SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco officials are under fire for their handling of the city's emergency response during a record-breaking heat wave over Labor Day Weekend, which resulted in the death of three people.
Friday, September 1, was the hottest day in San Francisco's recorded history— a scorching 106 degrees.
The Medical Examiner says three people died as a result of the stifling heat.
"We could have done more sooner," said SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who called meeting Wednesday so that city officials could hash out what went wrong in response to the heat wave.
"Our emergency response plan says when the mercury goes as high as 94, we should actually have been opening cooling centers," said Peskin.
But the cooling centers didn't come until a day later.
Department of Emergency Management records obtained by KTVU show that on September 1 at 8:25 a.m., DEM tweeted a heat advisory to 86,000 Twitter followers.
Four minutes later, it asks the Department of Public Health about cooling centers.
At 9:01 a.m., DPH advises DEM that the "public should visit a community center, a movie theater or a shaded park."
9:21 a.m.- DEM presses the issue on cooling centers.
10:47 a.m.- DPH confirms "no official cooling centers."
"We've all become very reliant on social media," said Peskin. "But the individuals who are most impacted are low income, elderly folks in the Tenderloin, Chinatown, the Bayview, they are not as likely to be on Twitter so I think that was a learning lesson as well."
"We're not in the blame game I mean we learned from every incident and activity so we're gonna take a hard look at what we did right, what or what we could improve on," said Mike Dayton, Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Management.
DPH spokesperson Brent Andrews issued a statement saying, "The Department of Public Health executed its extreme heat response plan as a part of the overall city response. We served the people of San Francisco in an organized, planned and efficient fashion."
The city was also forced to call for mutual aid when it ran out of ambulances, September 1st. "Our call volume increased from typically 1,900 to 2,900," said Dayton. "We were still able to meet the county goals for the response times."
But CAD reports show that on Friday, September 1, first responders had 11 Code 3 or "life threatening" calls where it took ambulances 20 minutes or longer to respond.
And on Saturday September 2nd, there were 27 code three calls where ambulances took at least 20 minutes to respond.
"The good news is that everyone is now very very aware of what they should do the next time this happens and there will be a next time," said Peskin.
Did SF drop the ball?
"We were caught a little flat footed," responded Peskin.
The next meeting regarding the issue is set for September 29th.