News

Oops! East Palo Alto 'evacuation' alarm was false

An automated telephone alert warns residents to evacuate at 4:59 p.m. today -- but they didn't mean it

East Palo Alto residents received an alarming phone call at 4:59 p.m. on Tuesday after the city's automated dial-up alert system told residents to evacuate. But it was a false alarm.

The message was a replay of the Sept. 9 San Bruno fire evacuation alert that the dial-up system contractor, "First Call," dispatched to San Bruno residents, residents who received the message said.

The message from the San Mateo County Sheriff told residents of a voluntary evacuation and location of an evacuation center. It mentioned the San Bruno fire. But on some residents' message machines, only part of the recording was picked up. Those residents only heard about an evacuation but did not know it pertained to the San Bruno fire, they said.

Police dispatch confirmed that the message was in error and said the department was calling people back trying to notify residents.

The message was actually supposed to inform residents of a city-wide "water master plan" meeting on Oct. 19. That message was sent at 6:11 p.m.

At 7:49 p.m. the Office of Emergency Services contacted residents and canceled the evacuation alert and apologized for the error.

Police did not say the reason for the error.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by amazing
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

i cannot beleive this!! first EPA was never invited then now they are being toyed with and being used to find out and see if their emergency system works.. i smell something rotten here, wow. PG&E thanks...if it were Palo Alto they would be up at arms about this


Like this comment
Posted by lilian
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm

the police department told me that the alarm is broken and they are trying to fix it


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Salt & Straw Palo Alto to open Nov. 23
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 4,104 views

Lakes and Larders (part 2)
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,412 views

Can we ever improve our schools?
By Diana Diamond | 7 comments | 1,128 views