Around Town | September 24, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 24, 2021

Around Town

TECH ERROR ... When a two-alarm fire broke out Sept. 14 at a Palo Alto home owned by Google co-founder Larry Page, residents were alerted at about 8 p.m. by PulsePoint, a well-known emergency-notification app. But the notification disappeared by 8:45 p.m., despite the raging blaze. The deletion stoked suspicions among some residents that Page was receiving preferential treatment through protected privacy. The reason behind the mysterious removal turns out to have been less sinister, however — at least according to city staff. Rather, it was a tech error. PulsePoint grabs incident information from the police computer-aided dispatch system, which disseminates real-time information to fire and law enforcement. When a dispatcher receives a call, the staffer inputs a code that describes the type of incident. PulsePoint's software picks up the code and sends out information about the incident, said Shannon Smith, vice president of communications for PulsePoint. Deputy Fire Chief Kevin McNally explained further in an email: "Unfortunately, PulsePoint did not have all of our call types built into their system. When the call began as a structure fire, it showed up, because that code was in their system. When it was upgraded to a FULL FIRST (more resources), the call dropped," he wrote, referring to the disappearance of the app listing. "Our technical services division is working with PulsePoint to correct the issue," he said. Strangely, the incident was posted again on PulsePoint later — at 2:52 a.m. the next morning — after additional flames were seen at the Bryant Street home. Those flames were handled by a single apparatus, he added. Unlike the earlier notification, the later one remained on PulsePoint. The cause of the fire was still under investigation as of Wednesday, McNally said.

SHAKING THINGS UP ... We can all agree that earthquakes are a tangible risk and their impacts can turn our world upside down — that's why before the Great California Shakeout, a statewide earthquake drill on Oct. 21, a local contest aims to help residents get prepared for a temblor — and have some fun while they're at it. Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services and the city's Emergency Services Volunteers are teaming up for a ShakeOut contest for people of all ages to submit a photo or video entry in four categories. One challenges people to offer their best expression during an earthquake drill. The contest also is looking for the best hazard hunt video that identifies earthquake hazards. There's also an adults-only category that asks people for their best earthquake story. At stake are prizes, including a $50 gift certificate for adults and a $25 gift certificate for youth. Entries can be emailed to [email protected] (they must include a name and contact information) by Oct. 20. Contestants are encouraged to share their submissions on social media.

UNDER THE MOONLIGHT ... About 1,500 people attended the Moonlight Run & Walk at the Baylands on Sept. 17. The annual fundraising event includes 5k and 10k runs and a half marathon race. Kenji Tella and John Miller, both 17-year-old Palo Altans, took first and second places, respectively, in the 5K run. Jake Seley, 15, of Los Altos, came in third. It was a close finish in the 10K run. Eoin O'Connell, 16, of Palo Alto, topped the 10K run, followed by Chris Holve, 32, also of Palo Alto. Eric Buysse, 34, of Los Altos, secured third place. The half marathon also saw narrow finish times between the top three runners. Adrian Amaral, 32, came in first. Behind him was Andrew Schoenen, 16, of Palo Alto. Emile Choghi, 30, also of Palo Alto, walked away with third place. The event also marked the first year of the annual Parthasarathy Running Free Prize, a monetary award given to the fastest runner in the 70+ age group of the 10K run. The award was created by a local family, who wishes to remain anonymous, in memory of their father. "He ran till he was 83 simply for the pure joy the freedom gave him," the family shared in an email. This year's winner of the Parthasarathy Running Free Prize is Zachary Brandt.


Posted by AnnetteG
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 28, 2021 at 9:04 am

AnnetteG is a registered user.

Hello all
THe email to send photo/video entries to for the Shakeout was incorrect

Please use [email protected]

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