San Carlos

Peninsula Fire Drill Designed to Put People and Technology to the Test

The Redwood Fire Department is holding an evacuation drill Saturday, putting people and technology to the test.

All the trees and vegetation so close to homes makes San Carlos' Crestview neighborhood a high fire-risk area. Emergency officials picked the neighborhood to try a unique fire drill.

On Saturday morning, 50 people who signed up to participate, will get an emergency alert to evacuate.

"You can't count on any route to be open they'll get directions and use those directions we'll meet them at the end," said Geoff Balton from the Redwood City Fire Department.

Emergency planners aren’t telling people the evacuation route or the final meeting place beforehand, wanting to test the alert system and people’s response to it.

"We'll see what works and what doesn't work by actually putting people on the roads," Balton said.

Some residents expect evacuation routes will get jammed.

"Trying to get down Brittan it would be crazy if everyone was evacuating we'd have to go on foot," said San Carlos resident Martha D'amico.

The fire department is hoping the small-scale drill will help improve planning and response for the real thing.

"Sets us up for success in the future," Balton said.

People who are part of the drill will take a survey afterward and the fire department will take that feedback and its observations back to the planning table.

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