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Monday, January 30, 2012

FEMA: Community Preparedness Starts with You!

This Citizen Corps News Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness, resilience resources and activities recently announced by federal agencies and Citizen Corps partners. 
This week’s News Digest includes:
Community Preparedness Starts with You!

Citizen Corps Partners and Affiliates Updates
Community Preparedness Starts with YOU!
It’s the beginning of a New Year and we are excited so many of you have taken part in our January activities.  Two weeks ago we honored the Individual and Community Preparedness Award winners as Champions of Change at the White House and last week we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Citizen Corps Program.  As we continue to promote what you do, we also want to provide you with new resources, so I am proud to say the Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) recently hosted one of the most highly attended Community Preparedness Webinar Series webinars on record.
More than 1,800 individuals registered for the FREE Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) webinar. Every state within the U.S. was represented and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate even stopped by to say a few words. He talked about the importance of these new CERT tools and resources for CERT volunteers, local program managers and those wishing to start a CERT program in their own locality.
The webinar highlighted new, accessible versions of the CERT Basic Training Course, recently made available in Spanishlow visionand in screen reader . These materials serve to expand the reach of CERT into the Whole Community in terms of preparedness.
CERT National Office Director Rachel Jacky, presented on the new CERT Program Manager and CERT Train-the-Trainer Courses., The program manager course helps prepare current and prospective CERT managers/coordinators to create and sustain an active CERT program, while the train-the-trainer course provides a standard curriculum for states, regions and the Emergency Management Institute to train CERT instructors.
For all of those who participated, thank you for your continued support. For those who were not able to participate, you can view the webinar and find the recording HERE.
Remember, Community Preparedness Starts with YOU!
Find us on Twitter and make sure to sign up for our FREE weekly news digest. Stay in touch and receive updates such as the ones below:  
      • Join us for the next monthly Ready call  
      • Join your colleagues in viewing, contributing, and commenting on conversations about emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, and other emergency management topics. Don’t miss out – check out FEMA’s online community today -- it’s where ideas come to life!
       Paulette Aniskoff
      Director, Individual and Community Preparedness
      The National Office of Citizen Corps
      FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

        Sunday, January 29, 2012

        LTBMU: Lake Tahoe Prescribed Fire Operations To Continue Monday

         Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit 
         U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit fuels management crews will continue prescribed fire operations in various locations around the Lake Tahoe Basin on Jan. 30.

        Operations may be carried out in Emerald Bay, Kingsbury Grade, Kings Beach, or the Bunker area of Tahoe City. Locations and size of the operations will depend on conditions at each site. Operations may continue through the week.

        Residents and visitors can expect to see smoke from these prescribed fire project areas. The Forest Service strives to minimize the impacts of smoke on local communities. Smoke-sensitive residents should consider staying indoors and keeping doors, windows and outside vents closed.

        To directly receive prescribed fire updates, send an email to pa_ltbmu@fs.fed.us.

        U.S. Forest Service staff will post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, and update the local fire information line at (530) 543.2600

        For more information: visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/ltbmu.
        To learn more about the efforts to reduce catastrophic wildfire risks in the Tahoe Basin read the Lake Tahoe Basin Multi-jurisdictional Fuel Reduction Plan found: athttp://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_045864.pdf.

        RED FLAG WARNING WILL EXPIRE AT 10 AM PST THIS MORNING FOR ALL MOUNTAIN AND VALLEY AREAS OF EXTREME SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA

         THE RED FLAG WARNING WILL EXPIRE AT 10 AM PST THIS MORNING. ALTHOUGH RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL REMAIN VERY LOW TODAY WINDS WILL BE BELOW CRITERIA FOR EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH SO THE RED FLAG WILL BE ALLOWED TO EXPIRE.
        RED FLAG WARNING WILL EXPIRE AT 10 AM PST THIS MORNING FOR ALL MOUNTAIN AND VALLEY AREAS OF EXTREME SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA
          
        Area:  ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS - SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS - THE INLAND EMPIRE - SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS - SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OFTHE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST - SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THECLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

        Affected Counties or parts of: San Diego county, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Orange County
        Sent: 2012-01-29T09:52:00-08:00California Fire News 2011 

        Saturday, January 28, 2012

        Red Flag Warning: San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange counties

        RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM PST THIS EVENING FOR STRONG GUSTY NORTHEAST TO EAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR LOWER ELEVATIONS AND FOR COASTAL SLOPES OF THE MOUNTAINS BELOW 4000 FEET.


        RED FLAG WARNING

         RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW OR WILL SHORTLY. 
         A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.



         WINDS: NORTHEAST 15 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 45 MPH.
         RELATIVE HUMIDITY: LOWEST DAYTIME AROUND 5 PERCENT WITH POOR OVERNIGHT RECOVERY.

        DISCUSSION: .SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE GREAT BASIN AND HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT WILL BRING WARMER AND VERY DRY WEATHER THROUGH SUNDAY WITH STRONG AND GUSTY NORTHEAST TO EAST WINDS THROUGH EARLY EVENING.
         GRADUALLY DECREASING TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING. LOW HUMIDITY WILL CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY BUT WIND WILL BECOME MORE ISOLATED AND WEAKER.
         RECENT RAINFALL AND THE IMPACT ON FUELS WILL CONTINUE TO BE A SIGNIFICANT MITIGATING FACTOR.

        AFFECTED AREA: ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS - SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS - THE INLAND EMPIRE - SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS - SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST - SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST-

        AFFECTED COUNTIES OR PARTS OF:  SAN DIEGO COUNTY ,  RIVERSIDE COUNTY ,  SAN BERNARDINO, ORANGE COUNTY


        Friday, January 27, 2012

        Red Flag Warning now in effect San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside counties

         Red Flag Warning now in effect for saturday for very low humidities and strong gusty northeast to east winds.
        Red Flag Warning
         THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN DIEGO HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR STRONG GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 6 PM PST SATURDAY.  
         RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 6 PM PST SATURDAY FOR STRONG GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES
        A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS, LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. 

         DISCUSSION: SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE GREAT BASIN AND UPPER LEVEL HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE OVER THE CALIFORNIA COAST WILL BRING WARMER... DRY... AND WINDY WEATHER THROUGH SATURDAY.
         CONTINUED WARM AND VERY DRY FOR SUNDAY. RECENT RAINFALL AND THE IMPACT ON FUELS WILL BE A MITIGATING FACTOR BUT GIVEN THE STRENGTH OF THE WINDS AND THE VERY DRY CONDITIONS ANY LARGE FIRE STARTS COULD RESULT IN RAPID FIRE GROWTH.
         THE WINDS WILL DIMINISH SATURDAY AFTERNOON BUT POOR OVERNIGHT RECOVERY IS EXPECTED SATURDAY NIGHT WITH VERY LOW HUMIDITIES BUT WEAK WINDS FOR SUNDAY.
         THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
        WINDS: NORTHEAST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 55 MPH. GUSTS TO 65 MPH ARE POSSIBLE IN THE FAVORED LOCATIONS.
        RELATIVE HUMIDITY: LOWEST DAYTIME AROUND 5 PERCENT WITH POOR OVERNIGHT RECOVERY.
        TIMING: NORTHEAST WINDS ARE INCREASING THIS MORNING AND WILL CONTINUE AT TIMES THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. LOWEST HUMIDITIES ARE EXPECTED SATURDAY.
        OUTLOOK: THE WINDS WILL WEAKEN RAPIDLY SATURDAY EVENING BUT POOR HUMIDITY RECOVERY IS EXPECTED SATURDAY NIGHT WITH VERY DRY CONDITIONS CONTINUING INTO SUNDAY.


        INSTRUCTION: A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW OR WILL SHORTLY.
         A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS, LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.AREA: ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS - SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS - THE INLAND EMPIRE- SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS - SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST - SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONALFOREST - SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST
        Affected Counties or parts of: San Diego county, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Orange County

        Sent: 2012-01-27T10:36:58-08:00
        Original Sender: KSGX@nwws.oes.ca.gov
        From: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO CA

        LTBMU: Lake Tahoe Prescribed Fire Project To Continue Monday

        Prescribed fire operations continue in the Lake Tahoe Basin on Monday

        South Lake Tahoe, Calif. --U.S. Forest Service fuels management crews will continue prescribed fire operations in various locations around the Basin on Monday, January 30, 2012. Operations may be carried out in Emerald Bay, Kingsbury Grade, Kings Beach, or the Bunker area of Tahoe City. Locations and size of the operations will depend on conditions at each site. Operations may continue through the week.

        Residents and visitors can expect to see smoke from these prescribed fire project areas. The Forest Service strives to minimize the impacts of smoke on local communities. Smoke-sensitive residents should consider staying indoors and keeping doors, windows and outside vents closed.

        Forest Service staff will post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, and update the local fire information line at (530) 543-2600, #6. Other federal, state and local fire management agencies may also be conducting prescribed fire work during this period.

        For more information, visit our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/ltbmu. To learn more about the efforts to reduce catastrophic wildfire risks in the Tahoe Basin read the Lake Tahoe Basin Multi-jurisdictional Fuel Reduction Plan found at http://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_045864.pdf.

        Take a few moments to visit an excellent web site and learn about Prescribed Fire vs. Wildfire at: http://www.smokeybear.com/prescribed-fires.asp.
        To directly receive prescribed fire updates, send an email to pa_ltbmu@fs.fed.us.
        U.S. Forest Service

        Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU)
        Date Sent: Jan. 27, 2012

        Red Flag Warning: Projected Santa Ana Winds - Los Angeles & Ventura County Mountains

         [EDIS] Red Flag Warning in effect for portions of Los Angeles & Ventura County's from 8 pm this evening to 6 pm pst Saturday due to gusty northeast winds and very low humidity.


        UPDATE2012-01-27T09:20:09-08:00: RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM PST SATURDAY.  
        WINDS: NORTHEAST WINDS 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 55 MPH DURING THE PEAK OF THE EVENT WHICH WILL OCCUR TONIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. ISOLATED GUSTS OVER 60 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE HILLS.
        RELATIVE HUMIDITY: LOWERING TO LESS THAN 15 PERCENT BY THIS EVENING WITH WIDESPREAD SINGLE DIGIT HUMIDITIES EXPECTED LATER TONIGHT INTO SATURDAY. 
        IMPACTS: IF FIRE IGNITION OCCURS THERE COULD BE RAPID SPREAD OF FIRE THAT COULD LEAD TO A THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY. 
        PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: 
        SANTA ANA WINDS
        RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED.


         RED FLAG WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES DUE TO THE PROJECTED SANTA ANA WINDS AND VERY DRY CONDITIONS.


         DISCUSSION: AS SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ACROSS THE GREAT BASIN THERE WILL BE INCREASING OFFSHORE FLOW ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BEGINNING FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND CONTINUING THROUGH SATURDAY.
         THE PEAK OF THE SANTA ANA WINDS IS EXPECTED TO OCCUR FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. WHEN MOUNTAIN AREAS WILL LIKELY SEE GUSTS IN THE 60 TO 70 MPH RANGE.
         WHILE MOST COASTAL AND VALLEY AREAS WILL RECEIVE GUSTS BETWEEN 45 AND 55 MPH. HUMIDITIES ARE GENERALLY EXPECTED TO REMAIN ABOVE CRITICAL LEVELS WITH THE ONSET OF THE NORTHEAST WINDS ON FRIDAY. 
         HOWEVER... HUMIDITIES ARE EXPECTED TO DROP RAPIDLY FRIDAY NIGHT INTO SATURDAY. DURING THIS TIME WIDESPREAD SINGLE DIGIT HUMIDITIES ARE EXPECTED TO OCCUR ACROSS LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES.


        TIMING: RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM PST SATURDAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES. 
        WINDS: NORTHEAST WINDS 25 TO 45 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 65 MPH DURING THE PEAK OF THE EVENT WHICH WILL OCCUR TONIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. 
        RELATIVE HUMIDITY: LOWERING TO LESS THAN 15 PERCENT BY THIS EVENING WITH WIDESPREAD SINGLE DIGIT HUMIDITIES EXPECTED LATER TONIGHT INTO SATURDAY. 
        IMPACTS: IF FIRE IGNITION OCCURS THERE COULD BE RAPID SPREAD OF FIRE THAT COULD LEAD TO A THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY.
        Instruction:
        A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED. THIS IN COMBINATION WITH SUFFICIENTLY DRY FUELS COULD CREATE EXTREME FIRE DANGER AND/OR FIRE BEHAVIOR. PLEASE ADVISE THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OR FIRE CREWS IN THE FIELD OF THIS RED FLAG WARNING.
        Area: SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
        Affected Counties or parts of: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles
        Sent: 2012-01-27T09:20:08-08:00
        Original Sender: KLOX@nwws.oes.ca.gov
        From: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOS ANGELES/OXNARD CA

        Thursday, January 26, 2012

        Technology: #Google Public Alerts on Google Maps Debutes

         Currently integrating feeds from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration #NOAA, National Weather Service #NWS, and US Geological Survey #USGS in #CAP format.
        Google is also looking to solicit data from local originators and eventually incorporate those alerts into Google Public Alerts.
         Google has also created an Alert Hub that aggregates alerts and allows other people to develop ways to redistribute them.



         From Google Blog: Today marks the launch of a new Google Crisis Response project: Google Public Alerts, a platform designed to bring you relevant emergency alerts when and where you’re searching for them. 

        If a major weather event is headed for your area, you might go online to search for the information you need: What’s happening? Where and when will it strike? How severe will it be? What resources are available to help?

        The Google Crisis Response team works on providing critical emergency information during crises. Our goal is to surface emergency information through the online tools you use everyday, when that information is relevant and useful.

        With today’s launch of Public Alerts on Google Maps, relevant weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) will be accessible when you search on Google Maps. For instance, at the time of this post, “Flood Indiana” triggers an alert for a Flood Warning in Northern Indiana.

        If you click through to “more info” on this alert, you’ll find a page showing more details about the alert, with the full description from the alert publisher, in this case the National Weather Service, a link to their site and other useful information.

        Whether you see an alert depends on which alerts are active at a given location, their severity, and your search query. If you’re interested in seeing all of the active alerts in one place, visit our homepage at www.google.org/publicalerts. This page also provides a link to more information on our new platform and gives instructions to interested organizations who want to make their emergency data available through this tool.
        More at original source: Public Alerts now on Google Maps
        Wednesday 1/25/2012 06:00:00 AM http://blog.google.org/2012/01/public-alerts-now-on-google-maps.html

            California Fire News 2012

          LODD: Arcadia Fire Captain II Andy Troncale

           It is with a heavy heart that the Arcadia Firefighters Association, Local 3440 announces the passing of Fire Captain II Andy Troncale.  After a valiant battle. 

          Brother Troncale succumbed to the effects of job-related advanced stage colon cancer on January 23rd.  He was 52. 
          Brother Troncale served the citizens of Arcadia with honor and distinction for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2009 after being diagnosed.
          Brother Troncale loved the fire service.  He began his career as an explorer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and also worked for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) prior to being hired by Arcadia Fire Department in 1979.  As a senior Captain, he embodied the finest qualities of a true firefighter.  He received several awards during his career, including the City of Arcadia Exceptional Service Award and Arcadia Fire Department Firefighter of the Year.
          Brother Troncale will be remembered for his quick wit, his sharp memory, and charming personality.  He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Debbie, and their three sons, Clark (22), Chad (20), and Clint (16). 
          Funeral Service
          Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Angels Church; 370 Campus Drive; Arcadia, CA.  Internment will follow at Rose Hills Memorial Park; 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA.
          Staging/Apparatus
          If you plan to attend or send representatives/apparatus from your department, please RSVP to Beth Stronger, Fire Administrative Specialist/PIO at 626.574.5112 or bstogner@ci.arcadia.ca.us. 
          Condolences/Donations
          In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Andy Troncale Benevolent Fund: c/o Fire Family Foundation; 815 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041, or visit www.firefamilyfoundation.org and click on "How to Donate"

          Wednesday, January 25, 2012

          RRU: 3 Firefighters Recover from Injuries on Indio Structure Fire


          News Release
          Release Date:01/25/2012Release Time:9:12 AM
          Contact:CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire
          Public Affairs Bureau
          951.940.6985
          Subject:01/25/2012 - Firefighters Recover from Injuries on Indio Structure Fire
          Full Text:

          Three CAL FIRE firefighters from the Indio Battalion were injured yesterday morning during structural fire suppression of a home at 81715 Paseo Real in the City of Indio. On-scene CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department Paramedics evaluated and transported the firefighters to area hospitals:

          - Firefighter Tom -T.J.- Frazier, 32, was transported and admitted to Desert Regional Medical Center and is recovering from surgery for a tibia/fibula fracture.

          - Paramedic Firefighter Michael Lambert, 31, was transported to JFK Memorial Hospital was treated and released for a concussion and neck injury.

          - Paramedic Firefighter Mike Vera, 30, was also transported to Desert Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released for a concussion.

          ...Firefighting is a very dangerous profession. Our valiant firefighters ensured no victims were trapped in the burning house and were attempting to contain the fire spread. They did a great job. I am extremely proud of our firefighters,... said CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Chief John R. Hawkins.

          Quick action by over 40 firefighters controlled the fire within one hour of arrival. The fire destroyed an attached 3-car garage and attic space of the single family home, causing $50,000 in damage. The American Red Cross is assisting five adults who were displaced. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

            News: Clovis fire captain resigns in face of legal fire

             A former Clovis firefighter is now trying to put out a legal fire after he got caught stealing from his fellow firefighters.



            Clovis Police have been investigating the former fire captain for three months. Now, John Watson admits the situation cost him his career. It's a story you'll only see on Action News.

            Watson admitted to a reporter he did something he never should've done. He told Action News he regrets it and he's trying to make it right by paying back the money he took from the Clovis Firefighters' Association. But even if he does, investigators may not let him off the hook.

            Watson served a long career at the Clovis Fire Department, rising to the rank of captain in charge of training. But as of last week, he's in search of a new career.

            Watson resigned as he faced an investigation into embezzlement during his 10 years as treasurer for the Clovis Firefighters' Association -- a union representing dozens of Watson's fellow firefighters.

            Action News uncovered two search warrants detailing the accusations leveled at the former captain. Investigators estimated somewhere between $80,000 and $150,000 disappeared from the union's bank accounts.

            Clovis Police wrote in the warrants that Watson confessed to taking and using more than $50,000. When Action News approached him for a response, he admitted he took money from the union, but said he was trying to give it all back.

            "As a matter of fact, we're close to reaching a settlement agreement (with the union)," he said.

            Watson didn't want to say more than that on camera, but he told me he's lost a $100,000 a year job, his pension, and his dignity. His attorney said Watson took the money after his wife had medical issues. He told Action News there's a check ready to go to pay back every penny.

            Watson said he went into debt to make restitution. But once his account is settled, he's hoping to avoid criminal charges and move on with his life.

            The district attorney's office said they haven't decided yet whether to file charges against Watson.

            Clovis Police wouldn't comment on their investigation, and city officials would only confirm that Watson resigned last week without a pension.

            Source: http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8517723
            California Fire News 2011 

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            Monday, January 23, 2012

            Carlsbad Fire Dept. female firefighter charging emotional distress, sexual harassment

             EXCLUSIVE: Carlsbad's first female firefighter sues, charging sex discrimination

            The complaint, filed in December, says Brittany McMahon, 28, was the victim of an "old boys' club" mentality that pervades fire departments.
            She was forced to resign in December 2010, a few weeks before her probationary period would have ended, the lawsuit said.
            "Unfortunately, despite her successes (at the Carlsbad Fire Department), the presence of a female in the male-dominated field of firefighters was not widely accepted by the people with whom she worked," the lawsuit states.
            Supervisors put her through extreme physical tests that went beyond state-issued recommendations and what was asked of her male counterparts. But McMahon met all of the physical demands, the lawsuit states.
            McMahon is 6 feet tall and was a champion rower for San Diego State University, according to the university's website.
            Officials with the Carlsbad city attorney's office declined to comment on the matter.
            The lawsuit did not say how much money McMahon is seeking in damages, but a claim filed against the city before the lawsuit asked for more than $2 million.
            McMahon's attorney, Matthew E. Palmer of the Oceanside-based firm Palmer, Rodak & Associates, said that was in line with awards in similar cases in California.
            Palmer said McMahon had long dreamed of becoming a firefighter and put in the hard work to make it happen.
            "She was just devastated," he said. "This was her whole life."
            McMahon joined the Carlsbad Fire Department in January 2010. She said she was forced to sign a letter of resignation Dec. 30, 2010, about three weeks before her probationary period would have ended.
            During her time there, a co-worker stopped her while she was on her way to the shower at a station and asked whether he could "help" her. The same co-worker grabbed one of the back belt loops on her pants and tugged her toward him, prompting another firefighter to ask whether the two were sleeping together, the lawsuit said.
            A supervisor ordered her to do strenuous exercise for two hours, then had her carry 150 feet of wet hose, when the state recommends firefighters shouldn't carry more than 100 feet at a time, the lawsuit said.
            And during an annual online bidding process, when firefighters choose which station they want to work, firefighters mocked McMahon in a chat room because of her gender, the lawsuit said.
            "When it was McMahon's turn to bid, she bid on Station 2, which is a smaller fire station with a unisex bathroom," the lawsuit states. "As soon as she bid, the chat room was flooded with comments about tampons, hair accessories and other comments about a woman in the bathroom."
            The lawsuit also says McMahon and other probationary firefighters were subjected to hazing, but Palmer said that he plans to drop those charges.
            "Brittany's real fight is with gender discrimination and making sure that solid firefighters don't lose their jobs because men don't want women in the house," Palmer said.
            She was also seeking damages for emotional distress, saying her time at the Carlsbad Fire Department caused her to develop an anxiety disorder, for which she is taking medication.
            Palmer said McMahon is now working as a paramedic, making less money, elsewhere in California.

              Saturday, January 21, 2012

              CalOSHA: Report faults professor, UCLA in fiery death of lab assistant

               Sheri Sangji was not properly trained to handle the chemicals that killed her. The university criticizes the findings.
              Sheri Sangji, who graduated in 2008 from Pomona College in Claremont with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, had worked in the organic chemistry lab for less than three months when the accident occurred. (unknown / August 3, 2008)
              Ever since Sheri Sangji was fatally burned in a December 2008 lab fire, UCLA officials have cast it as a tragic accident, saying the 23-year-old staff research assistant was a seasoned chemist who was trained in the experiment that went awry.

              But Sangji was neither experienced nor well trained — if trained at all — in the safe handling of air-sensitive chemicals that burst into flame, ignited her clothing and spread severe burns over nearly half her body, according to a report on a Cal/OSHA criminal investigation obtained by The Times.

              The 95-page report adds new detail to the circumstances surrounding Sangji's death and provides insight into the basis for felony charges filed last month against UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran and the UC Board of Regents. Based on labor code violations, the charges are thought to be the first stemming from an academic lab accident in the United States.

              University officials have blasted the charges as "unwarranted," "outrageous" and "appalling" and say they contradict an earlier Cal/OSHA investigation that resulted in nearly $32,000 in Cal/OSHA fines but no findings of intentional, or "willful," violations.

              The findings of the subsequent criminal probe, conducted by a different investigator, were far harsher.

              The report states that UCLA, by repeatedly failing to address previous safety lapses, had "wholly neglected its legal obligations" to provide a safe environment in campus labs and that Harran was personally responsible.

              "Dr. Harran simply disregarded the open and obvious dangers presented in this case and permitted Victim Sangji to work in a manner that knowingly caused her to be exposed to a serious and foreseeable risk of serious injury or death," the report by senior special investigator Brian Baudendistel states.

              If Harran had trained his research assistant properly and assured that she wore clothing appropriate for the work, "Sangji's death would have been prevented," it said.

              Harran's attorney, Thomas O'Brien, disputed those conclusions.

              "Dr. Harran remains devastated by this tragic accident," he said. "There are numerous misstatements in that report, but I will refer you to the UC regents for any comments."

              Harran and the Board of Regents are to be arraigned Feb. 2 in Los Angeles Superior Court on three counts each of willfully violating occupational health and safety standards. Harran faces up to 41/2 years in prison if convicted; the regents could be fined up to $4.5 million.

              Kevin Reed, UCLA vice chancellor for legal affairs, said he "vehemently" disagreed with the findings. He said Sangji was well trained, had previously performed the experiment safely and successfully and chose not to use available protective gear.

              "It was not as if UCLA found a newbie who didn't know what she was doing and put her in a lab with no regard to the consequences; there is just no evidence to support that," he said. "We didn't just pluck her off the streets and put her in a chemistry lab. She was a trained chemist."

              Sangji, who graduated in 2008 from Pomona College in Claremont with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, had worked in Harran's organic chemistry lab for less than three months when the accident occurred.

              She was transferring about 1.8 ounces of t-butyl lithium from one sealed container to another when a plastic syringe came apart in her hands, spewing a chemical compound that ignites when exposed to air. The synthetic sweater she wore caught fire and melted onto her skin. She died 18 days later.

              Sangji had not used pyrophorics in her undergraduate work or during a brief stint at an Azusa pharmaceutical company just before she took the UCLA job, according to the Cal/OSHA investigative report, which was completed in December 2009 but not previously made public. Nor had she been properly trained in their handling by a senior researcher, as Harran said, according to the report.

              When interviewed by Cal/OSHA, the researcher said he might have given Sangji some "general guidance" on the procedure but could not recall any formal training. The report also said the researcher's own methods were "contrary" to the chemical manufacturer's instructions and generally accepted lab standards.

              "Despite Dr. Harran's assertions to the contrary, it is clear that Victim Sangji was not properly trained, if at all, in the procedures necessary for the safe handling and transfer of t-Butyllithium," the report noted.

              Since Sangji's death, UCLA has instituted more rigorous lab inspections, issued more fire-resistant lab coats, enhanced training in the use of air-sensitive chemicals and established a Center for Lab Safety.


              Source: By Kim Christensen, Los Angeles TimesJanuary 21, 2012 - linkhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ucla-lab-20120121,0,6983392.story

              Friday, January 20, 2012

              Amber Alert: Kidnapping - 11-year-old female victim

              Press ReleaseRSS Feed

              San Jose Police DepartmentPRESS RELEASE
              Pursuant to Cal Govt. Code Sect 6254(f)
              San Jose Police Department
              Press Information Office
              201 W. Mission Street, San Jose, CA 95110
              Ph (408) 277-5339 Fax (408) 286-0923
              Kidnapping (AMBER ALERT ISSUED)
              Filed under Press Release, on 1/20/2012 7:15:00 AM by Author: Officer Jose Garcia #3532.

              TYPE OF CRIME: KidnapCASE NUMBER: 12-020-0047
              LOCATION: 2600 block of Taffy Court, San Jose, CA (Santa Clara County)
              DATE: 1/20/2012
              VICTIM:  Taylor VoAGE: 12
              ADDRESS: San Jose, CA resident
              SUSPECT: Tri Truong Le
              AKA: Tri Trong Le
              AGE: 42
              ADDRESS: San Jose, CA residentDOB: 1/3/1970
              Suspect Tri Truong Le
              ** SUSPECT ** Tri Truong Le

              Victim Taylor Vo
              ** VICTIM ** Taylor Vo
               San Jose: On January 20, 2012, at approximately 1:18 a.m., officers responded to the 2600 block of Taffey Court on a reported disturbance involving a firearm.  The suspect, identified as Tri Truong Le, 42, of San Jose, forced his way into the victim's residence and assaulted a family member.  Le then forced his way into the 11-year-old female victim's bedroom and forced her from the residence at gun point. The suspect fled the scene with the victim in what was described as a late model, dark colored minivan. According to witnesses, the van was possibly "American made." This is NOT considered a stranger abduction.
              The suspect is described as follows:
              Le, Tri (DOB 1-3-70) Vietnamese Male 5-06 / 170
              Black / Brown
              Last seen wearing a black baseball hat, a black jacket, and blue jeans
              The victim is described as follows:
              Vo, Taylor (DOB 4-12-00) Vietnamete Female 5-03 / 105Black hear with blonde high lights / brown eyes
              Unknown clothing description
              No further details are being released.
              Anyone spotting the suspect is urged to call 9-1-1.  Persons with information about this case are urged to contact the San Jose Police Department, Robbery Unit, (408) 277-4166.
               Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867), or may visit: http://svcrimestoppers.org/. Persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.
               Media Inquiries may be directed to the San Jose Police Department, Public Information Office, at (408) 277-5339.
              BY: Officer Jose Garcia #3532AUTHORIZED BY: Lt. T. Morales #2907
              DATE: 1/20/2012 TIME: 7:15 AMDATE: 11/22/2011 TIME: 7:30 AM
              ###
              San José Police Department, 201 W. Mission Street, San Jose, CA 95110 | General Information 408-277-8900

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