Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District is proud of our recent accomplishments. Here is apartial listing of projects we;'ve completes, goals we've achieves, and accomplishmnets which benefit our community's safety and preparedness:
Firewise Community Recognition
In 2016, Sleepy Hollow became a nationally recognized Firewise USA Community by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This recognition was renewed in 2017.
SHFPD adopted our Wildfire Hazard and Wildland Urban Interface Area Assessment and Report at the March 11, 2017 meeting. The comprehensive document assesses the hazards and risk associated with wildfires in Sleepy Hollow, and provides recommedations for mitigation measures.
In June 2017, the SHFPD Board of Directors, with input from our residents, adopted a 5-year Strategic Plan to guide the District's community engagement, planning, and preparedness activities
On August 5, 2017 the SHFPD held an evacuation exercise in the north west quadrant of Sleepy Hollow. The event was a huge success by any standard. Almost 200 people from seventy-nine (79) households participated, representing approximately 40% of the total residences in the designated Exercise quadrant. The exercise included the following public safety agencies: Ross Valley Fire Department, Marin County Fire Department, Marin County Office of Emergency Services, Marin County Sheriff's Office, Highway Patrol, Central Marin Police, Red Cross, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), and Pacific Gas & Electric. All of these agencies were impressed with the extraordinary rate of participation and the quality of the engagement from residents at the Safety Fair. The Sleepy Hollow Homes Association participated in the exercise planning and facilitated use of the Community Center. Another Evacuation Exercise and Safety Fair each year targeting a different Sleepy Hollow quadrant.
On August 5, 2017 the SHFPD held a Safety Fair at the Sleepy Hollow Community Center as part of the annual Evacuation Exercise. The following public safety agencies staffed booths and provided valuable information to residents: Sleepy Hollow Homes Association, Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, FireSafe Marin, Ross Valley Fire Department, Marin County Office of Emergency Services, Red Cross, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), and Pacific Gas & Electric. All of these agencies were impressed with the extraordinary rate of participation and the quality of the engagement from residents at the Safety Fair. The highlight of the Fair was a 3-D “SandTable” showing a detailed representation of Sleepy Hollow. The fire scenario for the exercise was projected onto the table and residents could see how the fire grew over time. Safety Fairs will be held each year as part of our annual Evacuation Exercise Program.
Sand Bag Station
The SHFPD formally took over responsibility for the Community Sand Bag Station in the fall of 2015. The District created a new station at the Community Center, a more central and convenient location. The District ensured that the station had sand and bags available for our residents. During busy times, the station was often staffed by representatives of our local Youth2Work Program (Y2W). Special recognition is extended to the Y2W founder John Hanley for his dedication to keeping the station fully stocked. The District plans to supply and manage the station each year during the rainy season.
The SHFPD has taken the lead to form an ad-hoc group representing the large landowners in Sleepy Hollow. This includes the Marin County Open Space District, San Domenico School, Triple C Ranch and the Rocking H Ranch. These properties own the ridge tops which surround Sleepy Hollow as well as a substantial portion of the total acreage in Sleepy Hollow. The goal of the group is to work cooperatively to create fuel breaks along our ridge tops to stop fires from either entering or leaving Sleepy Hollow. The group is planning to bring in livestock, primarily goats, to help reduce fuel. In addition, we will work with the Tam Fire Crew and landscape companies to remove larger vegetation when necessary.
The District takes pride in the prudent management of its finances. The vast majority of the District's revenue comes from property taxes. This has proved to be a very stable revenue source which has grown on average in excess of 5% over many years. Through prudent and conservative fund management, the District has accumulated substantial reserves. By Board Resolution, these reserves have been placed in four accounts: Operations, Potential Pension Liability, FireWise Projects, and Unassigned.
Over the last two years, the District has also applied for and received several vegetation management grants. The District continues to aggressively pursue new grant funding sources and recently applied for a $799,000 matching grant from the US Forest Service to construct shaded fuel breaks areound the perimeter of the valley.
The SHFPD has provided educational materials to residents in multiple formats. Our website has safety related articles and links. We routinely mail materials to all residents and in 2017 began a newsletter which has covered topics such as evacuation planning and tips for creating defensible space. We have created a new comprehensive disaster annex which is part of the new Sleepy Hollow Directory which will shortly be mailed ot all residents. In 2016 we held a landscape workshop focused on creative ways to make defensible space using fire resistant plants and related vegetation.
Beginning late May-early June 2017, a team of fire inspectors from Marin County and Ross Valley Fire Departments conducted annual wildfire hazard inspections of all developed parcels in Sleepy Hollow. These inspections were more thorough than in years past, providing homeowners with valuable written advice on ways to reduce the hazard near your home. Data collected will help us map and better understand the risk across the whole community. All properties in Sleepy Hollow received a notice of inspection, regardless of whether violations are found.
Property owners who received a hazard violation notice have 30 days to correct the issues before a re-inspection occurs. Although defensible space and other measures specified in the notices are required by law, we intend to use this opportunity to work with all property owners to collaboratively reduce risk while educating residents about wildfire hazards.
A Defensible Space brochure and newsletter explaining the program was mailed to all Sleepy Hollow residents in early May. Please use the tips on the inside of this pamphlet to selectively reduce flammable vegetation on your property, and take advantage of our free chipper days to help with disposal. Don’t forget to use fire resistant plants (www.firesafemarin.org/plants), and design your landscaping to beautify your home while improving fire resistance