San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) warned residents to stay clear of McLaren Park Monday morning as they were conducting a disaster response drill with a helicopter.

Most residents of San Francisco know that when the sound of a chopper is overhead it's generally because the news copters are out covering a major fire, protest, or traffic collision. The SFPD doesn't have a helicopter, but the city has access to supply copters, apparently, in the event of an emergency. And one was being test-landed on the baseball field in McLaren Park today as part of a drill.

"The City and County of San Francisco and state and federal agencies are conducting a disaster response drill and will land a supply helicopter in McLaren Park (northwest corner of the park baseball diamond 3) in the Crocker Amazon neighborhood," an announcement from DEM reads. "The purpose of the drill is to test the delivery of emergency resources by air to the community after a major earthquake."

The drill was set to begin at 8 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. Monday.

The implications of the drill are a bit disturbing, because it means the city knows there's a good possibility that we could lose access to both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in the event of a major earthquake, and/or roadways from the Peninsula could be jammed. So that would mean helicoptering in supplies that aren't on hand, or that we run low on.

Maybe there's more to it than that? If there is, they aren't saying, And the new-looking website the DEM now has for earthquake preparedness,, belies the possible horrors of such a major disaster in favor of pragmatic steps like gathering supplies and go-bags.

Do you have a stash of cash in small bills on hand? A hand-crank or battery-operated radio? Extras of your medications and some non-perishable food?

Anyway, if you're in the vicinity of McLaren Park, now you know why there's a chopper flying in and out.

Photo: Victor B./Unsplash