The following article was written by Kevin Kelly at San Jose Mercury News. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Menlo Park: Fire district zeroes in on hot spots

MENLO PARK — The fire department is taking a novel approach to fire safety.

In the past, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District has given away smoke detectors as part of its outreach efforts, but Chief Harold Schapelhouman isn’t “a big fan of the giveaway,” not knowing if the detectors actually get installed.

So this year, the district is partnering with the American Red Cross, which is providing Kidde detectors with 10-year batteries and actually going in and installing the detectors. Also new this year is a focus on areas with a history of conflagrations.

Which brings in the novel aspect: The district is using maps provided by Citygate Associates, the contractor that recently helped the district update its emergency response guidelines. In particular, a map titled, “Structure Fire Hot Spots,” shows two areas prone to fires — one centered at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks and the other along Newbridge Street between Willow and Bay roads in East Palo Alto.

“I was impressed with (the maps’) ability to analytically allow us to use this information as a tool to focus on specific geographic areas and risk categories, giving us the opportunity to reduce or better prepare residents for emergencies in specific targeted areas,” Schapelhouman said in a news release.



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