Jan 7, 2009

Lab Firefighting Ability Questioned

By Raam Wong, Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

If a fire ever broke out in one of Los Alamos' nuclear facilities, a new report raises questions about the ability of local firefighters to properly put it out.

The report comes three months after the federal government signed a new agreement in which Los Alamos County's fire department will continue protecting the nuclear weapons lab, a sprawling site that covers 40 square miles.

A cover letter attached to the December report states “there are weaknesses in the current capability to respond to a fire or other emergency event in the unique hazard environments associated with nuclear facilities at [Los Alamos National Laboratory].”

The report by federal safety officials also raises concerns about staffing at the lab, as well as a lack of progress in addressing previously-identified weaknesses in fire protection. A lab spokesman said Tuesday improving fire protection is an ongoing priority.

Recent drills suggest “significant weaknesses” in the capability of firefighters to respond to emergencies in nuclear facilities, according to the report.

In a July 2007 exercise at a facility that handles radioactive waste, for instance, county fire personnel were ineffective in providing first aid to an injured and contaminated subject because of a lack of understanding about the hazard presented by fictional contamination, according to the report.

During another drill, the route used by emergency personnel in responding to a fire at the Plutonium Facility would have spread the contamination, the report states. Personnel also failed to establish “clean and contaminated zone perimeters.”

Despite the problems, “the exercise objectives were rated as having been successfully met in most cases,” according to the report.

The federal government's contract with the county to provide fire services expired in 1997. Since then, protection was provided under renewing 45-day agreements as officials hammered out a new contract.

After some 11 years of negotiating, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the county signed a five-year cooperative agreement in October.

The agreement describes minimum staffing, staffing at key fire stations, and response times for nuclear facility emergencies. It also calls for a nuclear facilities reserve force of seven firefighters that cannot be deployed to nonlab events without notifying NNSA.

The agreement also requires that training plans be reviewed and approved annually by the county and the NNSA .

Fire Chief Douglas MacDonald said he had not yet read the report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and referred questions to the NNSA.

An agency spokesman in Washington, D.C., referred questions to the NNSA's Los Alamos office, which did not return a call for comment.

Lab spokesman Kevin Roark said in a statement: “We are continually working through the (NNSA's) Los Alamos Site Office with the Los Alamos Fire Department to help improve training, emergency fire scenario exercise activities, and overall fire protection response services.”

Roark said a good indicator of the lab's current capability was the response to a fire in Ancho Canyon last summer that involved more than 40 multiagency firefighters. The fire — sparked by a lab equipment test — was under control in just a few hours, Roark said.

“Of course we believe that fire protection services can always be improved and have always worked toward that end,” the spokesman said.

Weaknesses in the lab's fire protection program were last detailed in 2004 when LANL completed a so-called baseline needs assessment.

Since that time, “minimal progress” has been made in addressing those issues, some of which date back to 1995, according to the report. The lab is now updating that assessment.

Other concerns raised in the report include inadequate staffing in the lab's Fire Protection Group.

Previous evaluations found a need for 10 engineers in the group, while the budgeted staffing level for the positions is only six.

The letter attached to the report asks the NNSA to respond within 90 days with information detailing immediate measures taken to improve fire and emergency response capabilities, a copy of the new baseline needs assessment, and a strategy and schedule for achieving the emergency response capability.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

This story cannot be good for either LANS or the County Fire Dept. I thought the Fire Dept. in Los Alamos was top notch?

Anonymous said...

"I thought the Fire Dept. in Los Alamos was top notch?" - 9:22 AM

Yes, it the best and the brightest.

Anonymous said...

LAFD has the latest toys, far above and beyond other local departments and come across as the best and the brightest. This is a real misnomer with bad attitudes, lack of teamwork along with a mental attitude that they are gods gift to firefighters. I know this for a fact as neighboring firefighter.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, LAFD is a collection of inexperienced favored-status prima donas. The expensive equipment they drive is obscene. They are slow to respond, reference to the motorcycle accident in White Rock a few weeks ago wherein more than five minutes were required to respond to the scene just 1/2 mile from the White Rock fire barn. To respond to some of the remote tech areas at the Lab requires 25-minutes to arrive on scene. More miles are put on the emergency vehicles going to get donuts at Smith's deli than are used in emergency calls. The equipment wears out from the joy riding. The drivers are a bunch of cocky hot-dog young bucks that enjoy running you off the road with the excuse that they can't see you. I live in the county and have little use for these folks.

Anonymous said...

Well, they kept our town from burning down a while back. So they are top notch in my book.

Anonymous said...

My recollection is that the LAFD really did an admirable job during the 2000 fire. They performed at a level clearly "above and beyond the call of duty."

There may be as much truth in the newspaper article as there was about the non-CREM and the non-Mustang!

Frank Young said...

"There may be as much truth in the newspaper article as there was about the non-CREM and the non-Mustang!"

Shoot the messenger. How typical. Did you even read the article? I know you didn't read the Staff Issue Report because if you disagreed with it you would be criticizing the DNFSB, not the journalist.

The report says LAFD needs more training and more manpower. Do you think any of the firefighters disagree with that?

TA-55 is an accident in progress and it could get a whole lot worse very fast. Staffing and training for LAFD is money well spent, and Raam Wong is correct to be calling attention to it.

Anonymous said...

While the LAFD performed admirably during the fire of 2000, they tried to hold up the county for huge raises afterwards. They came to council meetings and cried at the podium. It was really a gutless performance for what is supposed to be the best and brightest. The local union pres at the time had been fired or suspended for not reporting a driving incident involving alcohol. He claimed discrimination and got his job back. Sounds like the best and brightest to me.

Anonymous said...

Well, they kept our town from burning down a while back. So they are top notch in my book.

1/7/09 9:07 PM

There are a some people who lost their homes during the 2000 fire who might beg to differ with your opinion. North Community suffered huge loses numbering into the hundreds of homes, while other areas which where deeply buried inside the burning forest, such as Quemazon and Pondarosa, suffered almost no losses at all. Strange, no?

Anonymous said...

"TA-55 is an accident in progress and it could get a whole lot worse very fast. "

Frank, I work at TA-55 and totally disagree with your statement. What's your basis? working in the basement for a couple of weeks?

Frank Young said...

I did see a little when I was there. Rooms that were too contaminated to enter, three waste pipes leading to TA-50 that had leaked, an RCT using an HFM and not noticing that the foot sensor was unplugged, a security violation I probably don't need to go into here....

Is there anybody at TA-55 who can answer the question, "What leaked out of those three pipes?" If so I'd love to speak with them. Nobody at Radiation Protection or Occupation Medicine can find out even though they promised me they would. A FOIA request didn't get me an answer. Even the DOE Inspector General can't get an answer to that question. When I sent the IG's office the best information I had found, the lab responded by promptly removing it from their website. Do you think perhaps that's why the lab is being crushed with compliance orders now?

I also read the DNFSB weekly reports. I used to post every worker exposure to the blog. Now it takes five to get my attention. How many people were exposed to Pu at TA-55 in 2008? How many near misses?

What about the criticality violations? And has a 100% inventory of all the Pu taken place yet? If so I would expect the lab to be crowing about it - if it was all accounted for, that is.

Are all the problems with the Pu furnaces ironed out yet? Oh, and the ventilation system - when it is turned off does it still blow Pu out of the HEPA filters if the fixed air samplers are left on? I believe that happened several times during my "working in the basement for a couple of weeks".

Are people still not told when they are working in a contaminated area? Are they still sent home without a nasal smear after a CAM alarm and evacuation of the facility?

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. If you really don't know about these issues, send me an email with your phone number and I'll call you.

Anonymous said...

Two points. The heroes during the Cerro Grande were the area volunteer fire departments who came to mutual aid. They are the ones that had actual experience fighting fires.

Frank, I too work at TA-55 and do not think it is an accident in progress.

Frank Young said...

What's your take on the refusal to answer the question, "What leaked out of those three pipes?"

Anonymous said...

It looks like a lot of blogging going on during company time. Maybe those with opinions that have no factual basis should be left to themselves. Every business or department has issues that need improvement. Look at yourself and if you are perfect, feel free to blog away and attack people that you know nothing about. The Fire Department has plenty of employees that have experience here as well as with other agencies, so to say there are not "heroes" here is false. Next time you see a firefighter, instead of making comments about his response times or lack of experience, why don't you thank them for being here all hours of the day, everyday, holidays, no 2 hour lab delays, working to protect you and the community. It's a new year. Let's have a new attitude of teamwork, and pride, not negative blogs and false statements.

Frank Young said...

I'm guessing you are upset with some of the comments on this blog post, not the post itself. Some of those comments surprised me too but again, I don't see the Journal article or the DNFSB Staff Issue Report as an attack on the LAFD.

Anonymous said...

The true story of the hour-by-hour, street-by-street actions of LAFD during the Cerro Grande Fire has not been written, and never will be. Large sections of town were abandoned by LAFD as "too dangerous." The fact that some North Community homeowners succeeded in saving their own homes with garden hoses when LAFD was nowhere to be found speaks volumes about the "heroes."

Anonymous said...

look here, the next time you have a heart attack just remember what you said about the fd. especially when they save your negative karma ridden life. why don't you try to use that giant brain of yours to see both sides of the story. and to the person that said north community burned: that was because the rest of the department was on the labsite protecting "dangerous" facilities from catching fire. so you tell me whats more important here, a house in north community or the northern half of the state??

Anonymous said...

I work as member of the Fire Department and I can tell you that it is top notch. For all of you folks that talk negative about us, why dont you put in an application to become a member and see what it is really like. What I think is funny a lot of you that work at LANL talk down to us like we are worhtless but let me ask this. When you make a mistake at the lab who do you call for help? You call us and we come risk our lives to fix your mistake. If you dont like us then you fix your own problems so its safer for me to go home to my family the next day. Also if you dont live in Los Alamos dont complain about our fire department. Take a look at your local department (probably volunteer and also probably under trained), when you have a fire in your house at night and your trapped inside would you rather have 3 untrained responders or 20 of the highest trained in the country to risk everything to come inside of your house and pull you out. And it was probably your lack of common sense that started your house on fire anyways. Oh well you will never learn but dont be mistaken when you roll your car today on the main hill we will be there to take you to the hospital. Its funny how everyone when they are a child wants to be a firefighter but some people like a lot of you could never do it because its too risky or too scary. If your son or daughter was a firefighter would you say the same about them? It makes me sad that I made an oath to risk my life to protect those that dont appreciate us, I dont want you to say we are heroes or whatever but just say thanks. And another thing for all the ones that are also talking down to us I bet you failed the written exam to get into our department. Good luck next time maybe you can reach your dream of being a real firefighter.

Anonymous said...

What about the criticality violations?

All crit safety evaluations per the "crit pause" have been looked at and reworked as necessary.

And has a 100% inventory of all the Pu taken place yet? If so I would expect the lab to be crowing about it - if it was all accounted for, that is.

Yes IT HAS! Inventory was done on schedule.

Are all the problems with the Pu furnaces ironed out yet?

Yes

Oh, and the ventilation system - when it is turned off does it still blow Pu out of the HEPA filters if the fixed air samplers are left on?

Never heard of that problem.

Are people still not told when they are working in a contaminated area?

I would consider *anything* in PF-4 a contaminated area. Just makes sense.

Are they still sent home without a nasal smear after a CAM alarm and evacuation of the facility?

Not that I'm aware of.

Anonymous said...

ps. the TRU waste drum incident happened at area G, not TA-55.

Anonymous said...

I am extremely angered and yet disappointed at those individuals who look at Los Alamos Fire Dept. with such contempt. I feel that the comment "[...] LAFD is a collection of inexperienced favored-status prima donas (sic)" is clearly one of ignorance and unfamiliarity with LAFD. There are plenty of experienced Firefighters and EMTs who staff the trucks and spread their wealth of experience to those who are new. In response to the call in White Rock that "wherein more than five minutes were required to respond to the scene...," what many civilians don't know is that the call has to be made, then patched through a computerized system at Dispatch via questions asked to the caller, then appropriate personnel is then called out to the scene. Calls do not go straight to the Fire Dept. but to a Dispatch Center where the proper resources can then be pulled together. This takes time. Then as for the expensive "obscene" equipment, that falls under federal requirements (National Fire Protection Agency) for firefighting and are not just for 'show'. And I assure the anonymous author who wrote, "I live in the County and have little use for these folks" will not speak up with disdain when it's a loyal LAFD firefighter/EMT, EMS bag or SCBA in hand, coming to help you at any hour of the day, any day of the year.

Anonymous said...

143 pm: "so you tell me whats more important here, a house in north community or the northern half of the state??"

What a ridiculous statement. Name a scenario where the "northern half of the state" was at risk. BTW, whether you know it or not you agreed with my statement about abandonment of the town.

Anonymous said...

Eh, 1:43pm. What cold possibly burn at TA-55 as sourced from a wildland fire. There is nothing but concrete, steel and gravel around the entire facility.

Anonymous said...

"I did see a little when I was there. Rooms that were too contaminated to enter, three waste pipes leading to TA-50 that had leaked, an RCT using an HFM and not noticing that the foot sensor was unplugged, a security violation I probably don't need to go into here...."


Yea? It's a PLUTONIUM facility. Some rooms have potential for airborne contamination and require respirators to enter. TA-55 performs a lot of aqueous processing. Pipes and flanges can leak. Its no different than the plumbing in your home. Security violations happen all over LANL. TA-55 is no different. I can't speak for the RCTs. SOmetime they do bone-headed things (like everyone else) but in general, they are pretty good and I feel confident having them there if something goes wrong.

Frank Young said...

Thank you! It is so refreshing to hear from someone who is not in denial. I hope people like you are in the majority there (and in management).

Anonymous said...

(While the LAFD performed admirably during the fire of 2000, they tried to hold up the county for huge raises afterwards. They came to council meetings and cried at the podium. It was really a gutless performance for what is supposed to be the best and brightest.)

The truth in regards to your statement is that the county and firefighters were in negotiations for months PRIOR to and after the fire. After going to impasse, mediation and impartial fact finding the firefighters "last best offer" was awarded most reasonable by the fact finder. The county had offered raises of 3.8%. The firefighters had justified raises of 17-22% in their offer. They were not holding up the county for huge raises,they were just asking for what was fair! By the way, the firefighters settled for a 7% raise in order to stop the ongoing problems and uncertainties caused by not having a contract with the county. In subsequent negotiations the firefighters have not faired much better. The attrition rate at the fire department is huge in comparison to other departments(over 80% of responding firefighters have 10 years with LAFD or LESS!). All of this information is easy to find with just a little effort, but it is much easier to sit at your computer and spew negative opinions. Go to the counties webpage and you will find the salary for a new firefighter is $11.40/Hr. The minimum wage for any job in Santa Fe just went up to $9.92/Hr. Think of that next time you look down your nose when you see one of those brave men.

Anonymous said...

"They were not holding up the county for huge raises,they were just asking for what was fair!" (9:56 PM)

You sound very much like a former LAFD fireman. Threatening the county for a 22% raise is not "fair", it's highway robbery! Most fire fighters working in Los Alamos make far more than the minimum of $11.40 per hour. They also receive very nice benefits from the county.

Anonymous said...

People in Los Alamos are privied to the ONLY ISO 1 department in the state. Their medical responce is one of the top in the state as well. The whiterock motorcycle incident is no exception. Go anywhere in the state and you'd be lucky to have a responce that DIDN'T exceed 10 minutes. When you consider the time taken to call 911, the time for the dispatchers to collect and dispatch, and the time to respond, 10 minutes is next to nothing. Lets get the victims of the wreck to chime in as well. They have already profusely thanked the crews involved for JOBS WELL DONE.

Anonymous said...

Its gotta be cush job, I don't even remember when I've heard of the last house catching on fire or anything else for that matter...must be kinda boring to.

Anonymous said...

"Their medical responce is one of the top in the state as well."


I was on your side up until that point. Let's not go overboard now... or are you talking response TIME?

Anonymous said...

Re: 3:17 Cush Job? If you think that medical responce is a cush job, I challenge you to go and try it. It can be far more stressful than any fire incident. As a retired paramedic/volenteer fireman, the most stressful incidents were those where sombody's life could hang in the balance. The fire service isn't just about the fires anymore.

Frank Young said...

1/9/09 2:28 PM,
You state, "All crit safety evaluations per the "crit pause" have been looked at and reworked as necessary." By "crit pause" I presume you mean the one that began 20 Sept. 2007. Were you aware that a criticality safety infraction was declared the week of 14 Nov. 2008? That's over a year after the "crit pause". The item was shelved in January 2007, at least seven months before the "crit pause". The infraction went undetected during the pause in operations.

Next you state that a 100% inventory of all the Plutonium "was done on schedule." You do not claim that 100% of it was accounted for. That fits with the only information I've found. My compliments on glossing over the point so smoothly, though.

Next you reply "Yes" to the question, "Are all the problems with the Pu furnaces ironed out yet?" Is that "Yes and I really mean it this time!", or the same "Yes" that came after the two events in April and one in March of last year?

On the ventilation system problem that you have "never heard of", download a copy of this presentation. It explains "What caused indications of high airborne contamination throughout the facility with no CAM alarms" and "How do we contaminate hundreds of FAS heads throughout four independent ventilation systems in four wings with four separate FAS systems".

Next you state, "I would consider *anything* in PF-4 a contaminated area. Just makes sense." Here I have to agree with you. Things certainly could have been different had I been told that on my first day there, the day I worked on the contaminated equipment. Until I saw a pit and realized what it was, I thought a nuclear trigger was some sort of electronic device. I could have and would have performed the work with the appropriate PPE had the hazard been communicated to me.

Finally, you state that you are not aware of people being sent home without a nasal smear after a CAM alarm and evacuation of the facility. Well, now you are aware of it. If nothing has been done to correct that then it is most likely still happening.

If you'd care to follow up can you please address this:
Is there anybody at TA-55 who can answer the question, "What leaked out of those three pipes?" Who is that person?

PS Those DNFSB guys are pretty sharp. They mentioned in their weekly report that the five workers exposed during remote venting operations were at Area G, not TA-55. But thanks for reminding us.

Anonymous said...

I must point out that LAFD staffs Paramedics who share experience from all over the state. From Albuquerque, to Espanola, to Toas and beyond, even some from Las Vegas Nevada. Those are truly experienced individuals who respond on your calls. Then you consider the EMT Intermediates who saturate the ranks in the department. There isn’t a call in the county that isn’t typically treated as AT LEAST ILS. Then you compound the response times, and I fail to see how you could really argue that the EMS Service in Los Alamos isn’t one of the best in the state.

Anonymous said...

"What do Firefighters do?"

Here's an article from a real firefighter that was tired of being scrutinized about his chosen career.

Every time I see my neighbor this is what I hear. "How much sleep did you get last night?" I thought I'd just write the answer down.
I've been a firefighter for 10 years and it is certainly different from other occupations. Around the station it is an easy going, relaxing atmosphere. It could be compared to a fraternity or even a family setting.Bosses are nearly partners, no time checks or quotas. We find time to eat, exercise, read, watch TV or occasionally, even take a nap waiting for our next alarm.
Then comes the alarms. The buzzer sounds at all times, but especially in bad weather or under particularly hazardous conditions. You respond immediately from what you are doing, even if you are on the pot. The alarms are always pressing, often confusing, always dangerous enroute, and often physically or biologically harmful.
On arrival, besides excitement, you may experience revulsion, fear, dread, or wish you were somewhere else. There are no atheists in burning buildings.
In a recent 90-day period, 24 firefighters were killed across the 50 states. Since the discovery of rubbing two sticks together, firefighters have rescued people from fires. More recently, firefighters aid people in every type of circumstance. In this process we get sneezed on, coughed on, bled on, regurgitated on, urinated and deficated on. We confront cancer, infection, hepatitus, AIDS, and who knows what other contagios diseases.
During a common house fire a variety of chemicals under the sink would baffle Einstein if he mixed them up and added fire. Our skin, eyes, lungs, and bloodstream come into contact with these chemical mixtures. The fire jackets we wear, unbeknownst to most people, are not fireproof, much less vapor, gas, or explosion proof.
We stopped rescuing cats in trees, because we started rescuing people in all situations, besides fires. Firefighters climb after suicide ledge walkers, medically sustain victims of car, boat, bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents. We respond to chemical, oil, gas, and nuclear spills. Fire-Rescue is the first called for plane crashes, floods, hurricanes, tornados, lightning strikes, electrocutions, power line emergencies, riots, domestic violence, child abuse, hostage situations, robberies, rapes, and murders.
In place of rescuing cats, we deliver babies, give physicals to street people, provide some public transport, work large crowd situations, fireworks displays,athletic events, parades and do blood pressures for the elderly.
A firefighter can earn his entire years salary on one call or end his life in one short moment.
Yes, neighbor, occasionally we do sleep. If the station duties are done, training over, building inspections completed, the equipment cleaned and checked and the time is right, weather good, the police not busy, the crime rate down, rush hour over and the drunks, crowds, emotionally disturbed, insane, sick, wounded, the aged, the lost and the homeless are all home in bed and doing just fine, we might just take a nap.

Anonymous said...

"1/9/09 2:11 PM"

Suck it up young man! If it wasn't for the twenty-four years of my schooling and my professional achievements, you wouldn't have a job here.

Anonymous said...

Its gotta be cush job, I don't even remember when I've heard of the last house catching on fire or anything else for that matter...must be kinda boring to.

I assure you there is nothing boring about it. Between the many certifictions we must maintain, continuing education classes, public educational events at the schools, health fairs and LANL specific training(which will increase DRASTICALLY in the reactive world we deal with in Los Alamos). We still find time to respond to EVERY medical emergency, gas leak or spill, HAZ-MAT situation, car wreck, trapped person(whether in their bathtub or hanging off the side of a cliff),CO detector or fire alarm activations, oh yes, and also the occasional structure, brush or dumpster fire both in the county and on LANL, or anything else you can imagine. If you can't remember the last time you have heard of anything like these has happened, I recommend you subscribe to a local newspaper, get out from your computer desk and find some actual human friends to talk with.

Anonymous said...

As a fireman I do not have 24 years of schooling, but I do have 14 years of education. And unlike the typical comfortable university setting in classrooms with desks, power points and Professors handing out a syllabus stating what is expected for the class, my education has come at all hours of the night usually in bad weather or a bad environment and when something is going very wrong for somebody that needs help. Firefighters continually study for anything, because we don’t know what we will be tested on or when the test is coming. Usually the test comes as a result of the natural aging process, some unfortunate occurrences or oversight and lack of common sense from otherwise reasonable educated people. I thank you for your efforts and professional achievements here, but even without you I would still be a fireman, and probably make more money, in a community where firefighters are shown appreciation for longer than it takes for a green “Los Alamos Says Thanks!” bumper sticker to fade and peel off.
P.S. EVERYTIME we go on duty we “Suck it up”.

Anonymous said...

You sound very much like a former LAFD fireman. Threatening the county for a 22% raise is not "fair", it's highway robbery! Most fire fighters working in Los Alamos make far more than the minimum of $11.40 per hour. They also receive very nice benefits from the county.


You sound very much like either:
A. One of the County Councilors who refused to accept the fact-finding.
B. A representative of County HR or Fire Administration.
C. An ignorant person who is stating your negative OPINION as FACT yet again.
D. Both B&C
For ANYONE to ask for a 17-22% raise without justification would by ridiculous. The 17-22% figure was reached using the counties own formula, only without the flaws and deception the county used in at least the 2000-2001 session of negotiations. Meaning the “Highway Robbery” was done TO the firefighters BY the county for years by underpaying them what was rightfully deserved.
The Fact-finding award document states:

“The Union’s approach to wage comparison surveys took into account seven municipalities within the state of New Mexico and demonstrates that the Unions LBO (last best offer) would place them at the mid-point or the 75th percentile within that universe.

The Union provided a second universe for the same ranks surveyed within comparable departments that operate in the Department of Energy jurisdiction.

Using either the comparable cities in New Mexico or the Department of Energy communities, combined or freestanding, and; relying on the arbitrable standards set forth by Elkouris, Supra, the data demonstrates that the Union’s wage demand is justified.

The most reasonable Last Best Offer, based upon the best evidence is the Union’s.


AWARD

The Fact-Finder, based on the record, recommends the Union’s Last Best Offer as the contract of the parties for fiscal year 2000-2001.”

For your info LAFD runs all medical, fire and related service calls in the county and LANL and is the only municipal fire dept who must maintain a “Q” clearance in the state. (Firefighters are not compensated for them like other LANL employees).

The benefit package from the county while better than some is not as nice as other municipalities where Health care, stability pay and retirement contributions are much better (firefighters pay about16% into retirement in Los Alamos where many other New Mexico municipalities firefighters pay 4% into the same retirement).

To verify this information, please contact one of LAFD’s Unions officers. Though with the turnaround of the fire dept, some may be too new on the job and not know what you mean right away.

If you want the other side please contact Fire Administration. The upper management of the fire department sits across the table from the firefighters. (Most fire chiefs will support their people for doing a good job instead of actively participating against them in negotiations.)

Another option is to contact Denise at County HR she has been VERY involved with the Fire Dept in both negotiations and promotions. Make sure to give her congratulations for her husband who happens to be in the Fire Dept and just happened to promote to Battalion Chief just recently.

Anonymous said...

"1/9/09 2:11 PM"

Suck it up young man! If it wasn't for the twenty-four years of my schooling and my professional achievements, you wouldn't have a job here.
"
1/10/09 4:45 PM"

I can see that the ass troll is back! You are a fake!!!!

"1/10/09 8:07 PM" Please do not believe this phony. Everyone I know at the lab greatly appreciates LAFD and all fire fighters who place themselves at risk for the sake of others. You really are heroes. I would also add all other emergency responders as well.

4:45PM is Mechels or someone like him who is a bitter, twisted, pathetic, delusional, loser who blames Los Alamos and the whole world for their own shortcommings. Please remember this is a blog and you should not take what is said seriously.

Anonymous said...

For all of you that have spoken any negative word in regards to how hard of a job a firefighter may have... what a "cush job" they have, or any thing else negative about them realize that in the end they are the ones that are showing up for you. they could be missing out on birthdays, anniversarys, holidays or some other special event and not even question why. they risk their lives by responding to the car wrecks that YOU get into.... you are into the car.. they are on the streets working to help you with other cars driving around, which could easily hit one of them. they could be exposed to horrible diseases if an iv attempt were to go bad on the way to the hosiptal and they get stuck. they rush to calls regardless of the weather the time or how much sleep they have had. they have to transport people from the los alamos hospital in the middle of the night to the santa fe or albuqueruqe hospitals just to get up sometimes later that night for more calls... and if not then the next morning for classes and daily work. although you do not see it they are not just sitting around in the department waiting for calls to come in playing games and watching games. they have trainings that they have to do. they make sure that they can respond to the best of their best ability for every senerio and if there is a senerio that the may be a question about then the make plans on how they would approach that.... so no... maybe the los alamos fire fighters may not be the perfect firefighters but they are tehre for you day and night, rain or shine... so anyone that has anything negative to say about any of them need to get off your high horses... appoligize and realize what you would lose if you did not have them.

Anonymous said...

Frank - I love the blog and the way you beat up the clueless with the facts, but you are clueless too. Most people will not do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. They do what is in their interest. How many people could have answered your question by now? How many did? Get a lawyer and stop being an idiot.

Frank Young said...

Thanks. Sort of. And ouch.

Anonymous said...

"Suck it up young man! If it wasn't for the twenty-four years of my schooling and my professional achievements, you wouldn't have a job here.

1/10/09 4:45 PM"

Any chance you tell us how you racked up 24 years worth of schooling?

Anonymous said...

As a wife of a firefighter, I feel obligated to offer a different perspective to some of the statements made here, as I find them cruel and heart wrenching.
Let me begin by stating that the administration of this department is self-serving and oblivious to a 48 hour shift as they sit in their comfortable offices for 8 hours and calculate how much retirement they will accrue when they leave.
Our husbands and wives leave for their tour willingly with the knowledge that they may never see their loved ones again. They do so because they are committed to serve this community by risking their lives each time they are called out to do so.
Think about it……… when a building is on fire, everyone runs from it. Our firefighters run into that building to save lives and property. When a call comes in that someone is in distress, our Medic’s do everything within their power to help that person and reassure their loved ones. When a car accident occurs, our firefighters not only have to try and save the injured but also risk their own lives if a fuel explosion occurs, or someone in a “hurry” almost runs over them as they are assisting the patient. If a domestic violence victim calls for help, our policemen respond to secure the scene, but what happens if the perpetrator happens to get past them to finish what they started? Our Medics must constantly watch their back while assisting the patient. I’m not criticizing our police force, I have 2 brothers that are policemen in Albuquerque and they know how quickly and how gravely a domestic call can become.
As for seeing our firefighters at the grocery store, well guess what, they have to eat too. Do you think that food magically appears in their cupboards? Nope, they have to go to the store, buy it themselves and hope they get a chance to eat it. Let me ask you, how many times have you sat down for a meal and had to get up and leave it because you’ve been called away to assist someone or fight a fire? Have you ever seen a firefighter eat? They consume as much as they can, as quick as they can because they always have in the back of their mind that they might have to leave their meal or more importantly, it may be their last. I have personally witnessed a Thanksgiving meal that was left to waste so that someone having chest pain could receive assistance. Mmmmmm, cold turkey sandwiches…Happy Holiday! Our firefighters miss out on many holidays and family occasions. As for trading a shift with someone, that is almost laughable, as each 48-hour shift SHOULD have 45 persons on staff. As mentioned in the monitor article, the actual number is 28. During the 48-hour shift, the crew is expected to stock vehicles, clean vehicles to keep them in proper working order and to have a sanitary environment for the patients. They are expected to clean their station, clear snow if necessary, fill out logs and run sheets, check their personal equipment, check hydrants and organize pre-fire plans for their area among many other things. This is done in ADDITION to calls. It’s fair to say that yes, they do get a bed at night. As far as sleep, well that is questionable. Even if their station is not called out on a run, when the alarm goes off, they are awakened anyway. Does anyone realize that firefighters have the highest rate of heart attacks? It’s due to the fact that when the alarm sounds, the adrenaline pumps even if it’s not your call. It is the second most dangerous job and has the most work related injuries. Burns, smoke or hazardous chemical inhalation and back problems are the most prevalent. Who knows what type of chemicals our firefighters were exposed to during the Cerro Grande Fire?
The turnover rate in this department is appalling. Maybe it’s due to the promotional process that is ridiculous. A 3-year “rookie” can be promoted because he can pass a written test. “Captain 3 year” is in charge of leading 10-19 year veterans into a dangerous situation. Oh, oops, did I forget to mention that the gas and electricity should be turned off before entering? Guess he forgot about that part on the written test. That knowledge comes from experience not a piece of paper. Maybe the turnover rate is due to the fact that an 18 year Driver Engineer will retire at less than 20 dollars per hour with their “Q” clearance. I might add here that the union tries their best to fight for what’s right and fair most of the time, but the administration manages to squash their best intentions.
I will end this with a touching story a patient told me after she was transported by LAFD. She was very scared and the person taking care of her took off his glove so he could hold her hand and comfort her. Please don’t anonymously post your comments that are degrading and hurtful. What are you afraid of? After all, you might be the next patient who needs help. Yes. I shall remain nameless so my husband doesn’t suffer repercussions due to MY opinions. Yep, that’s how it works with the “White Shirts.”
Signed, Sincerely Proud Wife of a Fireman.

Anonymous said...

PS. I forgot to add that our Fire Department is the most highly trained and are required to have the most certifications compared to any other department in the state.

Anonymous said...

Frank
What leaked out of those pipes was probably dilute nitric acid,dilute sodium hydroxide, dilute potassium hydroxide,dirt(the slop sinks tie into the industrial waste and that is where the custodians dump their mop water-after sampling for rad con) and water.The would also be a very small amount of PU and maybe some AM

Anonymous said...

For the folks defending the FD. Cut the drama. I fought fires and ran calls on a ambulance for ten years. Yes going into a burning building is very dangerous....but I don't recall LAFD doing that very often. Firefighters in Los Alamos do not risk their lives any more than most people who work here. Ever been in a bunker with 20,000Lbs of HE. Or worked a hot job in the PU facility? Being a FF in Los Alamos is neither a cush job nor an especially dangerous one. It is just another job.One that does pay pretty well when you factor in the OT....and retirement

Frank Young said...

4:11 PM,
Thank you for the information. That's the first answer I have been given in nearly three years of asking. Please send me an email at pinkyandthebrain.acmelabs@gmail.com so we could discuss this information. By email, on the phone, or I will even come to Los Alamos to meet you in person. Completely off the record if you wish.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that 4:11's answer is what you are looking for, Frank. This is a list of the allowable materials that can go down the rad drain. The hydroxide or nitric acid are not important from a contamination standpoint. This is the equivalent of dilute Drano (hydroxide) or fertilizer (nitrate).

What you really need information about is any radioactive materials that you may have been exposed to (the Pu and Am that 4:11 mentioned). These stay in your body, so if you were exposed, you could easily find out what you were exposed to. The only way to tell is by getting a whole body count, which is performed in the basement of the HRL (Health Research Lab). A single half-hour test will tell you exactly what you were exposed to and exactly how much.

Frank Young said...

9:15 PM,
I agree 4:11 PM's answer wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it was a good start. If you haven't seen it, take a look at LA-UR-02-1673 Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility Plant Test Conducted April 2001. It gives very specific information that I believe characterizes the waste in those pipes, including typical and maximum concentrations (as high as 1100 nCi/L) for gross alpha. Also rad composition broken down into gross alpha, gross beta, and tritium. And in section 6 the data is given for U-234, U-235, U-238, Pu-238, Pu-239, and Am-241.

A letter from LANL stating that this information characterizes the contaminants in the spill, which occurred on [insert date], is all it would take to get me off their back. This is what I was promised when I first contacted the lab. I've never asked for an apology or for them to assign blame to anyone.

As for the whole body count, I doubt I can just show up at HRL and request it. Correct me if I'm wrong because if I can then I will. It's not the first time this has been suggested. I will say that an organization truly concerned with worker safety would have arranged for this years ago.

And finally, thank you for your comment. I'd also love to speak with you, off the record if you desire, and will come to meet you in person if you wish.

Anonymous said...

In response to the comment made regarding the motorcycle accident in WR. The FD was dispatched at 4:27 and were en route at 4:28; arriving on scene at 4:30. I think that's a very reasonable time response. The FD employees (uniformed) are not allowed to make "donut" runs to Smiths but are allowed to buy groceries for the two days they are on duty and are not allowed to joyride as well. No, I'm not a LAFD employee.

Anonymous said...

Is LANS nuts? Why don't they just contact Frank and pay to have a whole body scan done. It would be easy enough, and the right thing to do. The good will they might gain from LANL's blog-meister would be icing on the cake.

Is anyone in LANS upper management listening? Get on the ball and have this man properly scanned for any uptake! It will help put his mind at ease about this incident.

Frank Young said...

Thank you. And yes, they are nuts, but the problem goes a lot higher than LANS.

That there was uptake is not in question. Knowing how much doesn't help me either, since nothing can be done about it. However I want to know and deserve to know how much. Were I an employee rather than a contractor I think the scan would have already been done. And yes, it would buy (much belated) good will.

I will probably have a whole body count done somewhere else eventually. I've never asked LANS to provide one for me, and I'm not asking for it now. As I stated in my 10:29 PM comment last night, all I want is "a letter from LANL stating that this information characterizes the contaminants in the spill, which occurred on [insert date]" That is all it would take to get me off their back. This is what I was promised when I first contacted the lab. I've never asked for an apology or for them to assign blame to anyone.

Anonymous said...

What exactly did the person mean who wrote that he has 24 years of schooling and professionalism? Does that mean you are a "professional" student if you were in school THAT LONG? And what exactly does your schooling have to do with a firefighter having a job? Wow, you need a life!

Anonymous said...

RE:
Anonymous said...
The true story of the hour-by-hour, street-by-street actions of LAFD during the Cerro Grande Fire has not been written, and never will be. Large sections of town were abandoned by LAFD as "too dangerous." The fact that some North Community homeowners succeeded in saving their own homes with garden hoses when LAFD was nowhere to be found speaks volumes about the "heroes."

Its obvious you know absolutely nothing about fire behavior so let me give you a little heads up. THE GARDEN HOSE DID NOT PROTECT THE HOUSE FROM THE FIRE! If it seems a garden hose with a small amount of water saved the house, guess what, the fire wasn't that close to that particular house. That size of fire is not going to be stopped by a garden hose. Say what you may, but that's the truth.

Anonymous said...

Addition to "the truth" On more than one occasion homes were destroyed while the neighbors house may not have been. . . Reason for many? Metal roofs. . . I happened to lose my house in the fire and I still thank those heros who abandoned my neighborhood. Why should they risk their lives for my property? One lost life is not worth 1 house, let alone the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

come on you guy's LAFD have it made, yes they must under-go training but so does everyone else, you guy's are missing the point of the news article. LAFD is not up to parr...

Anonymous said...

LAFD is the only ISO class 1 department in the state. To get this rating they must be able to do a number of things. Some of these include getting the appropriate amount of water to the fire, either w/ hydrants or by shuttling it w/ tanker trucks. They must also be able to respond quickly and accurately to the scene, they must have enough personnel to handle the situation. They can be interviewed by the ISO inspector and basically be graded on their answers. If all these things are not in place, the ISO rating drops. 1 is the best and 10 is the worst, and i repeat, LAFD is the only 1 in the state. P.S. this is one factor that homeowners insurance is based on, the lower ISO rating, the cheaper the insurance. According to the insurance standardization inspectors, LAFD is up to par. Maybe the "drills" that are referred to in the article are the problem. If the people setting up the drills don't really know about a fire department response, how can they accurately judge one?

Frank Young said...

1/12/09 7:00 PM,
Are you serious? The report explicitly faults NNSA and requires them to respond within 90 days and again within 180 days with more details. Did you read the DNFSB report?

Anonymous said...

There are 2 discharge lines to TA-50, one for Cl and one for NO3. Anything that goes over to TA-50 from PF-4 nitrate lines has been processed through an evaporator/nitric acid recycle process to low-level water essentially. Most of the alpha activity has been removed due to the discharge limits set forth from TA=55 to TA-50.

The industrial line is notably water from sinks, mop bucket water(as the person said).

Chloride line to TA-50 hasn't been operational for years.

Anonymous said...

"What exactly did the person mean who wrote that he has 24 years of schooling and professionalism? Does that mean you are a "professional" student if you were in school THAT LONG? And what exactly does your schooling have to do with a firefighter having a job? Wow, you need a life!

1/12/09 1:35 PM"

That person is a fake who is trying to make people at LANL look bad. There are a few "Mechels" types who hate the lab and world. They are sad bitter amd pathetic people.

Frank Young said...

1/12/09 9:05 PM,
Thanks for the information. Installation of new waste lines was completed in February 2007. See this article and this article from the LANL News Bulletin. The spill in question occurred sometime prior to 1 April 2002. Does your information apply to the old (pre-2007) waste lines or the new ones?

Also, there were three lines. My research indicates one was a spare, though it must have been placed in service prior to April 2002 because there was a spill from each of them by then.

The report I cited in my earlier comments gives readings for TA-50 influent. If the spill occurred upstream of the evaporator/nitric acid recycle process you describe then (if I understood you correctly) the alpha activity would be even higher than measured in the TA-50 influent. Does the evaporator/nitric acid recycle process take place outside of PF-4?

Frank Young said...

I forgot to mention, my information is that all three lines were used as the acid line at some point before they were replaced. Is that correct?

Anonymous said...

My home was not saved by LAFD. They quickly abandoned my street soon after the order to leave was given.

My home was saved by a brave neighbor using my garden hose, regardless of what the LAFD supporters may say. Water was available from garden houses until about 9PM on the day the fire raced through the town.

The neighbor stayed behind and put out the spot fires that where raging all around my home. I had left two hoses in my yard and was hoping someone might use them after I was ordered to leave.

Most of my neighbors lost their homes. I was lucky that I had someone watching over my home during the critical first evening of the fire.

LAFD abandoned my home and my whole street to the Cerro Grande fire. This I know for a fact. They made a tactical decision to hold the line several blocks back from the forest boundary homes of North Community. I'm sure LAFD made some valiant efforts to save many homes, but they made little effort to save most of the homes that bordered the forest in North Community. To this day I'm mystified as to why they pulled back so far from the fire on that critical first night.

Anonymous said...

Shovelhead Ed sez:
I am a fireman. I am a Los Alamos fireman. With this in mind, let us begin this literary soirĂ©e. First off, I consider “anonymous” writings to be an exercise in the lack of a quality known as “Pride in Ownership.” Whatever your reasons are for this, suffice it to say they are but yours…. And yours alone. This allows you pious mouthpieces within this hallowed blog hallway, to fire away clandestinely at everyone else without fear of retaliation or retribution. The veil of anonymity perhaps does hold a protective, sheltering quality for the timid of mind and heart. If what you write here ARE genuine truthful statements, why the anonymity? Be proud of your writing, of your opinion. Writing is an art form…. A gift. If you’re proud of it .. put your name on it. I will be now, and in the future; addressing some of these bloggers who have chosen to feebly attempt the degradation of my career and brotherhood with various examples of what one would only refer to a phonetic dungstorm. So…. Anonymous authors… you will be given a number. “Anonymous 1 thru ??? whatever. You will know who you are… who I’m referring to. Remember that number… It’s yours. You own it. How does it feel to be a number instead of a name? So, without further adieu, let us begin? O.K.???? Oh and let’s try not to get our feelers hurt …o.k? freedom of speech and all you know!!!!

Anonymous #1 ( a collection…..inexperienced prima donnas)
This inexperienced prima donna fireman you’re addressing here is a 19 vet. 17.8 years of that serving your shit spewing shell. Feel the need to bag on our trucks…… ok---- fine . Wanna trim some fat? Hey great… I’m all over it man… nobody’s bigger. Perhaps YOU should assist our administrative officers with the ordering of these apparatuses. Know anything about vehicle specs for a quad, a quint, an aerial?? Site and dept. specific for Los Alamos??? I’m sure they’d appreciate your vast knowledge and insight. You ARE the fire apparatus guru, to be sure!!! Yeahhhhh, guilty as charged goin’ to Smith’s. We’re kinda funny that way. Food procurement and daily meals has throughout the years been a mainstay and a constant for us. We’re strange people….. we like to and further more, have a need to eat. Starvation status quo for you? Or what?? We’ll never find you at Smith’s will we? Oh and by the way… thanks for compliment… I haven’t been called a young buck in decades. Feels good… as for response times…. We’ve been through this with you people before so I’ll tell you again. Maybe this time it’ll sink in. If we had a 4-5 minute response time on the scooter wreck it was from the SECOND IN ENGINE AND MEDIC (relocation companies) COMING FROM LOS ALAMOS. Not the first in response companies coming out of White Rock. Times are recorded. Perhaps before you inundate us all with diarrhea of the keyboard, you should know certain facts. One last thing……….. you have little use for us?? Best news I’ve heard today. Let’s keep it that way. You remember one thing…. When you have a need, or a use for us…… you’re having a bad day bubba. It is my sincerest wish that you and yours never need us. Thanks for your time. Have great days.

Anonymous #2 (Two points…… heroes of the Cerro Grande)
Hey 2 points. First off I’m a volunteer in one of those departments who showed up here to serve. I have extensive service with these brothers as well. We ARE extremely practiced. We fight a shitload of fire. You will understand one thing…… there may not be a lot of structure fires here in L.A. , but I’ll tell you, with my extensive training and experience, these brothers and sisters of mine here in L.A. are ready to and HAVE answered the call, and are damn good hands. Let’s talk about Cerro Grande. I am a Cerro Grande vet. Are you? Your job was to run out of town. Ours was to stay and fight. We did. The experienced right along with the inexperienced. All that stayed….. all that fought were the heroes. Where were you? Stand down… you don’t have a dog in this fight. Find something else to nitpick on. You a military vet? I’m seriously doubting that. If you were… you’d understand and have respect for those who do stand in the face of adversity. The experienced were the heroes huh??? Guess what genius. After that fire… everybody had experience. Good day. Hope the new year treats you well.

A special shout out and thanks to YOU…… Frank Young…… thanks much for your guidance and tutelage. Much appreciated. Enjoyed the phone conversation. Have great days brother!!!!!!

Anonymous #3 (true story…. Hour-by-hour)
Yeah sure man…. Abandoned by L.A.F.D. as too dangerous. You are to be addressed in the same fashion as your buddy 2 points above you there. Let’s look at your statements logically here….well we’ll ---attempt to anyway….. not much to work with certainly… but we’ll try. The large sections of town that were “written off” that you refer to, were the areas that we were in the god damn middle of (western area) attempting to extinguish fires that were already involving homes. Homes that were “written off” were the structures that had achieved or were about to achieve “full involvement” status, and there were a lot of THEM bubba. Those were let to burn in order to foam down and attempt to save those homes that were salvageable, or otherwise unimpinged by fire yet. And I mean YET. Also don’t give me your bull crap blog about saving homes with garden hoses. The north community burned. Have you seen aerial photos? Place looked like Rolling Thunder over Hanoi. Only thing standing were the chimneys. I’m all about learning from others, and I’m fascinated with learning new techniques to improve my quality of care and service that I provide throughout my beloved career. So I would really appreciate you and the rest of the garden hose fire company to come forth and teach us how to repel firestorms with 5/8 inch garden hoses. That’s cutting edge firefighting technology right there. And if you can pull THAT off….. market it buddy….. you’ll make millions. You’re pathetic. I was in the middle of it…………. You weren’t. And if you were you weren’t much help. Where was your silly ass know-it- all attitude then? Best of luck and times throughout your days!!

Anonymous #4 (cush job)
Hey c’mon man….. Cush jobs. Who has those? You? Me? Frankly, given human nature if there was one on the planet everybody would be clamoring and chomping at the bit to get it. Own a little piece or a bigger piece of the pie right? Everybody wants longer vacations, better vacation spots, nicer cars, bigger homes, mo’ money, the hottest women, the kinder, more sensitive understanding man…. I mean the human’s list goes on and on. We may not have a plethora of structure fires or metro type calls daily, but we still have many tasks and details to attend to. I cordially invite you to stop by Fire Station 1, on A-shift and I’ll give you the grand 25 cent tour. I would be happy to genuinely show you what we do, and why it’s to be done. It’s obvious that you are unaware of how we live by your choice of verbage. “Gotta be” and “must be” are what’s perceived as “ guess” terms. It’s cool. You don’t know…. I’d be happy and proud to enlighten you. Would love it if you’d stop by. Oh… and uhhhh …It’s not boring. Thanks for your time. May you be in heaven an hour before the devil ever knows your dead!!!!

Anonymous #5 (suck it up young man)
Suck it up young man??????? Stick it in your g/d ear!!!! You need to understand something clown. I have credentials out the wazoo too. Your 24 yrs. of schooling and achievements have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on me serving here or anywhere else for that matter. I choose to serve here. Here’s just a small brief breakdown for you. While you’ve been in school and in your ivory tower, I’ve been out here and elsewhere….. serving 2 departments….. 2 cities for almost 18 and 20 years respectively. In that time, I’ve saved 3 lives. 3 people are walking this earth because of me. You got 24………. I got 3. Hmmmmmmm. 24 to 3? I win. You are a sad little soul… and I feel for you. I sincerely hope your psyche changes and you can feel better towards the world. Must be lonely being the only one, or one of very few in it. Good day.
Well that’s it… for now anyway. For those of you who have read these blogs and have supported , cared for, genuinely concerned yourselves on our behalf and well-being, I say unto you all…. Thank you so much from the bottom of mine and this family’s heart. WE appreciate you. It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve you. I look forward to many more years. For those who navigate by means of negativity , cynicism, and misinformation, I really hope you can find a more positive outlet for your frustrations. Try positive living …… you’ll be happier and there won’t be a need to attempt to bring others down. Best of luck in your endeavors.
One last thing…. This fireman does not ask for “hero” status. I don’t even give a damn if you thank me when we see each other on the street or at the lab sites. But the one thing that I will insist on… for me and this family of mine here…. Is basic respect. We have, by God earned it. I will accept nothing less. Thanks to all who have taken time in your lives to spend some time here with me. A peaceful good night to all.
Hunter
Los Alamos F.D. Firehouse 1

Anonymous said...

"LAFD... made a tactical decision to hold the line several blocks back from the forest boundary homes of North Community."

Then blame the incident commanders who made the strategic decisions on how to fight the fire, not the guys who were holding the hoses.

I'd have thought LANL employees would be sensitive to the difference!

Anonymous said...

RE:
My home was not saved by LAFD. They quickly abandoned my street soon after the order to leave was given.

As was stated earlier, if a garden hose was used, it did NOT stop the fire. Hotspots maybe, but those are nothing more than glorified campfires that were no real threat to the house anyhow. A garden hose will not STOP a fire the size of that one. Do you people bash on all fire departments that have been faced with large fires? Almost all of them lose houses to those sized fires, but they don't also have to stand strong against a fire threatening a nuclear facility. By the way, you were ordered to leave, but your neighbor wasn't? Or did you just high tail it at the first smell of smoke and run like the &*$#% you probably are? Until you know about all the decisions that were made and why they were made, you should probably shut your trap, your comments make you sound like an idiot. The firefighters do not just randomly make decisions, they have commanders to report to and orders to take. Also, why is the LAFD catching the heat from the Cerro Grande, wasn't the forest service ultimately to blame for starting that fire in the first place? GO CRY TO THEM, or better yet, SHUT UP.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone realize that the FD has the "latest toys" because after the Cerro Grande Fire, it was determined that the equipment used to fight that devastating fire was so outdated and did not meet today's standards? The FD did not go out and "seek" the new equipment. It is, by Fire Code, required.

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering why all the FD bashing. I do not work for the LAFD but I do have several friends who do. From an outsiders view, let me just say a few things. These men and women are outstanding individuals in their field. They are highly trained professionals. Heros? Maybe or maybe not. After all, who really is a "hero." I was raised in a family of firefighters and I can truly say, the FF's of LAFD are truly top notch. This includes the EMTs, Paramedics, etc. I can say with nearly 100% assurance that they would not purposely abandon a home that was on fire. The individual who wrote that one life is not worth saving one house hit the nail on the head. We are so fortunate that there was not a single death in the Cerro Grande Fire. The stories I have heard from my FF friends are frightening and there could have very well been lots of deaths because of this raging fire. Who wouldn't run? I can't believe someone is criticizing them for running and getting the hell out. You probably would too! As far as the garden hoses saving houses...I doubt that very much. Ed, I love that you pointed that out! I, too, would like to know why the person didn't stay and put out their house fire with their own garden hose; instead leaving it to the neighbor. After all, weren't you ALL told to leave? If the neighbor stayed, why didn't you? Oh...wait...you ran! Anyway, instead of tearing the department apart, maybe when you see a FF around town - thank them. Yeah, some days might be "cushy" but that's because those are the days when you, Los Alamos residents, didn't need them; whether it was from having no fires, traffic accidents, or no emergency calls for medical responses. Most of the time, that is not the case. I remember my cousin, who was a career FF, telling me that someone was very critical of him as a Paramedic on scene one day providing medical assistance to a heart attack victim. His response? "I hope someday when you need me, I'm there." I hope they will always be there for me and my family when needed.

Anonymous said...

Kurt Sickfus is a great guy.
Kurt Sickfus is not a great guy.
Kurt Sickfus is going postal.
Kurt Sickfus has been to the post office.
Kurt Sickfus is what he is.
Kurt Sickfus was what he was.
Kurt Sickfus holds controlling stock in MAD magazine.
Kurt Sickfus does synchronized diving stunts for cocktail waitresses at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. Between African safaris of course.
Maybe we''ll find Kurt Sickfus somewhere on men's room stalls!!!
For a great time call.....????????
He's sure getting a lot of attention for being an exmample. Perhaps had he kept his current "mample" status he wouldn't be catching so much flack. We have it on good report that "Mample" retirement can be a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching the men and women of the LAFD for some time now, and I'm sorry to say that I don't have many positive things to say about them. However, I will say that one man that works over there, Rick Gonzalez, has to be the sexiest man in all of Santa Fe.

Anonymous said...

That's only because Joe Martz doesn't live in Santa Fe.

Anonymous said...

and neither does Kurt Sickfus!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wellllllllllll…… top o’ a beautiful day to all you wonderful, happy people out there in blogland. How is everyone this great day in January?? Hey ,everybody up for more word fun? I’d consider calling this Round 3 buuuuuut, in lieu of a certain blog entry previously entered, I do believe the dubious honor goes to the individual who came up with the idea of “unhinged”. So, Frank…. If you will please sir….. Here’s round three…perhaps better known as “Shovelhead Ed ….. Unhinged”. Kinda has a ring to it. I mean , think about it…. We’ve had many things in our society go “un” if you will. We’ve been blessed with Eric Clapton….unplugged, Jim Carey…… unmasked, 7UP…. The uncola. To name a few. Kudos to this kind and mentally thrifty individual who has come up with this cool segway . Many thanks. Please take this as a compliment with the use of said term!!! The prefix “un” is a direct connotation to the word “NOT”. Therefore let it be known that I am NOT hinged. Imagine my satisfaction and relief in knowing that I’m not related directly or indirectly for that matter, to any door or piano known to man!!! I’m ecstatic with that knowledge and just briefly cared enough to pass this on to all you who briefly cared long enough to read it. My sincerest wish is for ALL to have fun and enjoy themselves this evening. After all, it’s what writing’s all about…………. FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!! I exercise my freedom and I look forward to yours.
Anonymous#10 (watching too much Foghorn Leghorn)
Ahhh say ahhhhh say ….. of course I did…… didn’t you sahn!!!! Ohhh uhhh sorry….. guess not. Oh well. And who can forget the rest of those wonderful “Looney Tuners” huh????!!!???? Immortalized forever in the annals of the American cartoon kingdom. Ever feel down man?? Feeling too serious….. analytical world reaching out and grabbin’ you by the boo-boo??? May I respectfully recommend an hour or so of Foghorn therapy. There’s just something about barnyard wisdom that can really put things into perspective!!!! Join the world……everybody has access to a computer man..Try to be less tense. Foghorn Leghorn helps with that affliction. Good luck with your rehab. Happy days!!!

Hi Frank….. whassss a happenin” man. How ya been? Hope all’s well on the front. Been busy with home remodel, family business, motorcycle maintenance for upcoming spring/summer/fall. You know the dance brother. The every day… modern day usual…… trying to cram 10 lbs. of shit in a 5 lb. bag!!!!!! Gonna have a little time here this next week. Give ya call later on tomorrow probably. Till then , to coin the old phrase…….” Sit back and leave the driving to us”. Gawd…. Remember that!!!!??? Go go Greyhound!!!!!

Anonymous 11 (15 minutes of fame)
Geeez Louise…… are you serious?? Or perhaps maybe you were inadvertently dropped on your head sometime throughout your life. If so… sorry that happened to you. Bagging on the handicapped is not what I consider to be an endearing activity, so I’ll explain this as gently as possible. If you’re not mentally deficient, then a gentle explanation will still be a real nice gesture on my part wouldn’t it?? So succinctly put…… Look--- once again, this writing back and forth etc.etc. etc….. is about word and idea exchange, freedom of speech and having fun if you like or love to write. The ability to scream openly into the night if you want…. And NOT be screwed for it. There’s no room for fame here dude. (dudette) And there’s certainly no stage. This platform I speak from is yours as well. You can and should be here as often as you…. And you alone……. want to be. Nobody’s holding you back, nor should you feebly attempt the same. See ya in the funny papers Gracie!!!!!!!

Anonymous #7 (wearing the 7 ……scarlet nature)
Mmmmmm I had no idea!!!!!! Hubba hubba. You have one of those too huh???!!!! We know who we are…….. don’t we!!! LOL Cool jammin’ with you. Keep it up!!! No pun intended!!!! A great weekend, I hope…. Is yours!!!!

Anonymous # 12 (free exchange of ideas)
Words can’t express my thanks to you for your support. I’m guessing you’re enjoying this wonderful little show. Stay tuned dear friend!!!!! Lord willing and river don’t rise… there will be more. Ohhhh yeah… heard about that infamous Halloween party…. Word on the street has it he masqueraded as a Fire Chief and nobody recognized him. Won first prize for best costume even. Don’t know though. Just what we heard!!! Anyway, Godspeed…… we’ll leave the light for you. And noooooo…. it’s not a Motel 6 thing!!!! Enjoy the life!!!

Worried…………. Hi nice to meet you. You, Frank and I are the only people here with names. Well different names anyway. Welcome aboard. Enjoy your times here. I didn’t know he coached. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous #13 (someone from county….. computers….. abusing govt. property….blogging to excess) egads!!!!!!
Ooooohhhh ……. hope you’re not superstitious. Well anyway, moving right along AND standing several paces from you in case of inadvertent lightning strike or something…….. hopefully not, but one can’t be too careful these days can we?? As I was saying, I must thank you for your diligent and tenacious logging of this writers computer time. Whew, I, personally was somewhat unsure of the endless hours, days, weeks, months that I have slaved , dripping sweat all over this keyboard in an attempt to not only entertain, and provoke thought amongst the readership and fellow writers, but to primarily focus on ensuring that you have something you could contribute also. However meaningless and incidental it might be….. thanks much….. it’s still something!!! And we ALL appreciate your fervor and dedication to this task. Nominations for the “Leaning Latrine” awards are soon to be accepted and I’m honored….. to send forth ….. with pride…. You… anonymous 13. You’re a credit to the race!!!! P.S. Here’s a clue to assist you with your task……. Look at my entries. Note the times of day of blog entry. Hmmmmmmmmm what do you see??? All my writings are entered……ENTERED at night. Rather late actually. Not written and entered during normal working hours. Not necessarily even written at work. News Flash bubba………. I have a computer at home. Can I get some ooooooh’s and aaaaaaah’s please, due to the fact that I’m one of the very few people in this beloved nation of ours who owns a “home computer”. Betcha didn’t figure that huh!!!!! Keep fishin’ Ismael……… maybe Moby Dick will show up some day for you. May your days be smooth and prosperous.

Hey readers and writers. Want to get some new topics introduced here?? Shall we? Whaddaya think? What’s on our minds? Let’s jam on some new stuff perhaps. Folks up for it?? Good night. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Message for sexy Rickster from the bus........ quit blogging for yourself. We know it's you!!!!

Denise said...

Shovelhead, where can I get some of the stuff you use before writing? Funny, quirky, qizzical & truely mystical.

shovelhead Ed said...

Hi Denise!!!!!!!! Shovelhead Ed knocking on the door!!!!
How are you this fine wonderful evening? Hope all is well with you and your world these days!! Read your blog entry and found myself wanting to say “hey thanks for the ole’ vote of confidence there.” So, I did…. I did say that…. then realized that was a somewhat ineffective way of communicating with you. So I opted to write it instead!!!!! LOL (grin) Let us imagine the greater success with the written word!!! Glad you’re diggin’ the verbage. I have a blast with it…… it’s fun. Gobs of enjoyment and bliss whilst still clothed!!!! Or not…. Who knows. Anyway, as my mentor , HST once said…. “ I cannot condon alcohol, drugs, or violence of any kind……-- but in my case, it’s worked!!!!” Well, having been in government service for many years now, the drug thing is a nonexistent, extinct way of life. Mutant water headed authority from someplace alien , came up with the idea that marijuana free is a great way to go through life. (Don’t step on the grass Sam!!) I disagree, but that matters not. I have willingly made this concession in order to deliver my service and expertise in my field to fellow humanity. So…. not a big deal. Once in a while, a parched palate presents itself leaving only one option. A tall Gentleman Jack with Ginger Ale and 5 ice cubes seems to enhance the flow of creative juices……. In addition to providing a great relief for the thirst incurred by incessant racka tacka tacking on the keyboard leading to all the excessive blogging of recent accusal.) But while late night blogging at work…. It’s au natural. Yeehhhs, maam…this is me….. unplugged!!!!! Or unjugged!!!! Or unhinged!!!! Ahem….. so many adjectives--- only one guy!!! Holy cow!!!!! What will they think of next Ethel!!!!! We’ll find out won’t we??!!?? Hey Denise…hope the sun’s always in your face and the cold wind at your back forgets to howl. Let’s do this again sometime. Hey also, for all readers, in the interest of time and space..... got a question for all… I’m going to put it here as opposed to the separate entry--- excessive thing … you guys understand!!!! Here goes….. OHHHHH KAY. ( Phrase only of course… not the casino!) TRIVIA TIME IN THE GREAT SOUTHWEST!!!!
There is a phrase known as “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” Who knows what this means??? And it’s origins?? Look forward to hearing from you all. Have great days. Hope you’re all content. Shovelhead Ed ………. goin’ back into the bush for now. See ya tomorrow!!!!