Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting past blockades

I'm back in California and breathing a sigh of relief.  Not only am I home and back in the space that I know best but my grandchild is making a miraculous recovery.  Baby will be hospitalized for another month or so but that's ok, as breathing is now done with lungs and not a ventilator. 

In one of my blogs from Texas I mentioned that some of my clothing was work related.  It seems no matter where I go I come upon someone in need of rescuing.  In this case a vehicle ran off the road and into a six foot high rock wall.  I stopped, checked to see if anybody needed immediate care, calmed the situation, waited for the local FD to show up, then left.  One problem with doing this is you don't know who you are dealing with.  Is the person strung out on drugs?  Are they violent?  You have to do a quick assessment of the situation before you put yourself into something like that.  It's easy to just drive by, especially when not in a marked vehicle.  On the other hand, if I was in an accident and needed help I certainly would hope that someone would stop if they had the skills to help.

I want to talk about evacuations of neighborhoods.  Let's say there is a fire coming your way and your neighborhood is getting evacuated.  Do you have to go?  No.  But, if you have children and you don't evacuate you may be charged with child endangerment.  If you bring your children somewhere you will probably not be able to return to your house.  What do you do? 

You need to assess your house.  Is it defendable?  If so, then stay and help defend.  If you have kids and you don't evacuate them you better keep them inside.  Can you do this for a week or two or three?  Usually evacuations are not because you are going to die if you stay, often it's because people get in the way of the responders.  They clog the roads and put the responders in danger. 

What if you are away from home and need to get back in?  On large fires firefighters come from all over in rental vehicles so not all vehicles on the fire will be government vehicles.  Your vehicle can look like one of these vehicles if you and your vehicle look the part.  If you are trying to get past the police blockade you just need to look the part and they will waive you through.  Do you have nomex and a hardhat in your vehicle if you live in a fire prone area?  Do you have a small bottle of white shoe polish in your vehicle?  FOBS (field observer) or Safety (safety officer) are both line positions that change every day.  If you are dressed properly and you have your vehicle marked properly you will get through.  Other ways to get past the line in the beginning of an evacuation is to tell them that you have children home alone and you need to get them. 

Should you do this?  It's up to you because if you get caught you can get into trouble.  On the other hand, if you feel the need to protect your property then you do what you need to do.

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