The Team Behind Totally Unprepared

Besides our funders and the unsung video production and post-production crew, these are the people working on producing the materials at the Totally Unprepared project.

Carolyn Chitty, web developer

Carolyn’s been a web developer for nearly 12 of the 20 years she’s lived in California, yet she still hasn’t bolted her bookshelves to the walls. Carolyn’s skills have been honed by challenging work in both legal and public health advocacy web development and promotion; she is generally happiest to do work that helps others and fosters education and awareness. She hopes she can help you avoid squashing your kitties under falling bookshelves.

Cheryl Hess, producer/director

Cheryl is an Emmy-nominated veteran of documentary and reality television: MTV, ABC, TLC, CourtTV, Showtime, Discovery, and PBS.   She’s way too busy making our web video series to keep her IMDB entry updated.  She wants you to know she’s decidedly pro-earthquake.

Michael Kleeman, tireless maestro

The Totally Unprepared project began from a meeting Michael arranged between a PBS station, a state agency focused on disaster preparedness, and an ad agency veteran with a mandate to make an earthquake preparedness that wasn’t boring or cringe-inducing.  He has since done bureaucratic troubleshooting for the project at every level.

Michael is a tireless volunteer for many nonprofits including the Red Cross and the Marine Mammal Center and has worked in community preparedness in California for 20 years. Contrary to popular belief, his favorite chair is not an airplane seat, but in his home theater with the sound up loud.

Paul Menard, web developer

Paul says he’s a Senior Level Web Developer living in Austin, Texas, but the Totally Unprepared Team thinks he might live in the fiber optic backbone of the internet.

Trisha Richter, public television liaison, production manager

Trisha Richter helps coordinate all of the PBS stations in California with the Totally Unprepared project.  She also performs amazing feats of bureaucratic ninjitsu on behalf of the team.  She lives in San Diego and works at KPBS.

Elizabeth Rood, writer, researcher, production assistant

Elizabeth is a 5th generation native Californian who has ridden the bucking earth on more than a few occasions.  It can be a lot fun if you are in the right place.  This 21 year San Francisco resident and trained cartographer thinks a fine bottle of whiskey is the best disinfectant you can put in your earthquake kit. She has rocks from all over the world as decorations and door-stops in her home.  She loves writing about earthquakes and has some inventive ideas for the use of both sanitary napkins and kitty litter.

Sarah Imber Safdar, line producer, editor, project manager

She once laughed at her husband for standing in a doorway during a slight tremor, but now she knows they should have dropped, covered and held on.  She is Community Emergency Response Team trained and aspires to someday build a comfortable living room couch out of strapped-together bottles of water.

Shabbir Safdar, project lead

Shabbir is a native of Missouri, where Iben Browning once scared him into believing a major earthquake would strike and destroy St. Louis on December 3, 1990.  He now lives in San Francisco where he ponders the threats of a major earthquake and a zombie apocalypse with equal amounts of seriousness and humor.  He is resigned to helping his wife Sarah realize her fantasy of building a couch out of dozens of bottles of water strapped together.

Bob Smolenski, Flash and UI designer

Bob has been enjoying the wide open spaces of California since 1989. His favorite places for earthquakes are golf courses, backyards and the beach. He remembers writing many postcards after the ’89 Loma Preita and is looking forward to simply cutting and pasting emails and posting videos for the next big one. A 100% freelance web designer, he has a 70% chance to be sitting at his desk when the 80% chance (over the next 25 years) eventually rocks us.

Matthew Williams, art director

Matthew Williams is an art director in San Francisco, California. He was the creative director for The Chevy Chase Show and the motion pictures Ishtar, Glitter, and Battlefield Earth. He was the consulting engineer and mathematician for NASA on the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter projects.  He spends his free time with his twin Siberian tigers, Siegfried and Britney.

Get totally prepared!

See our "Get Ready Quick" section in English, Chinese and Spanish, and download our easy checklists.

Get tips via email

Preparedness mobile apps
Tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes oh my! The Red Cross can teach you to be prepared for any disaster with their collection of preparedness and safety apps.