Batten down the hatches!

By now we’ve all heard about the very rainy El Niño season ahead of us. The city of San Francisco is making extensive preparations for large amounts of rain by making plans for emergency shelter, ensuring our sewers can stand up to heavy storms, preparing for landslides or flooding, making various emergency repairs, and anticipating what to do for power outages or tree issues.

We, too, are busy preparing for storms. Over the summer, our Buildings and Grounds staff cleaned gutters and drains, checked boiler rooms for leaks, and cleared floor drains.

When the rain hits, we will be ready to respond to emergencies. We will have satellite locations throughout the city stocked with flood supplies so our maintenance crews have quick access to tools needed to service leaks and power outages and to mitigate flooding. Our service vehicles will be equipped with sand bags, water pumps and extra tools to handle site complications due to storm-related issues.

In the unlikely event of a school closure, we’ll call, email and text message you using the contact information in our student information system. Make sure your children’s schools have all of your contact information and that it's up to date so you can be reached quickly. Please note that you will only receive text notifications if you have opted in—check with your school secretary if you have any questions. Information will also be posted on the homepage of the district website ( and shared with major media outlets as well.

Is your family feeling prepared? Here are some basic things you can do to get ready:

  • Create an emergency plan and assemble an emergency kit.

  • Sign up for weather alerts from the National Weather Service or get more local alerts from

  • Get free sandbags—San Francisco residents and businesses can have up to 10 free sandbags through SF Public Works. Pick them up from Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2323 Cesar Chavez St. (entrance on Marin St. and Kansas St.).

  • Elevate your belongings, especially anything valuable or anything with chemicals such as pesticides or cleaners.
  • Don't forget about your pets, if you have them! Remember to include their supplies in your emergency kit, or if they are in a cage, make sure it's located somewhere safe from flooding.

  • Relocate your vehicle if you live in an area prone to flooding.

For further resources, go to