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Does MP have an emergency warning system?

Original post made by Kathy, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks, on Apr 8, 2007

Yesterday, the huge scrap yard fire in Redwood City filled our community with stinky black smoke. Regardless of whether this smoke is toxic (as pondered by some news outlets), clearly breathing such smoke isn't healthy.

Both Bayfront Park (city) and Flood Park (county) were evacuated and closed. Menlo Park police drove around the Suburban Park neighborhood (and perhaps others) using loudspeakers to let people know it would be best to stay indoors.

This demands a significant amount of resources, both police staff and fuel — and most likely didn't reach everyone it should have.

Does Menlo Park have any kind of system for warning residents of emergencies? What if the problem had been a deadly, odorless gas?

My guess is that Menlo Park does not have an automated phone warning system like our larger neighbors, Redwood City and Palo Alto have.

Ages ago, I signed up for the City's email update system, which promises "updates on events, news, projects, and more." I've never received any messages from this system.

It seems to me that yesterday would have been a great time to use these email updates to warn all residents that outdoor activities might be dangerous while the smoke was lingering. It wouldn't reach most residents as quickly as a phone call, but it might be the best system we have.

I wish it had been used yesterday, even if only as practice for what might someday be a real emergency.

Comments (3)

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2007 at 9:42 am

I am also concerned that there is no warning system in Menlo Park. It was difficult to find information about the toxic smoke on Saturday. Minimally Menlo Park should have a website where residents could find official information, in addition to the email notiification system to alert residents. The Almanac Online could also be a good resource. On Saturday I found KCBS radio and had the most current information.

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Posted by ResearchBeforeSpewing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Kathy, Concerned,

As Kathy noted in her post, the Menlo Park email system is for "updates on events, news, projects, and more." It is NOT an ALERT system for EMERGENCIES.

Seeing as we also live in San Mateo County, you should sign up for EMERGENCY ALERTS (Email and/or text to your phone) for cities in San Mateo County here: Web Link

There are links from that site for those that live in SF and Marin Counties also.

I received 2 emails on my computer and 2 text alerts on my phone last Saturday all pertaining to the Redwood City fire.

Unfortunately Kathy, not everyone that lives around us owns computers and cell phones, so the Police "staff and fuel costs" ARE a necessity, and most likely reached more people than the SMC Alert system.

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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 11, 2007 at 10:43 am


Thanks for the link to the County's alert systems. I'm glad to know they were on top of the Redwood City fire situation.

It's true that MP's email system doesn't promise to send emergency alerts - though you might expect this to fit under the "and more" category.

Still, I haven't received a single email of ANY KIND through this system. Is it being used for anything?

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