Successful Deployment and Demonstration of New LRAD Emergency Sirens

September 17, 2019

On September 7, 2019, the City of Mill Valley held a well-attended ribbon cutting event to celebrate the deployment of the new Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD). Mill Valley residents were joined by City officials, the Emergency Preparedness Commission, and the Fire and Police Departments. Mill Valley is the first City in California to implement this land-based alert system that is satellite-based with battery backup, resulting in a device that will work regardless of power outages or cell tower outages.

Public safety officials from neighboring jurisdictions also attended the event to learn more and participate. All attendees received a battery/solar/crank-powered radio provided courtesy of PG&E. Going forward, the LRAD will be tested once a month at noon, on the first Saturday of the month.

"The old sirens were originally installed back in the early 90’s, and they have served us well over the years," Mayor Jim Wickham said. "But with the advent of new technology, and the growing concerns about fire and evacuation, we felt that it was time to upgrade to a new system."

"We want to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate this important step towards being better prepared as a community. Thie new system will improve our ability to respond quickly and effectively in the face of an emergency," he said.


Were you in Mill Valley on Saturday, September 7 around noon? Did you hear the new siren? Yes or no, we'd like to hear from you. Click here to take a quick survey.


Watch a short video about the new sirens.

The LRAD installation is part of the Fire Departments 6 Fire Preparedness and Prevention Enhancement Initiatives, adopted by the Mill Valley City Council after the 2017 Sonoma/Napa conflagrations. The City Council authorized the purchase of the LRAD system in January, 2019, which cost an estimated $418,000. They were installed and tested in the summer of 2019.

LRAD emergency alert systems are unique in that they can project both siren and voice recordings to alert and inform community members during a large-scale disaster. The new sirens are the first land-based LRAD system in Marin County.

“We believe that the purchase and installation of LRAD goes a long way to improve the resiliency and redundancy of our communication systems,” Fire Chief Tom Welch said. “LRAD systems are highly effective in communicating warnings, instructions, and notifications throughout incident sites and over vast areas during life-threatening events.”

The LRAD sirens are located in Cascade, Blithedale and Warner Canyons, plus Scott Valley and atop Mill Valley City Hall.

About LRAD Corporation - The Company’s proprietary Long Range Acoustic Devices® and advanced Genasys™ mass notification systems and mobile alert solutions are designed to enable users to safely hail and warn, notify and direct, prevent misunderstandings, determine intent, establish large safety zones, resolve uncertain situations, and save lives.

LRAD systems are in service in 72 countries around the world in diverse applications, including public safety, mass notification, defense, law enforcement, homeland and border security, critical infrastructure protection, fire rescue, incident management, maritime and port security, and wildlife control and preservation. For more information, visit   

Learn more:

Sign up today for AlertMarinNixle and click here to learn more about how to stay informed during emergencies.

What will they sound like? Click here to hear the monthly test message.

Remember - Please don’t call 911 when you hear sirens. Use 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.


In May, 2019, the City tested the LRAD system at our Annual Evacuation Drill. The test, along with information about the installation of the new system, is featured in an ABC10 documentary series, FIRE - POWER - MONEY: California's burning crisis and how it's going to cost us all. 

Mill Valley is featured in the FIRE and MONEY segments of the documentary.

FIRE - To watch the entire 33 minute video, click here.

FIRE - To jump to the section on Mill Valley, click here.

MONEY - To watch the entire 33 minute video, click here.

MONEY - To jump to the section on Mill Valley, click here.

If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact Battalion Chief Scott Barnes at 415-389-4139 or