Monday, July 28, 2008

My friend "M"

So I have this friend, she lives on the other side of the planet. She is a great person, and an awesome friend. We have not known each other very long, yet it feels like I have known her for years. I trust her as much as I would one of my life long friends. She does need to spend some more time on fun, and less time on work. She is the kind of person who would give her life to save a strangers. I don't get to see her as much as I would like to. I don't think we have ever had a phone conversation less than 30 mins, and I don't like to talk on the phone. Ok, maybe I should stop. It almost sounds like I'm in love with her. I AM NOT IN LOVE WITH HER! I just want to make that clear.

Anyway, She is going through a rough time in her personal life. I know she will get through it and come out stronger for it. All she needs some boat time with the boys. Hint, Hint. Rum drink, I say! I guess I just want to say that she will be the last person to be alone in life. And remember we are all here for you... JS

Monday, July 21, 2008

You might work in emergency services if:

1. You are the only one not allowed to talk about your day at work while at the dinner table.

2.All of your friends wear uniforms.

3.You use a line like this. " Ever been with a fat hairy fireman? Want to?"

4.You never get to sleep through the night because someone is having a heart attack, or has crashed their car.

5.You know what PBT, ETOH, MVA, CVA, ET, or MI means.

6. Most of you closet contains blue clothes.

7.Professional courtesy has a different meaning to you.

8.Pj's and uniform look the same.

9.You start a conversation by telling someone the have nice veins.

10.You think telling a patient its my first time in an ambulance too, is funny.

11.You have more electronics on your belt than radio shack has in stock.

12.You wear black boots more than any other foot wear, you keep them next to your bed. only work nine or 14 days a month.

14. You get angry when you don't get your nap at work.

15. you talk about death the way most people talk about coffee.

16. You light a campfire with gasoline and road flares.

17. You love the movie "super troopers", you enjoyed the movie "bringing out the dead".

18. The show "Rescue me" reminds you of people you work with.

19. People ask you "Whats the worst thing you have ever seen?

20. You never answer the last question honestly.

I would like to thank Lucid for the idea of this blog, and I would like to thank my friends and family for their contributions to this entry.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flying with the US Army

soilders doing training

The blackhawk I flew in

Me sitting in the blackhawk during the flights

A close up the blackhawk

I would like to thank my friend SSG. Van Loon and the Army national guard for a great time yesterday. I arrived on base yesterday morning and meet with SSG. Van Loon. We had brunch at the officers club, then I went for a preflight briefing. After the briefing I got to participate in some IED training. Then I got to watch some security training at a Forward Operating Base. From there I hoped on a blackhawk and flew to another training facility and got to watch convoy security operations training. After that I got back on a blackhawk and flew back. I think the Blackhawk flights were the best part of the day. Not very many civilians get to fly in blackhawks. Crzegrl was shocked when I told her I was going up in a blackhawk. So Emily I have proof. I have some video on youtube of me flying and landing in the blackhawks. Everyone check them out please. When we got back I got to see some urban combat training. It was a good day. At the end of the day SSG Van Loon and I had dinner in the officers club. I would just like to say thank you again to everyone that allowed me to have such a great day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm out

I was injured today during the academy. They sent me to the clinic. The doctor put me off duty. When I informed the captain of this he told me there is no light duty at the academy. So I am out. I am able to repeat the academy after I heal. That could be some time away. I'm pretty bummed but I am going back as soon as I can. JS

Sunday, July 13, 2008

weekend with crzegrl II

So a while ago we went out to the HTL for a weekend of fun. Emily put some of those pictures up so I wanted to repost them on here. Again, thanx for a great time emily. By the way the sore throat is gone... thank you. MMS looks like it was a great time.

Pictures from top to bottom: Me driving crzegrl's jeep; My roommate Mark with Lucy racked out at the HTL; Me, BJ, and Mark at the maple festival, pic taken by crzegrl; Jamie and me racked out in the dinning room of the HTL; The garage of the HTL, Emily getting ready for a bike ride and me stealing her jeep.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

being beat down

So, I started the new job last monday. I am in this departments academy and it is kicking my ass. My instructors are great, and I know they are just trying to get us into better shape. I found out that I am very much out of shape. I hurt so much. I have never been so sore in my whole life. I hope I can get through this. If I make it through this I might not be "fat" anymore. Well, please pray for me. Only 12 weeks to go. JS

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Tomorrow is the big day. I report at 0715 tomorrow morning for duty. I hope it is the first day of the rest of my life. I am very nervous about starting with a "big" city department. I hope I can get through the 16 week academy without bailing out. I have not been in an academy for almost 10 years as a student. This has been a long process, I started over a year ago. Lets hope it all works out.

On a lighter note, I had a great 4th of July weekend. I spent most of the time at my former SGT.s house. Most of my friends and firefighters I used to work with stopped by at one time or another. I have spent most of the day today drying out. Crzegrl its to bad you couldn't make it out to Kyle's this weekend. We had a great time. We even spent a little time on the pistol and shotgun range. It was good to see everyone, and it made me remember how much I miss my old fire department and the guys that work there. But it was a great time before I start my new job. JS

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hurricane Katrina

Photos top to bottom: A truck crushed and once covered by flood waters in New Orleans, Burbon street post hurricane, inside tent city (camp Allen), FEMA helicopter in New Orleans.

I want to speak a little about Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For those of you who don't know me, I worked for FEMA as a reservist for a few years. I have responded to a few hurricane recovery missions. During hurricane Ophelia I worked with North Carolina state emergency managers doing damage assessments. During the Hurricane Dennis recovery I worked as a community relations specialist in Alabama and Florida. During the response of Hurricanes Ivan, Charlie, and Francis I served as the task force leader for Bay county Florida (Panama City area). During my last response I served as The fire service liaison,s operations chief on the Louisiana Incident Management Team (IMT). I had over 2,600 firefighters working for me in the state of Louisiana. But that's enough about me.

I'm sure many of you have heard many things on this subject. Everything I am going to post here is first or second hand information. I WAS THERE! Regardless of what you may have heard from the news and conspiracy theorists.

I wanted to speak about Katrina. This operation was a cluster from the beginning. But most of the blame doesn't fall with the federal government. Let me start from the beginning. Before the storm hit the federal government offered to help with evacuations via amtrack trains and greyhound buses they were moving out of the area. Local government decided not to accept this offer.

The federal government is not allowed to come into a community without being asked by local government. It took the state of Louisiana almost 2 days to ask for this help. FEMA is not a saving grace, they are chartered to offer assistance, money, and resources to local government, not to head up recovery efforts.

FEMA was massing man power in Atlanta, Georgia as the storm was coming ashore. I know because my phone rang as Katrina made landfall. I was on a plane 8 hours later and was gone for eight weeks. FEMA has very small field staffing, they depend on there reservists, who there are less than a thousand of. So FEMA asked the US Fire Administration if they could temp hire firefighters from around the country. (FEMA wanted firefighters because they would not need to have background checks done on them, which would have taken a great deal of time to finger print and run background checks on 4,ooo people.) USFA said sure. Close to 4,000 firefighters from around the country responded. This was the manpower massing in Atlanta. FEMA and USFA already had other resources ready to go as well, these were in the from of urban search and rescue teams (USAR) and disaster medical teams (DMAT).

FEMA could not move those firefighter to New Orleans until they knew they had somewhere to house them and feed them down there. I know guys that were sleeping on the floor of a barber shop, because there was nowhere else to go. I was in a tent city in Baton Rouge and drove back and forth to New Orleans every day. FEMA had arranged for cruise ships to house these firefighters, but when they arrived the NOPD forcibly stopped them from boarding these floating barracks, and kept there use for themselves.

Our government has never responded to an emergency of this size on our own soil in modern history. Everything was done on the fly. Of course there will be problems with this size operation being planned on the go. Remember It was the Mayor of New Orleans that put those people in the super dome not FEMA. As soon as they had the assets to evac those people they did. One thing I will never forget is the helicopters in the days after the storms. There were so many of them; Coast Guard, Military, and private all flying rescue missions 24 hours a day. It was something to see.

Let me talk briefly about the crime. I would not send anyone wearing a FEMA shirt into New Orleans at first because of reports of assaults on FEMA employees and rumors of snipers, not mention the looting that was going on. The 82nd airborne had to be called in to put a stop to the looting. Once the city was dry FEMA set up disaster recovery centers (DRC) and shelters. There was also FEMA personal at all shelters in other states that had hurricane victims.

Now when people started getting money and credit cards from FEMA they used the money to buy things like new cars, electronics, and jewelry instead of food and repairs to their homes. The FEMA trailers were supposed to be temp housing while they used their FEMA checks to rebuild their lives. So I wonder why New Orleans still looks they way it does? HMMM

Don't get me wrong, I think things could have been done better, but it was the first time we had ever seen this. It is not fair to place all the blame on the Presdient or federal government, a great deal of fault falls on both the city and state governments. I would also like to add that as far as I know, Not a single New Orleans firefighter or EMS provider walked off the job. Many worked for weeks straight after the storm. This was not true of the NOPD. I will gladly answer any questions on this subject, so let them fly. JS