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Emergency alert sent out about pancake breakfast

Oct. 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM
| License Photo

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- A California fire chief said using an automated emergency notification system to promote a charity pancake breakfast was not a misuse of resources.

Some Palo Alto residents said they do not believe the city's fire department should have used the AlertSCC system, which sends out phone calls, text messages and emails about emergency situations, to promote the charity pancake breakfast, the Palo Alto Daily News reported Friday.

"I really appreciate Palo Alto's use of technology to speed urgent communications and community alerts about missing children, etc. Text and automated calls are very useful ways to rapidly communicate. But blanketing us with communications about a pancake breakfast is not only distracting, it undercuts the value of [the emergency notification system]," said resident Erica Schroeder, who said she and her husband received two phone calls, a text message and an email from the system about the breakfast.

Fire Chief Eric Nickel said it was important to get the word out about the event because one of the activities involved a Stanford Life Flight helicopter in a rescue simulation.

"When we land a helicopter in the middle of town, people call 911 because they want to know what's going on," Nickel said.

"Was it a violation of the AlertSCC system?" he said, "The answer is no."

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