SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice helped transform Union Square into an earthquake preparedness zone Friday.

The former wide receiver has a reputation for meticulous preparation, whether smashing records for the National Football League or performing on the show “Dancing with the Stars.” But Rice admitted the Loma Prieta earthquake caught him off guard in 1989.

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“You don’t want to wait until the last second,” he said. “I went through it.”

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Rice also confessed that until recently, his home did not an earthquake preparedness kit. He has one now, thanks to the Red Cross, which also handed out starter kits to anyone on the Square who completed a quake readiness training session.

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Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White helped hundreds at the so-called “Prep Rally” learn the basics of disaster preparedness and what to add to their supplies.

Hayes-White pointed to the havoc Mother Nature can wreak elsewhere, such as the tornadoes in Indiana, as a wake-up call for Californians.

“Obviously our hearts go out to those people who suffer from disasters, but we know that we’re not immune from it either,” she said.

Red Cross officials said there would be more training sessions under the Ready Neighborhoods Initiative thanks to a $2.5 million donation by Pacific Gas and Electric.

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