The Palo Alto, Calif. Fire Department used the county emergency alert system last weekend to inform 27,000 residents of a charity pancake breakfast via text message on their phones.
The reason for the AlertSCC message was to make sure that residents knew about a life-flight helicopter landing at a local school, which was part of the event (video below).
Apparently, some nervous residents have actually called 911 in the past when seeing the helicopter.
"When we land a helicopter in the middle of town, people call 911 because they want to know what's going on," Fire Chief Eric Nickel told the San Jose Mercury News.
Chief Nickel referred to the AlertSCC website, which states that people who sign up for the updates will get info about "local events and regional emergencies."
"Was it a violation of the AlertSCC system? The answer is no," said Chief Nickel.
However, some residents complained about the text message because it began with the words, “Pancake Breakfast.”
“We’ll take a look at utilizing some of those other technologies, and possibly reserving the alert SCC for that emergency notification only,” Chief Nickel told CBS San Francisco.
To Chief Nickel's credit there were no 911 calls this time about the helicopter landing.