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Truely disturbing....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by monkeyman, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I turned on the news last night and the lead story was that a building had colapsed about an hour before in the town about 15 miles south of us and 10 folks were trapped inside. There had been cell phone contact with some confirming 9 of them were still alive.

    Its not a big city, just big enouph to rate a Wallmart and a hand full of fast food joints and so on, basicly big enouph to have a real fire department but only one and it was mentioned they were useing some volunteer help at least at first and calling on construction companies with heavy equiptment for help. I called my boss who has a truck mounted crain that we use with tree work and so on and had him call to see if they needed it and I called the nonemergency number listed for their police to see if they needed more hands, no one there knew if they needed help or not. So I grabbed some gear that would be useful includeing rope rigging gear, chain saw, 6' pry bar, water bottles and half a dozen spare hardhats and the head lamp, tossed it in the truck and headed down to see if could be of any help.

    Once I got there they had the roads blocked a couple of blocks away so asked the hiway patrole officer directing trafic if they needed more hands as I gave a brief rundown of what I had to offer but he also had no idea what they needed and was only able to tell me I could park there and go find out. So I did. I ran into a couple firefighters walking the other way and all they knew was they werent letting firefighters in untill they got it shored up, asked a cop up by the scene and he also didnt know anything, an SUV from another firedepartment pulled up and aske a lady who appeared to be doing some kind of coordination where his unit was so he could join them and she could only ask another firefighter who seemed to be somewhat incharge who could only tell him, "Im not sure but I think theyre around back someplace". I asked the lady and she also didnt know so I asked the firefighter she had defered to and he was able to tell me they had all the hands they needed including on sight or in route specialests from 100 miles or so off who taught how to deal with these kind of situations.

    What I found disturbing as hell was the fact that this is the size of town that should be the best prepaired for problems since they are large enouph to have some resources but still small enouph to not be incumbered by to much gov to be able to coordinate, and yet about 2 hours after a disaster that had no impact on comunications or anything like that no one realy seemed to be in charge or know what was needed, what they had, where their assets were or much of anything else and if there was anyone in this position then at the very least they were not comunicating with the rest of the folks working the scene even enouph for them to know who was in charge, where they were or where to direct question or assets.

    I already knew that no gov be it local, state, fed or whatever should ever be relied on for help for any massive problem but would have thought they would at least be able to deal with coordinating a reasonably minor disaster, instead the entire thing seemed to be nothing but one huge clusterfuck.

    Im thinking will definatly have to try to make it to one of the next town meetings, even though our town is so tiny it only has a volunteer fire dept with 2 trucks and no full time police, and find out if they have any kind of a plan to deal with things like that as far as at least knowing who is in charge of coordination and who is supposed to be doing what. At the scene there it clearly apeared that noone really knew just what they were supposed to be doing or where they were supposed to be.

    How about your town/comunity? Do you know who would be in charge or how things would get done?
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    ooOOOOooo... That's a bee in my bonnet!
    [rnt]There are a small handful of guys in our local fire dep't with strong knowledge and leadership skills. Given a true emergency, I doubt that they would be allowed to be in charge (if only because that's how things seem to work more often than not). Our city leaders are clueless. I gave the mayor more information than she bargained for about our town's lack of preparedness and I was appalled at the lack of concern about public safety from our small governmental body (tho' I probably shouldn't have been). The town counsel members have re-scheduled their personal CERT training three times (last I checked) and have still yet to obtain it.

    The CERT class I was scheduled for in January? Cancelled for lack of students and is to be given in August or September. All I could say was "I hope and pray that there's no need for those skills before late summer."

    The once-active fire/emergency alarm, posted on a tall pole, city center (which can be heard by our rural citizens as well) hasn't been tested or used in well over 10 years (used to be a Tuesday evening regularity).

    Our fire department is mostly volunteer and the city's north and south sides are divided by train tracks - which could easily keep the fire equipment on the south side.[rnt]

    I'm sorry for your frustrating experience, MM and pray for those who were trapped. I hope that this will be an attention-getter for the preparedness of your town and they improve their status. Best wishes for your stand at the town meeting. Go get 'em!

    Did they get everyone out okay?
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Good points MM. Really good points. I think that most areas would be clusterf*cuks waiting to happen. Thanks for stepping up to the plate. I hope that we all we be willing to when we see others that need our help.
  4. Bogie

    Bogie Monkey+++

    Its a sad fact that the chain of comand in situations like this usually suck. As a city Fire Lieutenant with enuff certifications to wallpaper a small house there are times where I am not the inci dent comander do to officers with more time on the job than I on sceene. But as I tell the new guys & any one intrested in learning there are free online classes availble throu
    FEMA & the
    US Fire Adminstration
  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well, dont know yet what the status is on our town, my town is a little fly spec and the colapse was at a town 15 miles south of us a lot bigger than ours. There was some confusion in the reports if it was 9 or 10 people trapped but they knew 9 were trapped and alive, turns out there were 10 and the 10th died, the other 9 all made it out alive.

    I know there is always some level of confusion in an emergency since no 2 are the same thing and so only the basic skills can be practiced or trained for but I realy was shocked that more than 2 hours in and in an area with full time emergency workers that no one even knew (or if any of them not asked specificaly knew they didnt offer the info) who was in charge, who to ask what was needed and so on. I mean even if things were well organized I would not expect all folks on scene to know all of what was going on and what all was needed and such but they should at least have someone who knows and everyone should know to send questions, assets, etc to them.
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