For close to a century, firefighters in Marin County have been working together to find the most effective and efficient means of keeping our residents safe. Starting in 1929 with the formation of the Marin County Association of Fire Departments, firefighters throughout the region have been working together to deliver the best fire protection to our residents, visitors, and businesses. It didn’t take long for this association to prove its need. Only a few months after the association’s founding, the massive Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais fire broke out, requiring the response of fire departments from across the county. More than 100 homes were destroyed in the blaze, but within a few months, most of the departments in the county joined the association.
Fast forward nearly 40 years and that early collaboration among fire departments eventually led to the founding of Marin Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1775. It was formed in June 1968 with only 18 members. But it has continued to grow as the profession of firefighting evolved from a common trade often performed by volunteers, to a highly demanding technical career. Our job today is far more complex and technical, requiring more – and more varied – education, training, and dedication to succeed. While the basic tenets of the job still revolve around fighting fires and responding to vehicle wrecks, we’ve found ourselves being stretched into more and more disciplines including emergency medical services, hazardous materials, water rescue, urban search and rescue, and terrorism, among many others.
During this period of unprecedented change, Local 1775 and the International Association of Fire Fighters grew to provide leadership and guidance in professionalism, training, labor relations, safety, and community issues. Today, our association represents more than 400 firefighters from 11 local and county government fire departments and districts. That includes nearly every firefighter from every district, county, and municipal fire department in Marin County. Our members take pride in the community involvement and leadership that Marin firefighters provide locally, statewide, and nationally.
The Marin County Association of Fire Departments formally began on February 15, 1929. The founding members were the fire departments of California Park, San Anselmo, and Kentfield. By the next month, Corte Madera and Mill Valley had joined, with Larkspur and Novato soon to follow. The Association was formed "…for mutual aid and assistance to the various departments, to bring them into a closer relationship, with a central body, where matters could be discussed and acted on for the benefit of all…"
A few months later, the huge Mill Valley and Mt. Tamalpais fire broke out on July 2. This massive fire required mutual aid from around the County. 117 homes were lost, but the event helped illustrate the need for such an Association. By November, most of the other departments had joined, and a very large meeting was hosted at the California Park Fire Department. The Marin County Board of Supervisors recognized the Association in May of 1930 with a formal proclamation.