By Matt Nauman
SAN FRANCISCO – The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter and PG&E honored some heroes and encouraged 69,732 football fans at Candlestick Park on Sunday (Sept. 22) to prepare in advance of earthquakes and other emergencies.
And 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice joined the pre-game ceremonies and then raced around the field to fire up the crowd before the Niners-Colts kickoff.
Three Community MVPs were honored during the ceremony: Thomas Siragusa of the San Francisco Fire Department, Matt Lobre of the San Francisco Police Department and PG&E’s Pam Perdue.
Besides honoring the MVPs, the event was a way to remind those in attendance to have a game plan before an emergency or a natural disaster strikes. The Red Cross’ website has tools to help start the safety preparations from an emergency supply checklist to information about first-aid training courses. It also offers first-aid, earthquake and wildfire apps for smart phones in the Apple App or Google Play stores. PG&E also offers its customers lots of safety advice on its website.
Here is a look at those MVPs:
Thomas Siragusa: An assistant chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, Siragusa recently returned from the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park where he represented the City and County of San Francisco. As operational area coordinator, he protected the city’s property and infrastructure and worked in tandem with multiple agencies. City facilities in or near the path of the massive wildfire included the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, numerous powerhouses, a vehicle yard and Camp Mather.
Siragusa is proud of all of work done by firefighters and support agencies, but the day the fire advanced six miles and touched 50,000 acres is a lasting memory. “Mother Nature does what she wants to do,” he said. “You can direct her, but you’re not going to stop her.”
Matt Lobre: San Francisco Police Officer Matt Lobre was responding to another call when a woman flagged him down on Pine Street. He saw smoke coming from a home at about the same time. The woman told him that an elderly resident was trapped on the third floor of the building. Lobre entered the smoke-filled building and found a 91-year-old woman in her kitchen. Lobre was able to carry her to the street, where she was treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital.
The attention for his heroic deed is “very flattering,” Lobre said. “I am just glad I could be at the right place at the right time.”
Pam Perdue: A senior public safety specialist, Perdue served as the Agency Representative between PG&E and multiple agencies during the recent Swedes and Rim fires. During the Rim Fire, she spent three weeks at the Incident Command post and worked 16 to 18 hour days as she coordinated PG&E’s efforts with San Francisco agencies, Cal Fire, the Tuolumne County Office of Emergency, the USFS, and others. Her work allowed PG&E to effectively assess the damage to its equipment and to work with public agencies to gain access so power could be restored to customers.
“It was a thrill to put a spotlight on PG&E’s efforts and coordination in fighting wildfires with Niners fans,” said Perdue. “And getting to meet Jerry Rice was a memorable moment.”
Beside Rice and the three MVPs, Keith White of the American Red Cross took part in the ceremony. Board chairman of the Bay Area chapter of the American Red Cross, White is a senior vice president with the Gap, Inc.
In the stadium concourse, PG&E shared a booth with the Red Cross. PG&E provided information about the importance of calling 811 before starting any digging project. The Red Cross, in conjunction with the California Earthquake Authority, presented the Traveling Red Table which is used to highlight “drop, cover and hold on,” one of the seven steps to earthquake safety. Both PG&E and the Red Cross also provided information on emergency preparedness and other safety topics.
Email Matt Nauman at firstname.lastname@example.org.