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Fire Department Public Education Message--Importance of knowing when to use 911
Mill Valley Fire Department recognizes juvenile for her quick action
Posted Date: 5/9/2013 9:30 AM

This month the Mill Valley Fire Department would like to recognize seven year-old Novato resident Mahila for her quick actions in calling 911 on a recent residential home fire in her Grandmother’s Mill Valley neighborhood.

Mahila was reading a book when she noticed black smoke coming from a neighbors’ garage, the result of leftover paint and other flammable materials.

She yelled for her grandmother, but heard no response so she took the initiative to call 911. The 2nd grader states she had received some training on how to call 911 through school and from her big brother who had recently seen a Fire Prevention video.

Mahila said she understands the importance knowing when and why to call 911 and plans to pass on her knowledge to her younger siblings. “Mahila performed great under pressure and sets the standard that we, as parents, should strive to achieve in our children,” says Battalion Chief Michael St. John.

At her school, word spread of her heroic actions. She has taken her new fame in stride as children from her school turned the event into a learning opportunity by developing a book that tells her story.

Please click here to see a news video about the incident and Mahila’s courageous acts.

Battalion Chief St. John, Mahila, Firefighter/Paramedic Pasquale.jpg

 Fires today spread much more rapidly due to the common use of plastic and synthetic materials. Residents can prepare for fires by maintaining smoke alarms and properly placing them throughout their home. Residents with children in the home should also have a family fire escape plan and to practice it often.

Fire officials find that many homes have some amount of unnecessary combustible, flammable and hazardous materials in the way of paints, solvents and debris left over from household projects. These materials will greatly accelerate a fire in the home and are very dangerous. Mill Valley Fire Department strongly advocate keeping only small amounts of these products on your property and encourage taking any unnecessary hazardous materials to Marin Resource Recovery in San Rafael for free disposal, please click here for further information.

Mill Valley Fire Department staff is readily available to conduct home visits and answer questions. Please contact us at 415/389-4100 or email:

We also have several excellent community education programs that include CERT and Get Ready. Please visit for emergency preparedness tips, classes, fire safety information and to sign up for public safety related email notifications.


For further information,  please click here on the City's Emergency Preparedness Commission.

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