On June 14, 2018, the Mill Valley Fire Department conducted a demonstration of a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) at the Public Safety Building with all of the Marin County Fire Chiefs in attendance. This test is in furtherance of the Fire Department’s initiative to improve the City’s readiness and responsiveness to a significant fire event, such as the wildfires experienced in Napa and Sonoma in 2017.
During these fires, emergency responders experienced a gap in internet and cell phone-based infrastructure due to the destruction of local cell towers and communications equipment. Fire officials have recommended evaluating opportunities for voice command amplifiers to replace generic sirens in Mill Valley. In an emergency, emergency personnel can program the LRAD devices to act as sirens and as public-address systems.
Some residents contacted the City to let us know they did not hear the siren. This is due to distance and location of the test. If we move forward with this technology, devices will be strategically located to provide appropriate coverage for clear emergency communications.
Next steps include continuing LRAD product evaluation, meeting with product engineers to produce coverage maps, and to develop budget options for the possible purchase of an LRAD, which can cost approximately $300,000 per unit.
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