'It's loud!' Mill Valley installs new emergency warning system

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News is committed to building a better Bay Area, that includes keeping our communities safe.

One city in the North Bay is testing out new technology to help alert residents about wildfire danger or other emergencies.

Mill Valley is the first city in the Bay Area to get some new technology which look like big loudspeakers mounted in the Scott Valley neighborhood. They can broadcast lifesaving information for any emergency scenario.

"We can transmit audio messages for a vegetation fire in area and to evacuate," said Mill Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief, Scott Barnes.

It's called a long range acoustical device, 'LRAD' for short. The sound from the speakers is loud.

"It could travel up to a mile," said Barnes.

"I Think it's an excellent idea, wish they had done it years ago, seems like fires are more frequent these days," said Mill Valley resident Debbie Sultan.

Tough lessons were learned during the 2017 North Bay wildfires.

"In light of other disasters in our state, we needed a more efficient warning system," Barnes added.

The siren speakers receive emergency messages via satellite and have back up batteries if the power fails. There are a total of five sirens installed throughout the city.

The city is paying $500,000 for the new technology.
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