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An effective preparedness platform customizable to your city.

City72 is an open-source emergency preparedness platform that promotes community resilience and connection. This Toolkit is designed specifically for emergency preparedness organizations and provides the information and resources to create a customized City72 site for any city or region.

It includes: how to create localized content, access to the code to build and install your City72 website, and tips for how to manage and promote your site.

The City72 Toolkit is brought to you by SF72 and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SF DEM).

What is City72: Take the tour


Take a look at each section, as shown on SF72, the first customized City72 site.

Preparedness tools: Useful now, and in an emergency

Your City72 site serves as an emergency hub before, during, and after an emergency. The City72 Updates Map can show local events, from traffic to minor incidents, on a day-to-day basis. In an emergency, switch the Updates Map to be the homepage. In addition to showing the location of the crisis, you can pre-populate the map with emergency resources, and share official and crowdsourced emergency updates.

Ways to get connected

Social connections are essential to prepare for and cope with an emergency. The Get Connected section suggests how digital networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be useful today and in an emergency. It also highlights in-person, neighborhood networks as a way to be better prepared—together—for emergencies.


Essential supplies, visualized

Long lists of supplies are overwhelming—and can be expensive. The City72 Gather Supplies section offers easy-to-remember visuals of the top supplies to have on hand for emergencies—organized into prioritized bundles: Essentials, Useful, and Personal, so people can build their supplies, little by little.


Real stories

Personal stories can be one of the most memorable ways to learn. In the View Stories section, get to know others who have coped with crisis—and have lessons and wisdom to share—about how they’re now better prepared for next time.


How to make a plan

A basic plan isn’t difficult to create with family and friends. In Make a Plan, find a simple downloadable pdf to guide this process, as well as a Quick Guide to the type of emergency your area might be susceptible to.

Toolkit Components



THE TOOLKIT WEBSITE (you are here)

Before setting up your own City72 site, read through this Toolkit website in its entirety— to get a sense of the different components and steps, as well as the time and resources needed for the customization and maintenance of your site.



Printable guidelines are provided to help you work with your team (offline) to adapt the City72 platform to your own local context. Download the Guidelines from the Gather Content section. Once you have completed the worksheets, type your finalized text and upload images into the Content Editor.


Download open-source code (hosted on GitHub) for your City72 site from the Set Up your Site section, and run the built-in installer. It is recommended that you bring in technical support (a web developer) to help with the tasks associated with handling and installing the code.


The Content Editor is a set of online forms used to customize City72 content online. The Content Editor comes with the City72 code, and once you've installed the code, you'll be able to use the Content Editor to upload text and images to customize your site. And, you'll continue to use the Content Editor to update and maintain your site as needed.

Resources needed

The City72 Toolkit is designed as a turnkey preparedness platform; the effort required to adapt it to your own local context can vary based on your city's needs and goals. Getting a basic, customized City72 site up and running can take less than two weeks. If you want to produce videos for the Stories section, the investment can be more significant. The Map Updates page is the only section of City72 that requires ongoing maintenance. Once you've customized your site, plan on directing resources towards building awareness of your new City72 site. 



Project manager/Content manager

To adapt City72 to your own context, you'll need a point person for gathering local content and engaging your team. They'll be responsible for managing a bit of copywriting and photo selection to customize the platform to your city.

“This could be your Public Information Officer (PIO), an emergency preparedness/education staff member—or even a supervised intern. An estimated level of effort to develop initial content is approximately 40 hours total. Content maintenance is much less (<5 hrs/wk). The kinds of tasks associated with content maintenance include: social media, such as tweets and/or Facebook updates. Adding a blog is also a great way to keep content fresh.”—SF DEM


Technical Support 

Technical support (a web developer or IT staffer) is essential to download and install the code from GitHub. If you’re not familiar with establishing a new website domain and hosting service, we recommend engaging technical support for these initial steps as well.

“Many web developers are interested in civic engagement, and might be able to help with the specific ask to help get your City72 site set up. Or, reach out to a Code for America Brigade in your area. ”—SF DEM


Google Crisis Map moderator(s)

Setting up and maintaining the Google Crisis Map is a key aspect of managing your City72 site. Ideally, it is used to show what's happening in your city day-to-day, as well as to share crucial emergency information when a crisis occurs.

“It's hard to use the Google Crisis Map at first, until you're used building or importing layers of information. We're pre-populating a set of emergency resources—so we can just turn them on if and when something happens. We've found it can be an incredible resource for residents in San Francisco.”—SF DEM


Copywriter (Freelance or in-house)

Consider hiring a professional copywriter to write your city's Identity Statement. Alternatively, delegate this task to a staff member who handles outgoing communications.

“Your PIO or a writer can craft a great Identity Statement for your city. The trick is to get out of the government-writer frame of mind. Sit at a coffee shop, hang out with your community, get to know what makes your city unique, and write about that.”—SF DEM


Public awareness and outreach

Once you’ve built your site, you’ll need to promote it and share it with residents. See the Create Awareness page for starter ideas.

“City72 is far more than a website - it’s about building a culture of preparedness. In San Francisco, our entire preparedness program—and how we connect with our residents—has changed to reflect SF72. Outreach is a constant need and the target audience—“I Shoulds”—needs to be prompted more than once to take the next small step.”—SF DEM




Domain hosting

You’ll need to purchase a domain name, hosting services, and ongoing technical support. If you plan on using City72 during emergencies, we recommend purchasing robust hosting, rather than relying on free hosting services.

“Choose a domain name that’s catchy and short to keep preparedness simple. Web hosting is dependent upon your organization’s contracting requirements, but there are many reasonable options. Check with your in-house IT to see if they can host the site. Ongoing technical support is important, but often forgotten—be sure to save a bit of budget to maintain the site.”—SF DEM


Great imagery is key to City72; purchase photography from local photographers, set up a photo shoot around your city, or have a photo competition with your staff—the big idea is to reflect your city's culture.

“Each city is iconic in its own way. Use great photography to illustrate your city’s personality to galvanize support around preparedness. Building a more prepared community is all about tapping into the emotions people feel about where they live.”—SF DEM