Chip­ping in:

Face­book’s Safety Check al­lows users to note they’re safe, check on oth­ers

The Mercury News - - Front Page - By Levi Su­ma­gaysay lsuma­gaysay@ ba­yare­anews­

Tech gi­ants pitch in to help with wild­fire re­lief ef­forts, in­clud­ing a Face­book fea­ture to let oth­ers know you’re safe.

As Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires rage north and south and more than 100,000 res­i­dents have been forced to flee their homes, some of the state’s big­gest tech com­pa­nies are do­ing what they can to help.

Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook tweeted Fri­day morn­ing that Ap­ple is do­nat­ing to re­lief ef­forts.

“Pray­ing for the safety of our neigh­bors, loved ones and all those af­fected by the rapidly spread­ing fires in Cal­i­for­nia,” Cook said on Twit­ter. “We’re grate­ful to the fire­fight­ers and first re­spon­ders work­ing to keep every­one safe. Ap­ple is do­nat­ing to re­lief ef­forts for North­ern & South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.”

Ap­ple on Fri­day did not re­turn re­quests for

more in­for­ma­tion about its dona­tion.

Face­book has ac­ti­vated its Safety Check fea­ture, which al­lows users to mark them­selves safe, check on their friends or loved ones, or of­fer help and ser­vices to those who have been af­fected by the fires.

Face­book turned on Safety Check on Thurs­day af­ter­noon for the Camp Fire in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and Fri­day morn­ing for the Woolsey Fire in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, a spokes­woman said.

Google CEO Sun­dar Pichai tweeted Fri­day af­ter­noon about what his com­pany is do­ing.

“We are mo­bi­liz­ing to sup­port those im­pacted by the #Camp­Fire, #Hil­lFire and #WoolseyFire with SOS Alerts, and com­mit­ting re­sources from @ Google­org to aid those in need,” he said.

A Google spokes­woman said Fri­day the com­pany is try­ing to de­ter­mine which or­ga­ni­za­tions it will sup­port. She also pointed to’s $1 mil­lion dona­tion, an­nounced in late Oc­to­ber, to the First Re­spon­der Sup­port Net­work. It’s a Bay Area non­profit that seeks to help fire­fight­ers and other first re­spon­ders who are suf­fer­ing stress and trauma from do­ing their jobs.

Cisco on Fri­day launched a dona­tion cam­paign in which it

will match em­ployee do­na­tions of up to $25,000 to ben­e­fit the Amer­i­can Red Cross. The com­pany will ad­just its re­sponse based on new in­for­ma­tion and em­ployee re­sponse, a spokes­woman said. In­tel is also match­ing em­ployee do­na­tions.

As for Twit­ter, the com­pany said through a spokes­woman that it is “us­ing our plat­form to am­plify crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion from re­spon­ders and lo­cal news while the fire zone is still ac­tive. We

will look at ways to sup­port the re­lief ef­fort as the sit­u­a­tion de­vel­ops.”

Mean­while, HP En­ter­prise pointed to its long­time sup­port of the Red Cross Dis­as­ter Re­spon­der Pro­gram, and said through a spokesman that its hu­man re­sources de­part­ment is con­tact­ing em­ploy­ees to see if they have been af­fected and need help.

A GoFundMe spokes­woman said that its page for ver­i­fied fundrais­ing cam­paigns for fire vic­tims,­i­for­ni­afires, will be up­dated reg­u­larly.

Last year, Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pa­nies also pitched in dur­ing the Wine Coun­try fires in the Bay Area. Among them were Ap­ple and Face­book, which each do­nated $1 mil­lion to re­lief ef­forts. Ap­ple also matched em­ployee do­na­tions. Google gave $500,000.


A fire­fighter knocks down a wall in a burn­ing home as he tries to keep flames from spread­ing to a neigh­bor­ing apart­ment com­plex dur­ing the Camp Fire in Par­adise.

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