District News

Latest news and updates from Southern Marin Fire Protection District.

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Tam Valley, like much of Southern Marin, is classified as a "very high risk" wildfire area.   Wildfires of similar magnitude to the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, or the 1995 Mt. Vision fire in Inverness, are possible here.  May 9 is the 10th anniversary of the 12-acre "Mother's Day" fire in the eucalyptus grove on GGNRA land in western Tam Valley. 

TCSD and Southern Marin Fire District (SMFD) are taking steps to help Tam Valley residents understand the fire risk in their neighborhoods and to implement changes to reduce that risk. Specifically:

  • SMFD will conduct a 1.5-hour education session to describe the risk and suggest actions for property owners to reduce that risk. Please come to this presentation scheduled for Friday, April 11th or Wednesday, April 16th at 7:00pm at the Tam Valley Community Center.
  • TCSD and SMFD will sponsor free Chipper Days on most streets in the TCSD service area. Material will need to be stacked, cut, and placed on the street on your designated day and the material will be collected, chipped, and hauled away. 

Most Tam Valley neighborhoods will get this Chipper Day service in late April or early May 2014. This service will be provided to any remaining neighborhoods later in the year. Residents in each neighborhood will receive a postcard in the mail at least two weeks prior, and it will include all the participation details. Acceptable materials are brush, tree trimmings less than 6 inches in diameter (any length accepted), but we will NOT accept vines like blackberry or poison oak. 

In order to keep areas clear and to minimize fire risk, we encourage residents to not begin any significant work until you know the scheduled date for your street. Detailed information showing the dates, along with a map and list of streets, will be posted on the TCSD website (www.tcsd.us).

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The below article was written by Jim Irving, Fire Chief of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District and president of the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association and it was published in the Marin Independent Journal on November 16, 2013 on the Opinion page, Marin Voice section.

 Jim Irving

Combining Critical Priorities in Marin's Open Space Land

THE REASON many of us live in Marin County is the beauty and natural landscape that exists right outside our doors.

We shouldn't forget, though, that much of our surrounding beauty is fuel for a potentially devastating wildfire, one of the largest single risks we face of life and property loss. The fire service professionals in the county are challenged with protecting life, property and the environment, a job we take very seriously.

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Southern Marin Fire (SMFD) firefighters participated in the 2013 Urban Shield on October 25-28. Urban Shield is a 48-hour training exercise that trains local, national, and international first responder agencies to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and major emergencies. Participant included three major cities (Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose) and ten counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma), and more than 100 incorporated cities.

SMFD had four personnel on three teams in the Urban Shield event, Swift Water Rescue Team 11, Marin County Regional Task Force Team #1 & the Marin County Hazardous Materials team. The Marin County Regional Task Force Team #1 won 2nd place overall in the event behind MinnesotaTask Force Team #1. The teams were evaluated on core competencies which are designed to test their abilities in differing situations that will require effective communication and development of incident action plans. The training encourages collaborative interaction with other specialized teams and disciplines, law enforcement and/or role players. Scenarios are designed to provide teams with events that are fast paced, dynamic and increasingly encountered by first responders in this era.

The Southern Marin Fire District congratulates all the teams and the four SMFD firefighters who participated on their successful participation in the training exercise.

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Questions about your tax bill?

A number of people have been calling us with questions about the parcel/unit tax on their tax bill.

There is a new charge for $45 or $90 on my tax bill

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On 6/4/13 at 2:30 am, Southern Marin Fire responded to a rock slide & automobile accident. On scene, firefighters encountered a rock slide that covered northbound Highway 101 just prior to the Spencer Avenue exit. An vehicle ran into a large rock from the rock slide and the driver sustained minor injuries. 

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Southern Marin Defensible Space Education

Ready Set Go is a simple program that reinforces key points vital to survival in Marin's hillside communities during fire season.

Visit www.readysetgomarin.org for details.

 

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The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for 6 PM TUESDAY THROUGH 6 PM WEDNESDAY FOR THE  NORTH AND EAST BAY HILLS ABOVE 1000 FEET. Although the warning is officially for altitudes above 1000 feet, all areas will have a higher fire danger.

For more information: 

National Weather Service

 

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On Monday, May 4, 2013, Southern Marin Fire will be participating in the
Wildland SKills Multi Agency Drill (MAD) from 8am to 1pm.
MAD will simulate a wildland fire impacting the City of Mill Valley.
Mill Valley Fire and Marin County Fire will also be participating.

The MAD training will coincide with the
City of Mill Valley Neighborhood Evacuation Drill.

There will be 15-20 fire engines involved in this MAD training on May 4th,
so if you see many first responders & fire engines in your neighborhood,
Please Do Not Be Alarmed!
This is just a training drill

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Get Emergency Alerts! - Register your Cell Phone or VoIP Number
On January 26, the Southern Marin Fire District will be partnering with the Marin County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services to launch the new Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS).

What is TENS: TENS is a high-speed communications system that can quickly notify members of the public by phone of critical emergency information in situations where property or human life is in danger. These notifications are made to specific geographically affected areas. TENS makes emergency calls to landlines and to registered cell phones.

In the event of an emergency, wherever you are, don't miss the critical call with information or instructions from the Marin County Office of Emergency Services. If you live, work or go to school in Marin County, and if you are 18 and over, you can receive these emergency alerts on your CELL PHONE by text, email and voice, and by your VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone. To receive alerts, you must register on the secure website portal: http://www.alertmarin.org/. Cell phone numbers are NOT in the system UNTIL you register them. Need a computer to sign up? Go to any Public Library for free computer use.

So where will you be when an emergency strikes? Will you be near your landline phone to receive the call with critical information or directions? While many of us have landlines, nearly all of us have cell phones. And there is a growing number of us who have cell phones but no landline phones! Please take the time to register!
Marin Alert Emergency Notification System
www.alertmarin.org
If you live, work or go to school in Marin County and are 18 and over, you may now register your cell phone or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, or email from the

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Many residents in our unincorporated area began receiving a Fire Prevention Fee tax bill per Assembly Bill X 129. This fee, $150 or $115, is charged to all property owners that are in what is known as SRA (State Responsibility Area). THe SRA includes most of the unicorporated area in the district. This does not apply to residents of the City of Sausalito or within the Town of Tiburon.

This tax is not a Southern Marin Fire District tax. The District does not receive benefit from this bill. The Southern Marin Fire Protection District Board of Directors has officially opposed this bill and this fee.

Citizens are encouraged to pay the fee before the 30 day late fee is applied.

You can protest by contacting your state elected officials and can petition for redemption at www.firepreventionfee.org.

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Please take a moment and read the link below. This is a really good article regarding the potential damage that will occur along the California coast, particularly in the north, after we suffer a Mega Quake. These devastating quakes are happening more frequently around the world. The results are as we all know. Events such as the Indian Ocean in 2008, and more recently Haiti and Japan, should be a serious eye openers for us all. Please take a moment to read this article.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Totally-Psyched-for-the-Full-Rip-Nine.html?page=all

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SMFD has added all SM CERT responders into the MEANS notification system.

There are currently approx. 280 certified CERT responders living within the District. MEANS (Marin Emergency Activation and Notification System) had been used to notifiy SM CERT division supervisors only. It was their responsibility to notify their division CERT's. This has now expanded the system to notify all SM CERT's when the teams are needed for activation. CERT's will be notified by the software program calling your home, and or cell number, to notify the CERT's that an activation is taking place. As in the past, the response plan will not change. All SM CERT's are requested to activate automatically in a large scale disaster. However, wait until activated in smaller isolated events such as localized flooding, wildfire, or winter storms.

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The third SM CERT disaster response trailer is now completed. The trailer is located at the fire station in Sausalito. All SM CERT members are encouraged to stop by station 1 and familiarize yourselves with the equipment, and their locations in the trailer. Sausalito Division Supervisors need to download the equipment check out schedule located in the right hand column on this webpage. Checks need to be completed once a month. Assistance will be provided by the on duty crew if needed. Sausalito division supervisors, feel free to trade your month with another member. However, the checks need to be completed monthly. This bring's the total number of SM disaster trailers to three. One each in Strawberry, Tam Valley, and Sausalito. Questions or concerns to Larry.

 

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SMFD now has both Facebook and Twitter accounts for our community. These social media sites are a great way for the District to communicate with our citizens about what is happening within the District. Information will include emergency responses by the District, information on special events, disaster preparedness information, photo gallery, and news and instructions in the event of a large emergency or disaster. This will be another method of communication to our community in the event of a disaster.

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The new Marin County CERT website is up and running. The new countywide CERT program will hold it's first of ten classes for 2011 in January. The course will be conducted in Nicasio. Interested students may registar for classes by going to the website a twww.marincountycert.org then click the Training link at the top of the page. This will take you to a drop down menu for registration. Students now have two ways to register. The regisatration form may be filled out and mailed in with your payment, or the 'paypal'  link for online registration may be used.

The website includes various articles, photo galleries, CERT news from around Marin, an events calendar, and Marin County CERT contact information.

The five Marin CERT training zones have been working since earlier this year to standardize CERT trainings throughout the County.

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The 2012 schedule for the Marin County CERT Basic courses has been released. The first class for 2012 in Nicasio is already sold out. The February class is scheduled for Thurs. February 9th and Fri. February 10th from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in Novato. Please go towww.marincountycert.org to register for any of the 2012 courses. Courses in the Southern Marin area are scheduled for June and October 2012.

 

 

 

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Our new website was launched late summer 2012 to provide easier access to the services of Southern Marin Fire Protection.  Our goal is to quickly answer any questions or concerns raised by residents and visitors to our district, with accesible and organized web based information technology.

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Everyone is cordially invited to a Thank You Sausalito and Meet Southern Marin Fire Event on Saturday, August 25th at Fire Station 1, 333 Johnson Street, from 11:30am to 2:00pm. Please be our guest and celebrate the joining of Sausalito Fire and Southern Marin Fire. Family, friends & supporters are invited to tour Fire Station 1, meet the firefighters, SMFD Board & staff and have a snack at the fire station. RSVP by August 20th by calling 388-8182. Sponsored by the SMFD Public Outreach Committee

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At its June 28th Board Meeting, the Southern Marin Fire District interviewed four candidates after which the Board appointed two Sausalito representatives; one to an open full-voting position (due to Board member Doug Wriston's resignation in May), and one non-voting Ad Hoc seat the District Board offered to the residents of Sausalito if the annexation was approved by the voters. The Board appointed Peter Van Meter (a former City Council Member) to fill the full voting vacancy, and former Sausalito Police Chief, Stephen Willis (who also served temporarily as Fire Chief), to the Ad Hoc position. Both new members were sworn in June 28, 2012. The Board bumped its normal fourth Wednesday meeting to Thursday to provide time for the election results to be certified by the Registrar of Voters and by the Local Agency Commission, without which the appointments could not have been made. Just under the wire, the Registrar's office gave the District its certification on June 24th, followed by LAFCO's certification on June 26th. The campaign over the annexation, also known as "Measure D," resulted in approval by an almost two-thirds majority of Sausalito citizens. The Board and the Fire Chief are reaching out to the residents of Sausalito now that we are One. These new appointments will give Sausalito immediate representation prior to the next election on the Southern Marin Fire Board. The new Board Members will need to run for office at the November of 2013 election. Those who would like more information may use the following contact numbers: Chief Jim Irving 415-388-8182 Clerk of the Board, Susan Kim 415-388-8182

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Sausalito voters approved Measure D, a vote to transfer the city of Sausalito's fire services to the Southern Marin Fire Protection District in Tuesday's primary election. District Fire Chief Jim Irving said Wednesday that the annexation of Sausalito fire services should be implemented by July 1. The district has managed the city's fire services since 2004, but 15 firefighters had remained Sausalito city employees. Those firefighters will become district employees, bumping its payroll to 52 employees, Irving said. Sixty-three percent of Sausalito voters approved Measure D, which annexes the city's fire services to the fire district, which serves parts of unincorporated Mill Valley, as well as Strawberry and a small portion of Tiburon. Irving said that while the annexation won’t have any day-to-day impact on fire service for residents of unincorporated Mill Valley and Strawberry, they will see some benefits to the change. “It allows us to have a better grasp on what our future is so we can do more long-range planning,” he said. “It also gives a lot of staff time back in terms of managing two separate budgets and payrolls and that sort of thing.” That savings in staff time will allow the district to do more community outreach on issues like fire prevention and vegetation management, Irving said. “There will definitely be a benefit for our residents,” he said.