The City of Mill Valley conducts an annual emergency evacuation exercise every spring. The drill helps raise disaster awareness and provide residents with an opportunity to practice evacuating from their homes to a safe location. In past years, drills have taken place in Cascade, Blithedale and Warner Canyon neighborhoods.
Each year, participating groups include emergency personnel from neighboring cities, the California Highway Patrol and the Marin County Sheriff ’s Office. Participants also include the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, as well as the Humane Society, Whistlestop Wheels and the American Red Cross.
Prior to the drill, the Fire Department sends letters to residents in the area informing them of the exercise and encouraging their participation. Emergency personnel also use the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) to inform residents about the event.
On the day of the drill, fire personnel activate emergency sirens to alert residents, and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office deploys the Telephonic Emergency Notification System. Police officers drive the streets of the evacuation area and make announcements from their patrol car PA systems to advise residents of the drill.
The Fire department deploys resources in the evacuation area to practice wildland firefighting skills, inform residents about defensible space and assist in the evacuation. Mill Valley Parks and Recreation also works closely with the Red Cross exercising deployment of emergency food and shelter.
CERT volunteers assist with evacuations, set up a field command post, and test their communication procedures. At the designated evacuation site, CERT and the Emergency Preparedness Commission offer information on preparedness, supplies and training opportunities. Each year, an average of over 150 households participate in the drill.
The Mill Valley Fire Department thanks everyone for their participation and encourage all Mill Valley residents to sign up for TENS notification and to take a GET READY or CERT class to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for any kind of emergency. For a map of the Emergency Evacuation Routes, click here. For more information, or to get involved in next year’s drill, contact: Jeff Davidson, Fire Chief at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 389-4130.
The following is a video created by Battalion Chief Welch about the April 24, 2010 evacuation drill.