For Immediate ReleaseOctober 08, 2018
Fire and emergency services officials review Marin’s progress for readiness
San Rafael, CA – On the one-year anniversary of the Tubbs Fire, which killed 22 people as it devastated parts of northern and eastern Santa Rosa, Marin County fire and emergency services officials are emphasizing the 3 P’s: Preparedness, Preparedness, and Preparedness.
Marin County Fire Department Chief Jason Weber cited a handful of important local takeaways as he reflected on the 2017 North Bay Fires: an extensive “Lessons Learned” report; a new County of Marin agreement with the National Park Service for wildfire response; an increase in the number of communities that have achieved Firewise status for readiness; and a successful string of neighborhood evacuation drills.
“The only thing that separated us (Marin) from our neighbors to the North was ignition,” Weber said. “We must continue to be prepared as a community to avoid the loss of life and damage that occurred last year.”
Including the Tubbs Fire, the North Bay firestorm charred parts of Sonoma and Napa counties and killed 44 people, destroyed 8,900 structures and caused an estimated $14.5 billion in property damage. The Tubbs Fire burned 36,807 acres and destroyed 5,636 structures. Marin County operated a temporary emergency shelter for a week as part of the mutual aid effort, and Marin residents donated tons of goods and volunteer time.
Weber delivered a sobering summary to the Marin County Board of Supervisors on September 11 in what was called the “Lessons Learned” report. The findings were the result of nine months of research and discussion spearheaded by a Board subcommittee of Supervisors Dennis Rodoni and Judy Arnold. In his summary, Weber provided 24 urgent recommendations pertaining to fire protection and many more targeting land management, law enforcement, emergency services staff, and town and city staff. His three challenges directed to the public were to:
Chris Reilly, Manager of Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), said Marin had six neighborhood evacuation drills in the wake of the 2017 North Bay Fires. They took place in several Novato areas, Corte Madera’s Chapman Park area, Tam Valley, San Geronimo, Sleepy Hollow, and Bolinas. OES has a webpage with information about emergency alerts and warning tools, among them wireless emergency alerts, geo-targeted alerts, a Nixle.com account, social media feeds, and even sirens and horns.
One of the most popular warning tools is the Alert Marin notification system. If you live, work or go to school in Marin and are 18 and over, you may register your cell phone number or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, email, or smartphone application. Be among the thousands who have registered by going to www.AlertMarin.org or search the Apple Store or Android Marketplace for the Everbridge app.
“It’s imperative that all preventive measures are taken seriously and implemented,” Weber said after delivering the “Lesson Learned” report. “We can’t afford to wait to do all that work until after Marin is devastated by wildfire. After it happens, 20-20 hindsight isn’t going to be worth much to us.”
The County recommends that residents stay informed about emergency preparedness news, review the notification tools available from trusted sources, make emergency plans with their families, build an emergency kit, and get involved with neighbors in disaster preparedness. More information about fire safety can be found on the Fire Safe Marin website and the Marin County Fire website. Learn about how to prepare an emergency kit at the Ready Marin website.
Jason WeberChiefMarin County Fire Department
33 Castle Rock Ave.Woodacre, CA 94973(415) 473-6717Email: Jason WeberMarin County Fire website