In April of this year, Facebook and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District came to agreement on terms related to impact mitigation efforts and community benefits associated with expanding beyond 3600 employees for its East Campus located at Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road in the City of Menlo Park. Under the agreement, Facebook worked with District representatives to address important safety issues that would provide funds for enhanced fire and emergency services not just for itself but also the community and Fire District.
Last week Facebook sent the Fire District a check for $150,000 to make good on that agreement and promise. The funds will be applied towards upgrading or installing an emergency traffic light pre-emption system on 25 traffic signals that sit between four of the seven Menlo Park Fire Protection Fire Stations located on Fair Oaks Avenue in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood, Chilco Avenue in Eastern Menlo Park, Middlefield and Willow Road in Menlo Park and along University Avenue in East Palo Alto.
Traffic pre-emption devices allow a fire engine, or emergency vehicle, to turn the traffic signal from red to green as that vehicle is approaching the signal while responding to any emergency incident, essentially improving response times, limiting delays, creating a safer route of travel for fire personnel and improving overall service delivery to the entire community.
Ten of the signals are currently equipped with older devices that will be upgraded and 15 additional signals will need to be enhanced with the newer devices which cost around $7,000 each.
Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman, who helped negotiate the deal with Facebook said “we worked hard together to established a very progressive approach to identifying safety enhancements. The bottom line was, if it made practical sense for the community, Facebook and the Fire District and it was to all three’s best interests and benefit, then we agreed it a was a winner and it went on the list”.