As we celebrated the 112th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, we forget that the same fate could happen to us today.
Local artist Brian Singer knows and feels that this could all be to real in the near or late future. But being an activist for public safety in his own rite, Brian is an artist and designer, with a habit of tackling social issues. He’s created global art experiments, like The 1000 Journals Project, taken innovative approaches to dealing with distracted driving, and created provocative street art about the homelessness issue.
So when Brian was partnered with the Red Cross to solve disaster through design, he was taken aback, “the project was an eye-opener, and resulted in a number of recommendations,” he says, “one observation was that despite plenty of information being available online, and several awareness campaigns, many residents still didn’t have a plan, supplies, or even know what to do after a major disaster. There’s an expectation that someone else will take care of it.”
So we ask, where does design come in? Well, Brian clearly addresses the fact that your internet usage will be long gone in the time of a disaster, enter his project, Basic Safety Net comes into play. “Basic Safety Net was created to address a gap in our approach to dealing with emergencies: what happens immediately after a major disaster, and how to prevent additional risks to health and property damage. How will residents get information if the internet is down?”
Brian hit the InDesign streets with rapid speed and started to create gorgeously laid out pamphlets that have all the information you would ever need in the times of a crisis. His GoFundMe campaign goal is to raise $182,000 to fund the printing and distribution of 345,000 guides—one for every household in the city.
“As we saw after the Loma Prieta earthquake, our emergency services aren’t nearly staffed to handle a major event,” he continues, “this led to the forming of NERT, free emergency training from the San Francisco Fire Department. This is an amazing program and led to a nationwide effort by other cities to get better prepared. If you haven’t taken the courses, you should absolutely sign up.”
For Brian, however, graphic design as an art could change the way we see disaster in a large scale contingency, “when you are trained as a graphic designer, you have to change gears all of the time,” he said. “I’ll see something, or learn about something, and think, ‘we should do something about that.’ So I jump around between causes and ideas with the hope that I’m bringing a new perspective and hopefully helping.”
For the residents that are prepared and have a plan, Singer asks, “Is your neighbor? Because fire travels real fast. The idea is to elevate the preparedness of neighborhoods as a whole.” In addition to individual donations from community members, BasicSafety.Net is also looking for corporate sponsorship. The goal for the first phase is $50,000 to reach an initial 90,000 households. As Singer puts it, “It might seem like a lot, but compared to the cost of damage from one fire, or the loss of just one life, it’s a worthwhile investment.”
// Check out the rest of the GoFundMe and see what you can donate.