Around the city: a technical error leads to an emergency notification for the disappearance of a fire | New

Firefighters’ vehicles in a house on Bryant Street where a large fire burned at the back of the residence in Palo Alto on September 15, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

In the latest Round Town column, explain why an emergency notification for a September 14 fire at a home owned by Larry Page went missing and a community contest in support of the Great California Shakeout.

TECHNICAL ERROR … When a two-alarm fire broke out on September 14 at a house in Palo Alto owned by Google co-founder Larry Page, residents were alerted around 8 p.m. by Pulse point, a well-known emergency notification app. But the notification disappeared at 8:45 p.m., despite the raging fire.

The deletion fueled suspicions among some residents that Page was receiving preferential treatment through privacy protection. The reason for the mysterious withdrawal, however, turns out to be less grim – at least according to city staff. It was more of a technical error.

PulsePoint retrieves incident information from the police computer-assisted dispatch system, which broadcasts real-time information to firefighters and law enforcement. When a dispatcher receives a call, the staff member enters a code that describes the type of incident. PulsePoint’s software retrieves the code and sends information about the incident, said Shannon Smith, vice president of communications for PulsePoint.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Kevin mcnally explained later in an email: “Unfortunately, PulsePoint didn’t have all of our call types built into their system. When the call started as a structure fire, it showed up because this code was in their system. When it was upgraded to a FULL FIRST (no more resources) the call was dropped, “he wrote, referring to the apps list disappearing. “Our technical services division is working with PulsePoint to correct the problem,” he said.


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Margie D. Carlisle

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