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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Journey through CERT: Week 3


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Santa Clara County firefighters participate in a cribbing demonstration during last week’s CERT class in Los Altos Hills.

Town Crier staff writer and photographer Ellie Van Houtte chronicles her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in Los Altos Hills. Following is the third in her six-part series.

 

Movies and TV series make burning fires look dangerous but not impossible to extinguish. But unlike staged sequences – manipulated by controlled factors and performed by trained stunt actors – real fires can be quite lethal, both to firefighters and victims.

The lungs are among the most delicate parts of the body, and a single breath of hot air from a blazing fire can cause immediate death, according to El Monte Fire Station firefighters who serve as CERT class instructors in Los Altos Hills.

Week three of CERT training addressed how firefighters respond to emergencies and how volunteer disaster service workers like me should react when faced with crisis situations within our control. Although knowing how to use a fire extinguisher or lift a heavy object off an injured person may seem intuitive, CERT exercises provide those with little experience an opportunity to learn the ropes.

Wearing a green helmet and goggles (protective gear is key for CERT participants), I navigated my way into and out of an emergency scenario last week. In addition to learning how to shut off a gas valve, I paired up with a classmate to extinguish a small fire.

Using the PASS technique – Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep – I deployed an air-pressurized water extinguisher to douse a staged fire that simulated burning wood or a similar solid material. The intense experience required my full attention as I tried to follow the instructions in my training manual. For a kitchen fire or industrial fire with additional hazards, the method for putting out the fire would differ.

Cribbing – stabilizing a person or object so that it cannot slide, fall or move – was also a new concept. Although CERT trailers are equipped with wedges, blocks and two-by-fours that are ideal for cribbing, tree limbs and objects found in a garage or backyard could be substituted. The primary objective of the exercise is to create a stable foundation for distributing weight and to use leveraging to elevate the impeding object off a trapped element.

Regardless of how dire, I learned that I should never attempt to respond to a situation that exceeds my capacity – the risk just doesn’t match the reward. My preparedness and resourcefulness may never meet that of firefighters staffing the medically equipped Rescue 14 engine in Los Altos Hills, trained to mobilize from arrival on site within 60 seconds.

According to one of the El Monte Fire Station firefighters, Rescue 14 is always staffed with at least one certified emergency medical services firefighter, who can provide “early intervention in medical emergency to complement the limited ambulance system.”

Van Houtte’s report on disaster psychology and light search and rescue is scheduled to appear in next week’s Town Crier. To read Week 1 and Week 2 in the series, click through to the links.

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