By Deanna Contreras
The city of Mill Valley and PG&E are urging North Bay residents to prepare for wildfire season. First responders will be preparing too, during the city’s 10th Annual Evacuation Drill on Saturday (May 20). The drill will model a wildfire that forces evacuations in Mill Valley.
“This annual drill helps first responders assess the issues that may arise if such an evacuation became necessary due to a disaster, such as an earthquake or a wildland fire on Mount Tamalpais,” said Fire Chief Tom Welch, with the Mill Valley Fire Department. “If you live in the Edgewood and Homestead Valley neighborhoods, we invite you to participate in this voluntary evacuation drill.”
Every year, the city of Mill Valley hosts a coordinated evacuation drill of specific neighborhoods within a Mutual Threat Zone, while simultaneously conducting training exercises with local public safety agencies. The public is invited to the command center at Tamalpais High School to participate in emergency demonstrations and learn how to prepare their family in the case of a wildfire emergency.
“We want everyone to be prepared for any emergency, and recognize that following five years of consecutive drought, the threat is very real,” said PG&E’s Jim Wickham, public safety specialist for the North Bay. “We’re doing our part to prevent wildfires each day by constantly monitoring and mitigating potential fire hazards caused by drought conditions. We also partner with local agencies, such as Mill Valley Fire and Southern Marin Fire Protection District, and fire safe councils, such as FIRESafeMARIN to address the increased threat of wildfire. This includes removing dead or dying trees that may threaten our utility infrastructure and public safety.”
The multi-agency drill will address critical public health and safety issues that are likely to occur during a large evacuation including: ensuring the safety of people, pets and livestock; how to administer first aid; sheltering and feeding evacuees; and power restoration following a wildfire.
“It’s easy to put off the task of preparing your household when most families are busy with their day-to-day lives, but living in Mill Valley we need to be vigilant and remember that a wildfire could be very destructive to our community. I am thankful and proud of the professionalism of our fire and police departments, emergency partners, and the many community volunteers who work so hard to coordinate a successful response to a disaster,” said Mill Valley Mayor Jessica Sloan.
PG&E gas and electric crews will provide safety demonstrations and showcase state-of-the-art equipment that may be used to restore gas and electric service to its customers. PG&E’s base camp and emergency safety booths will also be open to the public.
About the 10th Annual Evacuation Drill
The drill will be held from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Tamalpais High School, located at 700 Miller Ave. It is held in cooperation with the Mill Valley Fire Department, Southern Marin Fire Protection District, Mill Valley Police Department, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission and partners such as PG&E, American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Humane Society, Mill Valley CERT, Marin Medical Reserve Corps and Whistlestop. For more information, visit www.cityofmillvalley.org/ready.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.