Tam Valley NRG Network

TAMALPAIS VALLEY serves as the “Gateway” to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and West Marin, and is bisected by the heavily trafficked two-lane California State Route 1, “Shoreline Highway,” leading from the Highway “101” to tourist destinations of Muir Woods, Muir Beach, Mt. Tamalpais, Stinson Beach and locations in West Marin.
The area, covering just over 500 heavily wooded acres, consists of mostly single-family dwellings built in and upon the coastal mountain range. There are approximately 2,851 households in this unincorporated portion of greater Mill Valley, both single-family homes and multi-family buildings, with an approximate total of 7,000 residents. Many of the single-family homes are on hillsides, reached by narrow roads, while multi-family residences are generally located along Shoreline Highway. 

At the eastern end of the valley the small commercial area, “Tam Junction,” is built on flat, muddy soil prone to liquefaction in an earthquake. There is one public elementary school, one church, and the hillside cemetery, “Fernwood,” consisting primarily of woodland including a large number of eucalyptus trees. To the north and east, Tam Valley is bordered by other unincorporated areas of greater Mill Valley, Homestead Valley and Almonte. To the south and west, Tam Valley is adjacent to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The GGNRA consists of wildlands, and Tam Valley is part of the WUI – “Wildland Urban Interface.” The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has designated southern and western portions of Tamalpais Valley as a “Very High Fire Hazard Zone.”


Red sign with HELP in large white block letters.
Click the above image to download and print the double sided HELP/OK sign.

The HELP/OK signs are used for Shelter-in-Place disasters such as large-scale earthquakes, and are also used for the twice-annually Time Change Drills.

1.  Please print out both the Help sign and the OK sign on 8” x 11.5” paper.

2.  Tape or glue one of the signs on each side of something firm such as a piece of cardboard.  This makes it possible for you to prop the sign in a window or another visible location.

3.   On the day of our twice-yearly HELP/OK Time Change drills, please post your sign in a window that’s visible from the street, on your front door, at your mailbox, on your garage, on your gate, or in any other location that is visible from the street before 10:00 am.  Feel free to show either the “Help” side or the “OK” side in a drill.

4.   Between 10:00 am and 11:00 am, Block Captains will be walking the neighborhoods to practice checking for signs.

5.  After 11:00 am, please remove your sign and place it with your Go Bag so that it’s easy to find during an actual emergency event.


“THANK YOU TO OUR WONDERFUL SOUTHERN MARIN FIREFIGHTERS and to all the NRG Block Captains, CERTs and residents who came out for the Tam Valley Fire Extinguisher Fair on March 26th! It’s hard to say whether the kids or the adults had more fun donning protective gear and actually putting out the fires, but definitely fun was had by all. Thanks also to all those who brought their old extinguishers for recycling and their current ones for inspection, and to those who purchased new ones. Finally, congratulations to our raffle prize winners!”



When we started recruiting Block Captains in late February 2020, little did we know that we would shortly go into pandemic shut-down.  Suddenly, all our advice about meeting your neighbors, having block parties and making connections was no longer appropriate.

Despite these challenging times, Tam Valley now has a Block Captain corps of almost 85 residents who have found creative ways to make connections and disseminate important information about emergency preparedness and response.  In appreciation of all these efforts and to enable our Block Captains to be able to meet one another, we held our first Tam Valley Block Captain Social on Saturday, October 16, 2021.  The weather was glorious and we were warmly welcomed by the crew of SMFD Station 4 on Poplar Street.  We were treated to scrumptious cupcakes baked by Steering Committee member Lee Budish. and we were finally able to put names to faces!

With 45 of us in attendance, we got to hear from Deputy Chief Tom Welch, and were introduced to Southern Marin’s first NRG Coordinator, local resident Elaine Wilkinson who will be leading and supporting the continued development of the Southern Marin NRGs including those in Sausalito, Floating Homes, Marin City, Strawberry and Almonte along with the rest of unincorporated and incorporated Mill Valley.  We also had the opportunity to share advice and ask questions of one another about how to support our neighborhoods.

All of this was followed by our first radio communications “practicum” during which Steering Committee member and ham radio operator Rob Rowlands led us through the experience of using our FRS radios to communicate with one another.  This exercise was useful in many ways, including raising even more questions about the role of these radios in disaster response.

We are so very grateful to each of our Block Captains, and look forward to many more enjoyable gatherings to come!

Tam Valley NRG Network

The Network

Tamalpais Valley is made up of 16 different NRGs, influenced by the Mutual Threat Zones identified by Marin County Fire Service, and further defined by topography and local neighborhood characteristics, as well as the footprint of the Tamalpais Community Services District.  The majority of the NRGs each have between 200 and 300 residences.

Each NRG has multiple Clusters, made up of 10-20 homes and/or businesses, and each Cluster has one to two Block Captains. Our Block Captains are the greatly valued heart of the NRG program.

Live Google Map of the Tam Valley NRG Network

The Tam Valley NRG Network map is best viewed in full screen mode – get there by clicking this icon  in the upper right corner of the map frame. If you zoom into the NRG and cluster where your home is you will see the number of your cluster (such as “MD-12” which stands for Marin Drive NRG, Cluster #12).  If you click on your parcel, you will see a pop-up identifying your address, NRG name and cluster ID#.  
If you have any questions and/or would like more information about stepping up to be a Block Captain, please email: tamvalleynrg@gmail.com.

Tam Valley NRG Steering Committee

Guiding the development of Tam Valley’s NRG Network is the Steering Committee. Contact us here: tamvalleynrg@gmail.com

Ted BaroneTed is a Block Captain, and resident of the Marin Drive NRG. Ted is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Tamalpais Valley Improvement Club.
Frank LeidmanFrank is a Block Captain and a resident of the Northern/Eastwood NRG. Frank has lived with his family here for over 30 years.  A criminal defense lawyer, he recently volunteered with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and the Mill Valley Community Action Network.
Lee BudishLee is a Block Captain and resident of the Erica / Chamberlain NRG. Lee has lived in Tam Valley since 1995, and she also volunteers with the Friend of Mill Valley Public Library and the Mill Valley Masketeers.
Pam is a Block Captain and resident of the Tennessee Valley NRG, and has lived in Mill Valley for over 40 years. She is the Co-Chair of the Mill Valley 94941 CERT Steering Committee, and Board Director of Community Service for the Outdoor Art Club.
Rob RowlandsRob is a Block Captain and resident of the Waterview NRG. A retired electrical engineer originally from New Zealand, Rob has been a radio ham for almost 60 years, and is active with the Marin Sheriff’s RACES organization.
Fred SilvermanFred is a Block Captain and resident of the Pine Hill NRG. He has lived in Tam Valley for 45 years. He also serves on the Marin County Commission on Aging representing Southern Marin.


June 16, 2021

Presented by David Blaza and Rob Rowlands

In the aftermath of a large-scale earthquake, during a Planned Safety Power Outage, or even wide-spread flooding what happens when our infrastructure – cellular and landline – stops working? Remember the loss of cell service during the 2019 PSPS? How can you communicate without cell service, WiFi or landlines for a week or more, particularly if our roads are inaccessible?

David Blaza, Tam Valley NRG Network Steering Committee member, Pine Hill West NRG Block Captain, and CERT, and Rob Rowlands, Waterview NRG Block Captain, are both licensed radio operators and active in the Marin County Sheriff’s Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES.)  During this presentation they introduce the Family Radio Service used by Block Captains and neighbors to communicate in the event of a serious disaster which has disabled our normal systems.

The presentation is followed by a question and answer session.  In response to requests of the attendees, we look forward to hosting a “field training” in the near future.



Tam Valley Sea Level Rise Task Force

Part of the Tam Valley NRG Network

How will sea level rise affect you?

The level of Richardson Bay is expected to rise at least 1 to 2 feet by 2035, which means the low-lying areas of Tam Valley will flood daily.  Flooding will block roads in and out of the valley, homes and businesses will be inundated, and infrastructure will be damaged. Storm surges and king tides will make the flooding even worse.

What can we do about it?

Commit to becoming part of the conversation.  All of us in Tam Valley will continue to be impacted by Sea Level Rise at ever increasing levels.  We need to have a place at the table and an informed voice as decisions are made about our shared fate. Inform yourself. Start by reading Sea Level Rise in Tam Valley – A Primer and examining the accompanying maps: Tam Valley Sea Level Rise Impact Maps.

Visit our Tam Valley Sea Level Rise webpage to learn more.

State of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District – Community Forum November 17, 2020

Hosted by Jim Kasper of Tam Valley Firewise, Deputy Chief Tom Welch and his team provided an update on implementation of Measures C & U, describing the partnership between the Mill Valley and Southern Marin Fire Departments and projects recently implemented and planned for the near future.  Also described was the four-year Shaded Fuel Break project already underway in Tam Valley.

Getting Out Alive: Tam Valley Community Forum on Evacuation – October 29, 2020

Thanks to the many Tam Valley neighbors who attended this Evacuation Forum with Fire Chief Tubbs, Deputy Fire Chief Welch, Division Chief Hilliard, Inspector Nau and Sheriff’s Sergeant Dobbins for an informative presentation and response to questions concerning the practical aspects of evacuation during a Tamalpais Valley wildfire.

Watch the video: “Living Room Chat” with Michael St. John, Battalion Chief, retired, MVFD – Tam Valley Edition

Discussion with Battalion Chief Michael St. John on the following safety topics: – Information about the recent fires, fire department operations and implications for our neighborhood. – What are the guidelines for evacuation, if residents are ordered to leave? – The new vegetation ordinance; what is current status, what questions do you have? – Neighbors Helping Neighbors: we are becoming an NRG (Neighborhood Response Group). What does that mean? – Firewise Community: what does that mean & should we register for that? Emergency Notifications- is everyone signed up for AlertMarin & Nixle?

In the event of an emergency this site is not monitored. For current information go to: