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City Conjures Flooded Sycamore Park for Emergency Drill Saturday

Sixth annual drill won’t involve neighborhood evacuations as in year’s past, but first responders will be deployed to check on residents and learn how to assess damaged homes in the event a severe weather event.

The weather forecast might have nothing but clear skies ahead, but Mill Valley first responders are conjuring up a massive rainstorm this Saturday as part of the city’s sixth annual Emergency Drill.

The drill, which imagined an , provides city officials and a host of related organizations to educate one another and local residents in the event of a severe weather event and possible flooding.

“Unlike during a fire evacuation, residents may be asked to shelter at home for an extended period of time,” said Battalion Chief Mike St. John in a statement. “If a potential flood was forecasted, residents should consider moving cars to higher ground and relocating valuables to a higher area in the house. Emergency personnel ask that residents also check on those in the neighborhood that might need assistance and take this opportunity to update family emergency plans and update emergency supplies. (Click here for guidelines).

The drill begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with an activation of the County’s Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS), a reverse 9-1-1 dialing system. Another telephone system, Marin Automated Emergency Notification System (MEANS), will also be tested during the week preceding the drill. Residents can sign up for MEANS, which is an opt-in system, at the city’s website.

Members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will set up a Command Post in the ’s gym and deploy teams into the Sycamore area to check in with residents and review the basics of how to assess damaged homes, St. John said. In a real event, CERT members would report to their post and begin walking through neighborhoods, checking in with residents and assessing their needs. This would free up professional public safety staff to focus on life threatening situations that might affect all of Mill Valley.

St. John said the city is including businesses in this year’s drill for the first time, noting that a significant number of businesses didn’t reopen immediately after the flooding in downtown San Anselmo in 2005. Business owners have been asked to review their own safety plans as well as how to keep their business operating following a disaster.

Residents and business owners will be asked to fill out a brief online survey about emergency preparedness. The survey, which can be found at the city's website, will provide valuable information to city officials about Mill Valley’s level of preparedness. Questions about the drill can be directed to the Mill Valley Fire Department at (415) 389-4130.

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