Sunday, April 14, 2013

ALAMEDA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT

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Late last month I visited the Alameda County Archive. We share driveway space with the Alameda County Fire Department and on that day they were doing drills. There is much in common between fire safety and police protection.
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Now that my Picasa picture program is working again, and as I busily ready my return to the motor home, I thought I’d dip back and revisit that day. I got a kick out of this personal touch on the main engine, a humorous  Haz Mat flag.
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In this exercise, I stood looking over the apprentice fireman’s shoulder. It looked like he was simply holding ropes, and he was.
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But, key, here, is understanding the language of ropes. The apprentices are learning how to affix ropes to a stable source, a tree, bridge support or in this case a vehicle, to go over a cliff and be able to pulley the victim back up the hillside. The rope apparatus is complicated at first.
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This exercise is basically the same. What do you tie to if there is no bridge support, tree or vehicle close enough to tie on to?  You learn to build a sturdy triangle support system on the ground to tie on to.
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It is very important and physical work. This woman patiently explained everything to me and then kindly pointed out a bird that had decided to make a nest in harm’s way on the flat gravel staging area.
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Everyone made an effort to avoid her nest and protect her from harm.
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The water rescue boat was on display as well. That is another whole lesson. Maybe I’ll catch it some day. In any case, it was fascinating to watch them.  I keep mentioning the “old days”. And, I do remember when many of these tasks were done by volunteers. I think Alameda County does an excellent job training police and fire departments in a very professional way. Much better than the old days.

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