Friday, November 30, 2012

SF Bay Area Sandbag Locations. #CaFlood #CaWx #CaRain


- Dept. of Public Works, 2323 Cesar Chavez Blvd. (7 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

City of Burlingame beginning Thursday, November 29th through Sunday, December 2, 2012. Sand bags will be available to citizens free of charge on California Drive, Burlingame and Rhinette Avenue, Burlingame.

- Municipal Service Center, 7101 Edgewater Drive
- Drainage Division Facility, 5921 Shepherd Canyon Road.
20 sandbags and 50 feet of plastic sheeting available to each household and business.
- City Fire Stations
Limit of five sandbags per household can be picked up at the following fire stations: 3,6,7,8,10,16,17,20,21,26 and 28 .
- City of Pleasanton Service Center, 3333 Busch Road

East County
- Byron Airport, 500 Eagle Court, Byron
- Antioch Fairgrounds, adjacent to Delta Raceway – 1201 West 10th Street, Antioch
- Ambrose Park and Recreation Center / CCC Family Service Center, 3105 Willow Pass Road, Bay Point
West County
- West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
Central County
- Contra Costa Fire Protection District, Station 4, 700 Hawthorne Drive, Walnut Creek
- Across from Contra Costa County fuel station, 2467 Waterbird Way, Martinez

San Anselmo
- Sunny Hills Drive at the tennis courts across from the Red Hill Shopping Center

No self-service sandbag operations underway at this time, service will be provided if any kind of Flood Watch or Warning is issued for the City of Napa section of the NapaRiver or its tributaries inside the City.
Regularly- scheduled self-service sandbag operation will take place this Saturday, December 1, at the Corp Yard at 770 Jackson Street from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sand and sandbags are provided at no charge to those who wish to keep them on hand this winter in case of flooding. Residents should bring a shovel and gloves and be prepared to fill and transport their own bags.

- Northern end of Hopper Street, near Shamrock Materials
Residents and business owners can help themselves to the sandbags as needed.

OT: Feds deny oyster farm lease renewal in California

Feds deny oyster farm lease renewal in California

JASON DEAREN - Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- An historic Northern California oyster farm along Point Reyes National Seashore will be shut down and the site converted to a wilderness area, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced on Thursday.
Salazar said he will not renew the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. lease that expires Friday. The move will bring a close to a yearslong environmental battle over the site.
"After careful consideration of the applicable law and policy, I have directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. to expire and to return the Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976," Salazar said in a statement.
Salazar visited the oyster farm last week and said he did not make the decision lightly.
Point Reyes National Seashore was added to the national parks system by Congress in 1962, and protects more than 80 miles of California coastline.
The Interior secretary also has the power to lease the park's lands for dairy and cattle-ranching purposes. Currently there are 15 beef and dairy ranches operating along the Point Reyes seashore. Those ranches will remain open under the decision Thursday.
Oyster farm owner Kevin Lunny, whose family also operates one of the cattle ranches, said he was disappointed by the decision and was still trying to figure out his next move. He had been asking for a 10-year extension of his lease.
"This is going to be devastating to our families, our community and our county," Lunny said. "This is wrong beyond words in our opinion."
He said Salazar called to tell him about the decision.
Lunny bought the oyster company in 2004, knowing the lease expired in 2012. But his lawyers felt an extension could be negotiated, so he decided to take on the fight.
The company will have to remove its property from park land and waters within 90 days. Because the lease was set to expire, the company gets no compensation for the decision.
Salazar did not stop all commercial activities in the park. He sought to extend the terms of the cattle ranch leases from 10 to 20 years.
"Ranching operations have a long and important history on the Point Reyes peninsula and will be continued at Point Reyes National Seashore," he said.
Environmentalists and the National Park Service said the farm's operations threatened nearby harbor seals and other native species. The area is a key pupping site for the seals.
The oyster farm had many powerful allies who fought vociferously on its behalf. Many hailed the oyster operation as an example of sustainable aquaculture and the local foods movement.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and the National Academy of Sciences claimed park officials were trying to get rid of the oyster farm by exaggerating its negative impacts on the environment.
On Thursday, Feinstein said she was extremely disappointed by the decision by Salazar that will put 30 people out of work.
"The National Park Service's review process has been flawed from the beginning with false and misleading science," she said in a statement.
To resolve the dispute over the seals, more than $1 million in taxpayer money was spent on environmental assessment studies, according to records. That study was used by Salazar to make his final decision.
California's other senator, Barbara Boxer, voiced support for Salazar's choice, saying he made his decision based on science and law.
Conservationists rejoiced at the move, saying it will return one of the few coastal wildernesses in the country to its natural state.
"Protecting Drakes Estero, America's only West Coast marine wilderness park, will restore health -- and hope -- for the ocean and for the interests of all of the people of this country," oceanographer Sylvia Earle said.

Source: AP - Link
Note: The Lunny Family has been friends with my family for many years.

How Recent Marijuana Legislation Could Affect Fire Department Policy

How Recent Marijuana Legislation Could Affect Fire Department Policy

Nov. 19, 2012 by Dominick Swinhart in Mutual Aid

  Amidst the fervor of the race for president, voters quietly weighed in on two state initiatives (although they're getting more press now that national elections have quieted down).
In Washington, voters considered I-502, the so-called "marijuana reform" initiative. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state for years; this initiative would completely legalization of the drug. The state would be allowed to tax and sell it, and anyone over the age of 21 could buy it. If passed, marijuana theoretically would be no more difficult to buy than alcohol.
In the months leading up to the election, opponents bought ads in newspapers and on television that warned of catastrophic societal impacts if the law was passed. The voters of Washington apparently didn't believe it, and on Nov. 6, they approved the law by a wide margin. Colorado voters passed a similar law on election night.
Since election night, I've received several e-mails from colleagues around the country wondering how our department is going to implement strict restrictions on marijuana usage among firefighters now that its use is legal by state law. The simple answer is we aren't and we have no plans to.
In discussing the potential impact with our human-resources department, it's likely we'll treat firefighter marijuana use the same we do alcohol. As long as you're not letting it affect your job, getting in to legal trouble because of it, or showing up to work under the influence, there's likely no issue my administration or municipality is going to have with it. The voters have said it's to be treated no differently than alcohol, so why should I?
Also, it's quite unlikely we could create a policy to ban something that's completely legal outside the walls of the fire station. We could certainly tell them they can't do it on duty (just like alcohol), but once they go home they fall under societal laws. I'm told there could be an issue with employees who require a commercial driver's license and marijuana usage due to federal regulations, but firefighters in Washington aren't required to have one, so this won't be an issue in our department.
We're still in a little bit of an unknown period right now in Washington before the law takes effect. Marijuana still is illegal under federal law. Most observers agree, however, that while the federal government could likely take down sellers if they wanted to, they can't force the state to arrest and prosecute users. Indeed prosecutors around the state are beginning to drop most pending marijuana possession cases and have indicated they won't accept any more so long as the possession meets state law.
Some national pundits are saying this movement by Colorado and Washington could slowly transform marijuana laws across the entire country. Fire chiefs around the country should be prepared if a movement begins in your state. We don't plan on changing the way we do business or placing more restrictions on our firefighters. What would you do?
Dominick Swinhart is the fire chief of the Camas-Washougal Fire Department in Camas, Wash.

LACoFD Fire Camp Graduation:

  Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Will Train 700 Inmates Per Year through Inmate Fire Camp Training Facility

Inaugural Inmate Fire Training Camp Class Graduates

 On Monday, November 19, 2012, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department held a graduation ceremony for the first two classes of inmates assigned to the newly-formed Inmate Fire Camp Training Facility. 

The Inmate Fire Camp Training Facility is a joint venture between the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. These inmates are part of the State Realignment Plan (AB109), which places lower security level inmates who are non-violent, non-serious crime and non-sexual offenders in the custody of local law enforcement agencies. Many of the inmates, who would normally fill the ranks of state inmate wildland fire crews, are now in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

 To help fill the vacancies in the five Los Angeles County inmate fire camps, the Sheriff’s Department was tasked with selecting, screening, and physically training the first 110 inmates chosen for the program in two phases.

Phase one consisted of several months of arduous physical training. During this time, the inmates were under constant supervision by nine Sheriff’s Deputies and two Sergeants. On average, the inmates hiked three to six miles a day throughout the hills and fire trails surrounding the 2,600 acre Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. During their down time, many of the inmates participated in education-based incarceration classes and also had the opportunity to earn their General Education Diploma (GED). Additionally, 60 inmates have participated in a state-approved culinary and safe food handler’s class, receiving a certificate which should aid them in obtaining a job in the food industry upon their release.

Phase two consisted of an intensive two-week, 80-hour, training program which encompassed fire behavior, fire line safety, the use of hand tools and daily written tests. The Fire Department has a long history of educating and providing experience to fire camp inmates. The training program emphasized teamwork and dedication to serving the community. Once trained, 14-man crews are available to respond to fire lines and other natural disasters. “We instilled in them the same sense of preparedness and orderliness that we have in the fire service,” said Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“Just like our paid fire camp crews, we helped them build the camaraderie and pride that comes from being part of a team. We hope that these new skills and outlook will go with these inmates as they are released from the program and rebuild their lives.”

Fire camp inmates receive a two for one sentence reduction, as well as $1 per day. When inmates are assigned to a brush fire they receive an additional $1 per hour.

The Sheriff’s and Fire Department expect to train 500 to 700 inmates per year in this program. Sheriff Baca strongly believes that “by combining education-based incarceration with fire camp training and experience it will aid in reducing the recidivism rate. Providing inmates with the tools to learn skills and work towards a goal will ultimately benefit them when they enter back into society,” said Sheriff Baca.
Source: LASD

LACoFD to Train 700 Inmates Per Year through Fire Camp Program

top story image
Los Angeles County Fire Department Camp 12 Inmate Fire Crews
 Los Angeles County Fire Department will now be training between 500-700 inmates for our fire camps each year due to the passage of California Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109) on April 5, 2011. Under this bill, local law enforcement now has the ability to manage lower level offenders in smarter and more cost-effective ways as a means of lowering prison overcrowding and helping to rehabilitate inmates into society. On October 15, Camp 12 personnel began the task of training the first class of 100 State inmates on fire behavior, fire line safety, fire line hazards and use of hand tools, as well as standards of behavior and professionalism.

"We have to instill in them the same sense of preparedness and orderliness that we have in the fire service, but we only have two weeks to do it," says Fire Captain Hall Stratton, who serves as one of the instructors. "We cover the same ground that we do for the paid crews, but reformatted for a different audience."

Among the challenges our personnel face in teaching inmates include working with an audience who may or may not have graduated high school and, in some cases, may not be able to read or write.

"Our only requirement is that they speak English, because they have to be able to follow verbal commands," says Stratton. "But on the fire line they don't have to read or write. Just because they can't read or write doesn't mean they're not good for the fire crew, because they may be the strongest guy on the crew."

Instilling professionalism, camaraderie and teamwork is also part and parcel of fire line training. Thankfully, the Sheriff's Department personnel at the Wayside Honor Rancho Facility, where Camp 12 is located, spent the last seven months preparing the inmates for our fire
camp training. 

In addition to cleaning up and repainting several of their rundown buildings with Fire Department artwork and logos for classroom space, nine Sheriff's deputies also spent time getting the inmates physically fit for the arduous work involved in being on the fire line.

"A huge part of building a fire crew is building the camaraderie and pride, and the Sheriff's went a long way into creating that," says Stratton. 

"To have the crews already have some of that instilled in them, and be physically ready as well, helps us to concentrate on fire business."

In order to qualify for being part of a fire crew, the inmates need to be categorized as non-violent offenders and not be convicted of committing arson. Part of the incentive of working on a fire crew for these inmates not only includes having their sentence cut in half, but also being able to have a possible career when they are released. "While our Department does not hire convicted felons, others do and I have heard from some inmates who have gone on to have careers with the United States Forest Service or CAL Fire," says Stratton.

While the Sheriff's Department had more time to prepare for the influx of inmates, our personnel had less time to create the lesson plans, quizzes and other teaching aids for their classes. However, Stratton, as well as Fire Captains Bernard Deyo and Mark Mihaljevich, along with Fire Fighter Specialists Joe Spindler, Jason Toshack, Greg Waters and Damian Ybarra, and Fire Suppression Aides Michael Scavarda, Nathan Sotro, Brandon Weiner and Joshua Zavala, each took on a subject and started to develop the curriculum for this unique audience.

"We had two goals when we set out how to build this program," says Stratton. "One: Everything we teach them we reinforce over and over again. And two: Never sit in the classroom for more than an hour. Always do something physical so that they're able to be on a crew and start swinging those tools tomorrow if they have to."

Our personnel are particularly grateful for the hard work the Sheriff's Department put in to get the first class ready for training. But for the Sheriff's deputies, it's all in a day's work. "It's a team effort," says Sheriff's Deputy A.J. Ayala, who was a smoke jumper prior to joining Los Angeles County, and understands the challenges firefighters face. "We get the bodies into shape and you take over the training.

 In the end, we have the same goal – get the inmates rehabbed, get them skilled and get them out of the system."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Calif. dept's argue over who rescued 2 injured hikers #SMEM

The Pasadena Fire Department says the LA County Fire Department tried to take all the credit for the Rescue

By Brian Charles

Daily News of Los Angeles

ALTADENA, Calif. — There's a tale associated with the Eaton Canyon rescue of two injured hikers.

And, like most stories, the details depend upon who is writing the history.

In a Sheriff's Department press released issued late Monday night, deputies reported that the L.A. County Fire Department put two injured hikers on a helicopter and flew them to safety after the pair were saved by the sheriff's Altadena Search and Rescue team.

On Tuesday morning, the Pasadena Fire Department gave a differing version of events. Officials said city firefighters carried the injured hikers from the falls, and Pasadena paramedics drove them to Huntington Memorial Hospital.

When media outlets began reporting the sheriff's version of events, it set off a flurry of emails within the Pasadena Fire Department seeking to correct things.

"This is not right," Pasadena Fire Capt. Robert Taylor wrote to spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. "(County Fire) would not fly (patient) out. Too much risk for gain in their words.

This is not the first time (Pasadena) got no recognition for (a) difficult rescue," Taylor concluded.

Sheriff's Spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department won't get into a "he said, she said" battle with a smaller agency.

"We send out press releases when our people do outstanding jobs," Whitmore said. "Here is what's important: The people got saved."

So what did happen?

The incident began with a 5:45 p.m. 911 call Monday that alerted authorities to two injured hikers near Eaton Canyon Falls. The spot is near where several other accidents and fatalities have occurred.

The hikers, both women, fell from the edge of the waterfall and slammed onto the rocks 20 feet below, Derderian said.

Because the incident occurred after dark, L.A. County Fire officials declined to use its helicopter to effect a rescue, Pasadena officials said.

Instead, rescue personnel from the Pasadena Fire Department, L.A. County Fire and Altadena Search and Rescue - an all-volunteer force - hiked into Eaton Canyon.

Upon their arrival at the scene, Pasadena firefighters determined that one woman was in critical condition, while the second suffered only minor injuries, Derderian said.

Eaton Canyon is partially within Pasadena city limits and parts of the well-traveled trail are in unincorporated Los Angeles County, placing it under purview of both county and city emergency personnel. Rescue efforts are joint operations, said Derderian, and credit is due to all of those who save the lives of distressed hikers in the canyon.

Ranking Pasadena officials say they are tired of mix-ups resulting from Sheriff's Department press releases. Officials said those releases often mislead the public as to who conducts forest rescues.

"In the past, they have taken credit and made it look like they single-handedly done stuff," Derderian said. "I usually just let it go."

In an email to Derderian, Taylor also implied that competition for limited government funding may lie at the root of the snafu.

"I know all agencies are fighting to keep their programs but the LACOSD public information is borderline egregious considering the amount of misinformation contained," Taylor wrote.

EMS Notes: Maine medics triple cardiac arrest survival rate

 Paramedics have started treating patients on the scene instead on en route

Seth Koenig
Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine -- Portland paramedics have nearly tripled their success rate in the past year of saving patients who have suffered cardiac arrest, in large part by providing emergency services on the scene and avoiding time-consuming ambulance rides to local hospitals.
The latest data, shared with city first responders Tuesday during a regular monthly review of best practices, provide statistical reinforcement to a new wave of emergency medical protocols being implemented statewide. The trend of treating patients on-site -- instead of en route -- has become the latest standard in Maine, but until now, there was only anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness widely available.
"Everybody's situation is different, but if [emergency medical responders] can produce these results, that's great," Lt. John Kooistra, paramedic and head of quality assurance for the Portland Fire and Rescue Department, said Tuesday.
The shift in procedure also means that Portland paramedics are declaring about three times as many more patients dead on scene as well, forcing the medical responders into unfamiliar territory as the ones who must break bad news to family members who may be nearby.
"That's something that's brand new to paramedics," said Portland paramedic David Pratt. "In 20 years as a paramedic, this is the first year I've had to do that. In the past, you'd be in the emergency room and the doctor would be the one to say, 'I'm sorry, there's nothing more we can do.' Now we have to have those conversations at the scene."
Kooistra said that, in addition to conducting more of the treatment on-site, more responders are being sent to each call, oftentimes freeing up a paramedic to explain to the patient's family members what's going on. The extra level of communication throughout the process can help soften the news when the patient has died, he said.
But by keeping the treatment on scene, Kooistra said, responders have much better odds of avoiding those difficult conversations. Since December 2011, Portland paramedics have handled 47 cardiac arrest cases. Using the new procedures -- administering CPR at the location and increasing the numbers of responders from six to nine -- they were able to fully revive eight of those patients, a success rate of 17 percent.
Over the previous two years, Fire Department Medical Director Dr. Matthew Scholl said, responders were able to save about 6 percent of their cardiac arrest patients. In the past 11 months, resuscitation efforts were terminated by paramedics -- meaning that the patient was declared dead on scene after treatment, but without having been taken to a hospital -- 21 times, or 44.6 percent of the time.
That's up from between 15 percent and 16 percent in previous years, when patients died more often but were declared deceased at hospitals the majority of time.
"Historically, the two of us in [a standard ambulance crew at the time] would get to the scene, we'd begin resuscitation, then roll them onto a stretcher, bring them to the ambulance and rush off to the hospital," said Deputy Fire Chief Terry Walsh. "We started over the years to add another truck to each scene, but our success rates weren't getting any better. We now know that if we get extra bodies on the scene and apply medical care on the scene, we greatly increase our success rate. There's no more blazing lights and sirens and flying down the road to the hospital."
In Portland, the previous standard response team included two paramedics with the initial ambulance, a three-person team on a following fire engine and a deputy chief. Over the past year, the department has added a second three-person follow-up contingent, allowing responders to work in fast-paced rotations administering CPR and other procedures.
By cutting out the placement of patients on stretchers and transporting them in an ambulance, responders also are cutting out 30- and 40-second gaps of time in which nobody is administering CPR or other treatments, Kooistra said. Those extra seconds, when the heart needs consistent and regular compressions to restart, are making the difference between life and death, he said.
New cardiac monitors the department has begun carrying provide instant feedback on how effective the paramedics are when administering CPR -- they should be thrusting down onto the patient's heart with both hands at a depth of 2 inches, and with a frequency of between 100 and 120 compressions per minute -- and so responders can tell when a paramedic is getting tired and a fresh set of hands is necessary.
Kooistra said the American Heart Association suggests that a responder providing CPR should administer the treatment for about two minutes before handing the duties off to somebody fresh. He said the Portland department's new "pit crew" approach, in which every responder is assigned a specialty at each scenario, at least two at each scene are dedicated chest compressors, who can rotate in and out as needed.
Scholl said the top determiners for success in a cardiac arrest case is how quickly resuscitation efforts begin and how consistently they continue. To that end, the doctor said it is important that members of the public are empowered to recognize symptoms of cardiac arrest and begin "hands only" CPR immediately, while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
"In almost every success story we see, the public is involved in that success, either with early activation of 911 or bystander CPR," Scholl said. "We have case after case after case this year of the public beginning resuscitation and giving us great success."
Scholl said members of the public should keep an eye out for individuals who are experiencing irregular breathing. He said dispatchers can talk bystanders through the correct way to administer CPR, thrusting both hands rhythmically down on the heart of the patient.
"It doesn't need to be 'no breaths at all'; it needs to be irregular breaths," he said. "Subjects may continue to gasp for seconds, if not minutes, after cardiac arrest."
While not every fire and rescue department in Maine has the same manpower or technology as Portland, which is the largest city in the state, Kooistra said the underlying method of treating cardiac arrest patients on-site can be implemented anywhere.
Indeed, Maine Emergency Medical Services, a statewide agency, saw the rate at which paramedics took patients to hospitals drop from 83 percent of the time in 2010 and 76 percent of the time in 2011 to just 50 percent of the time over the first six months of 2012, according to a July report by the Sun Journal.
Maine EMS officials told the newspaper at the time that there weren't enough data to confirm that the new protocols are saving lives. In Portland, such data have begun to come to light.
"This is a great way to broker our experience and help patients throughout the state, by getting the word out about these successes we're having," Scholl said.


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RAIN: We are expecting rain tonight and Friday with brief heavy downpours.

Weather impacts may be worse in higher elevations that include urban and small stream flooding.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in place from 7pm tonight through Friday afternoon. Impacts may include smaller creeks over flowing their banks, debris flows and landslides in mountainous areas.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." --Abraham Lincoln

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