The world’s first municipal Chief Resilience Officer helped earthquake-prone San Francisco feature prominently in this year’s Safe Cities Index - as the city ranked 10th out of 50 in the category of Infrastructure Safety.
The position of Chief Resilience Officer was created in April 2014 to enable a holistic view of everything that could test the city - from social and economic challenges, migration, climate change, to the very real threat of earthquakes. It replaced the role of ‘Director of Earthquake Safety’.
Given the position of the San Francisco Bay area on the San Andreas Fault, the threat of earthquakes remains a major focus for the job. The current officeholder, Patrick Otellini, explains that the role is about bringing different departments together in order to rigorously test their ability to collaborate in a crisis.
“The way I can be successful in bringing these people together is not to come in and claim ownership over this process,” explained Otellini. “It’s not my job to be the expert on rising sea levels or anti-terrorism efforts—it’s my job to be the conduit that connects these people, so we can all realise the benefits of doing this work together.”
San Francisco is just one of the cities surveyed as part of the Safe Cities Index, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by NEC. The full report ranks 50 cities of different sizes across 40 key indicators in the areas of digital security, health security, infrastructure safety and personal safety.