When the Fairfax emergency siren went off last evening, the switchboard at the lit up with calls from concerned citizens wondering what to do.
Patch did the same, calling the police station to find out what caused the alarm to go off. The dispatcher’s immediate response was, “We’re asking that too!”
The siren, usually used for flood alerts and tested on the first Friday of every month at 11:45 a.m., erupted to life due to unknown causes, according to Sgt. Debra Thune. “It was just a malfunctioning of the alarm.”
"The siren blasted for several minutes last night," said Christine Gralapp of Fairfax. "As I was wondering about the possible impending tsunami or similar catastrophe, I googled San Anselmo/Fairfax to see what precautions I should take--run? Pump up my inflatable boat? Pray?”
Gralapp also told us that her brother called the Fire Department. "A guy answered the phone with one word: 'Malfunction.' I thanked him."
There are two Fairfax alarms, one behind the Town Hall in the public works yard and one on Bolinas Ridge. It’s thought that only the downtown alarm went off with its familiar wailing sound. The cause of the malfunction is still being investigated.
Which brings up the question: What should residents do if there is an actual alarm? The Town of Fairfax has complete information on their website on what to do in case of disaster.
First they should tune to 1610 AM for local information, but those who did heard only white noise - because there was no emergency.
"They should do exactly what they did," said Sgt. Thune. “All residents know to call the police department if they hear the alarm, and it was gratifiying to find that’s just what they did,” she said.
For now, though, chalk it up to an unscheduled test. That worked.