Boulder Creek Fire Protection District will launch a weekly test of the main station’s siren every Tuesday night at 7pm beginning on July 2. (Contributed)

For years, the motto of the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District (BCFPD) has been, “Yours when the siren sounds.” Now, residents of Boulder Creek can expect to hear that siren a little more regularly.

According to Chief Mark Bingham, BCFPD will be launching a weekly test of the main station’s siren every Tuesday night at 7pm beginning on July 2. Until recently, the siren has only been deployed during a few events each year: announcing the start of fundraisers like the July 4th Pancake Breakfast and when honoring the passing of a member of BCFPD.

Bingham said the CZU Fire created a need to test the siren more frequently, and the BCFPD Board of Directors determined that a weekly test would be appropriate.

“We want to put out a public safety notice to advise the community that these tests will be weekly and ongoing,” Bingham said.

Previously, the siren was tested quarterly, but with the onslaught of emergency events affecting the town, the move to a weekly deployment made sense.

In addition to sounding the siren every Tuesday night (which used to be a tradition to announce the start of the department’s weekly fire drill), the siren will also be set off to alert residents to large-scale safety issues, including disasters and emergencies.

Chief Bingham wants to remind residents not to call 911 when the siren sounds.

“When folks hear the sirens outside of our traditional announcement and testing procedures, we ask those in our service area to tune into KBCZ 89.3 FM, KSCO 1080 AM or KSCO 104.1 FM and local TV stations for further information,” he said. “Use 911 for emergencies only.”

As far as the weekly testing, Bingham said the department wants local folks to become familiar with the sound, and realize that it’s an emergency warning device.

“Be aware, use your devices to obtain more information, and remain calm,” he said.

The tone of the siren will be the same regardless of the reason for its deployment, so Bingham is hoping that when the siren is sounded during another time, it will alert residents to seek additional information.

“During the CZU Fire, folks who evacuated as instructed never heard the siren, but anyone who stayed behind heard it, which resulted in another 100-200 residents leaving the area,” Bingham said.

With the frequency of power outages and PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), residents can be left in the dark—literally and figuratively—in the event of an emergency, rendering their televisions, radios and cell phones unusable.

“Sounding the siren is yet another way to alert the public to an emergency event that requires their immediate attention and response,” Bingham said. “It’s not to tell you what direction to drive for evacuation, and it won’t alert you to the type of emergency (mudslide versus wildland fire versus structure fire), but it’s a warning device that will hopefully alert residents to be ready.”

The weekly testing of the department’s siren will only include one cycle of the siren, while department personnel using the siren for emergency notifications will deploy it for seven cycles. 

As far as its reach, Bingham said it’s fairly robust around the area.

“Most of Brookdale, including the south end of our district, can hear the siren. It’s audible and loud up to the golf course and China Grade region, and north to the Redwood Elementary School area and Mitchell Road. Going east, it can be heard out to Charlie Lane and the Locatelli Ranch area, so it does a pretty good job of getting to the edges of the borders, but you’ll always have people tucked in behind the mountain where the sound doesn’t travel well,” Bingham said. “Down the road, I see us creating a feedback poll from the community where we ask them if they heard the siren in their area, but that’s a ways off.”

In the interim, Bingham encourages residents to use social media, including, to learn more about this new testing system.

“Our goal is to ensure that our residents are made aware and kept safe during emergencies,” he said.

For more information and to support the department’s public safety efforts, visit

Previous articleCeremony celebrates launch of Damians Ladder
Next articleFinance | For the Love of Stocks
Christina Wise covers politics, education, art & culture, and housing issues. She has a degree in Communication from San Diego State University, and has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley since 1996. She's a community advocate and a mother of two.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here