disaster assistance obligated to State and local government (to date) – $22.8 million
  • Total estimated losses to the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) – $31.5 million
  • Approved insurance claims for damaged CCSF assets – $7.2 million (to date)
  • Total eligible Federal and State disaster assistance obligated to the CCSF – $6.1 million (to date)
  • Total approved insurance claims and Federal and State disaster assistance obligated to the CCSF – $13.3 million (to date)

Loma Prieta Earthquake
On October 17, 1989, the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta Earthquake shook for fifteen seconds, resulting in approximately $6 billion in damages (1989 value). Below are a few facts:

  • Total estimated losses to State and local assets within the CCSF - $1.3 billion (1989 value)
  • Total Federal and State disaster assistance claimed by the CCSF – $165.7 million (actuals claimed, 1989-2001)
  • Total Federal and State disaster assistance received by the CCSF - $164.7 million (actuals received, 1989-2001)
  • Date of incident – October 17, 1989
  • Date of closeout, all CCSF claims – December 18, 2001


There are several important steps your agency can take to financially prepare in advance of a disaster.

Prepare financially to support emergency response and recovery

Budget a contingency fund
Establish a pool of competitively bid disaster-related services and commodities
Establish contingency contracts
Establish emergency timekeeping and cost accounting procedures
Track your assets and update insurance coverage accordingly
Become familiar with insurance claim and Federal and State disaster assistance processes - for example, learn about Federal, State, and local disaster declarations, and how to prepare an Initial Damage Estimate
Become familiar with the FEMA Public Assistance program and key forms
Ensure that all of your authoritative business systems have the capability to collect the level of data detail needed for Federal and State disaster assistance applications and supporting documentation
Backup your key financial records, including insurance documents
Backup real property records, both public and private
Develop failover capability for your financial and human resources systems, and other critical financial systems

Working with your local office of emergency services, Plan, Organize & Equip, Train, Exercise, and Evaluate & Improve

Develop a continuity of operations plan
Become familiar with California's Standardized Emergency Management System and your prescribed role
Institute field-level records management and documentation policies and procedures
Integrate finance into your jurisdiction's emergency operations plan, and consider a specialized emergency operations plan for your agency - to specifically address how you will support your jurisdiction's response and recovery operations
Integrate testing your plans and procedures into your jurisdiction’s emergency training and exercise program



Hazus is a nationally applicable, standardized software application that contains models for estimating potential losses from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Hazus uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters as a preparedness tool for pre-disaster planning. Hazus is also valuable tool for recovery, as it provides quick estimates of losses which are often remarkably accurate. Following the Napa Earthquake, for example, the County of Napa utilized Hazus to prepare an Initial Damage Estimate (IDE) almost immediately following the earthquake – prior to the determination of actual losses. The estimates were later determined to be within ten percent of actual losses. Becoming familiar with Hazus now can aid in recovery after a natural disaster.

Click here for a short presentation on the use of Hazus for IDEs.

Click here for HAZUS system operating requirements.

IDE Survey Tool
The San Francisco Controller’s Office developed the following survey, using SurveyMonkey®, to aid in the compilation of IDE. The survey is intended for distribution to finance officers of the various departments within your county. Additionally, the tool may be used by counties to collect information from cities and special districts therein; each county is required, under State law, to report on their behalf. Your finance agency may then use survey responses to estimate losses and prepare an IDE.

Click here for a PDF of the IDE Survey Tool user instructions.


Federal & State Forms

Click here for FEMA forms.

Click here for Cal OES forms.

Click here for California’s Safety Assessment Program forms.

Click here for Incident Command System forms.


SFPrepared Finance & Administration Disaster Academy

The purpose of the SFPrepared Finance & Administration Disaster Academy is to improve financial and administrative preparedness and resilience to respond to, and recover from, all hazards. The Academy provides a considered framework and curriculum useful for local government financial and administrative personnel in San Francisco and other local governments.

Employee Emergency Pocket Guide

An employee emergency pocket guide is a useful way to provide instructions to employees to be used in the event of a disaster. This includes:

  • The role of all local government employees as Disaster Service Workers, under State law
  • Workplace preparedness information
  • Tips for preparing a Go Bag
  • What to do if there is a disaster, including check-in procedures and important contact information

You can download a copy of the San Francisco Controller's Office Emergency Pocket Guide in PDF. You may customize this guide for your agency using Adobe InDesign©. To do so, you will also need to download the Adobe InDesign© text files .


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