Emergency Prep for Fairfax


I have put together a specific-to-Fairfax guide to preparing for emergencies, divided roughly into fire, flood, and slides. Earthquakes can cause fire and slides to occur, and along with strengthening your house and water heater, preparation is similar.

Some of my friends lost their homes in the Oakland Fire of ‘91. A little later a Fire Captain told me that the trail next to my house could save lives in a wildfire. He said hundreds of people in the Oakland Fires survived because they could walk downhill from their homes on the trails, when the roads got impassable. I started organizing to clear Fairfax’s network of 130 trails right then, and I’ve never stopped.

We had a huge flood in 2005. I coordinated over 350 volunteers after that flood. The enthusiasm of Fairfaxians to help each other when there's need is amazing. People really understood how vulnerable we are. We helped out the downtown businesses that hadn’t installed flood gates, and then went on to dig mud out of people's houses.

Fires, slides, and floods are a real danger here. Knowing your neighbors is the best insurance you have in an emergency. Celebrating the great community we have, and helping make it better, safer and more prepared, knits us together in a way nothing else can.

Please use this guide to prepare now for potential events, and share it with your friends and neighbors.


Your Mayor, John Reed

P.S. At the bottom of this post, there are links to the most current fire maps, and more.


Emergency Prep in Fairfax


  • Build a survival kit including food, water, clothes, blankets, first aid, and medication.
  • Fairfax’s siren sounding means ALERT! Be ready to evacuate if needed. Immediately tune your radio to: KCBS 740 AM, KGO 810 AM, WPKX 1610 AM, or Public Television to listen for instructions.
  • Make a family evacuation plan and practice it—plan for your pets, too. Here is Fairfax's Evacuation Planning Guide: http://www.fairfaxpd.org/html/evacuation_planning.html
  • Sign up for emergency notifications at https://www.marinsheriff.org/services/emergency-services/alert-marin to get calls, text, email notification of emergencies.



  • Defensible space around your home AND on the street is crucial for fire fighters—trees over streets form fire tunnels, and Fire Engines can't park under them.
  • Fairfax law requires that vehicles leave “12 feet” of clearance when parking on roadways, for Fire Engines and Paramedics.
  • Check firesafemarin.org for info on defensible space & protecting your home.
  • Know where the neighborhood trails are, in case you can’t leave by car. If you have to abandon your car, don't block the road.



  • Install removable flood gates on vulnerable doors, windows or furnace vents—free plans are available at Town Hall.
  • Install vents to let flood water flow through the crawl space under your home to keep foundations from being undermined.
  • Never drive into water; move vehicles to higher ground before they are inundated. A foot of moving water can knock you down.
  • Sand and bags are available at the Pavilion parking lot; use to divert flows.
  • In the hills: Keep water flowing in appropriate places; keep debris out of culverts.



  • Watch for potential landslides; new bulges or cracks across a slope, sudden new springs, or if water flow suddenly decreases. The sound of cracking trees or knocking rocks means pay attention!
  • During a slide: Slides move fast—get out of their path! Warn your affected neighbors. Help those in need.
  • If a slide hits while you’re inside, move high up on the opposite side of the building, take shelter under a strong table.
  • Never dig at the toe of a slide. Stay clear—slides can move again days later. 
  • Beware of broken gas pipes, electrical wires.


More Current Information


  • The two most up to date, reliable fire maps I have found are at:


Supported by Marin Professional Firefighters and the Ross Valley Firefighters Association

John Reed for Fairfax Town Council 2017 - FPPC ID 1398783   more info at:  www.fairfaxian.com