Mill Valley Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Mike St. John, at far left, and Fire Chief Tom Welch, at far right, are joined by members of the City of Mill Valley’s Emergency Preparedness Commission (EPC) on a tour of the areas devastated by the North Bay Fires. Courtesy image.

In the aftermath of the horrific fires that devastated Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Mendocino, and Lake counties, Mill Valley Fire and Police department personnel and members of the City of Mill Valley’s Emergency Preparedness Commission (EPC) took a tour of the devastated areas to get a first-hand view of the wreckage left by the deadly Tubbs and Nuns fires that occurred in and around Santa Rosa. 

“The site visit was sobering and the level of destruction was incomprehensible,” EPC Chair Tricia Ossa said. 

In an effort to make the North Bay fires a learning experience and to convey the critical need for emergency preparedness in Mill Valley, the City is hosting a an open house and community meeting to discuss the issue. It’s set for Thursday, Nov. 16 from 7-8:30pm at the Mill Valley Community Center (180 Camino Alto).

First responders and EPC members will provide a better understanding of the size and scope of the disaster, deliver an evaluation of current Mill Valley programs for preparedness and make recommendations back to community. “We will review lessons learned from the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties in addition to covering the necessary preparations for your neighborhood, residence and family,” Ossa said.

Fire Chief Tom Welch, whose family lost their home in the Tubbs fire that destroyed the Coffey Park neighborhood, reflected on his own experience of the fire. “After working all of the October 8th night assisting my Coffey Park neighbors, two things have become clear to me,” he said. “One: knowing your neighbors and being available to assist the at-risk populations such as the elderly, chronically ill and very young is key to saving lives during an evacuation. Two: citizens must know at least two routes from their neighborhood and have two modes like driving and walking to ensure a smooth evacuation.”

There are proactive steps you can take to educate and prepare yourself for a disaster. Classes are being offered now and throughout the year, to sign up here. For further information on Emergency Preparedness, please click here.

“The City of Mill Valley is not immune from wildfire,” Welch added. “A large portion of our community is located within the ‘Very High Fire Severity Zone’ as identified by Cal Fire. The EPC and our first responders are committed to wildfire preparedness and to ensuring the protection of Mill Valley has never been stronger. We are dedicated to preparing our community for any threat, particularly the threat of a wildfire. The EPC’s success is dependent upon our partnership with you. We are committed to this goal.”

The 411: The City of Mill Valley’s Emergency Preparedness Commission (EPC), along with City officials and Mill Valley Fire and Police department personnel will lead an open house and community meeting to discuss emergency preparedness in Mill Valley. The meeting is set for Thursday, Nov. 16 from 7-8:30pm at the Mill Valley Community Center (180 Camino Alto).

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