Sunday, June 29

To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world!

Tuesday, June 24

In Case of Emergency....

Badly translated sign from a chinese hotel about rules when you're on fire!

Saturday, June 21

Los Angeles Fire Department tattoo coverup muddles real mission - Los Angeles Times

What do you think???
Fire Department tattoo coverup muddles real mission - Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles
I might be a little nervous walking past Carlos Caceres on the street, tattoos covering his beefy arms and the back of his hands and creeping up his neck from beneath his shirt.

But what would I think if Capt. Caceres rolled up to my burning house in a fire truck?

That question is at the heart of a new controversy in the Los Angeles City Fire Department -- one that is rekindling smoldering tensions by making tattooed firefighters the butt of jokes.

At issue is a policy the department announced this spring, requiring firefighters with tattoos to cover their body art whenever they are on duty.

For many that's an easy order to follow; their uniform sleeves reach to their elbow creases.

But for hundreds of firefighters like Caceres, that means wearing long-sleeved shirts, turtlenecks, long pants, even gloves, around the clock. It's not just when the fire bell rings, but inside the fire station when they train, eat, exercise and sleep.

It's a "grooming issue," said Capt. Armando Hogan, spokesman for Chief Douglas Barry. "We need to make sure we're professional-looking. We've got an image to uphold."


This is a department that recently cost the city $16 million in payoffs to firefighters who've been insulted, harassed and discriminated against on the job. And they're worried that people will think they're unprofessional because a guy has his kids' names inked on his arm or flames crawling up his neck?

Give me a department full of guys like Caceres, an 18-year veteran who has his entire body inked with family names and faces, images of fire and comic book characters.

"I don't care what the guy next to me looks like," he told me. "Can you go into a house and pull a body out? Can you tie the right knot to get a guy off a cliff? That's what matters."

Or John O'Connor, a 20-year veteran whose forearms are covered with tattooed tributes to other firefighters. "When I show up on an emergency call, I don't think anybody's saying, 'I don't want the tattooed guy to touch Grandma.' "

I think he's right. When I see tattoos on a firefighter, I'm inclined to think "strong and bold," somebody who'll rescue me or my daughters from danger.

The LAFD brass and firefighters' union have been haggling over tattoo proposals for years.

The union and an independent fact-finding panel backed a ban on profane or offensive tattoos, or those that might imply gang ties and threaten fire crews' safety in the field. That makes sense to me.

But the department instead required that all tattoos be covered all the time.

The union has filed a grievance because the policy is being enforced haphazardly. Some battalion chiefs are patrolling dorms, making sure tattooed firefighters sleep in shirts and pants. Others, said union vice president Jon McDuffie, "are using common sense."

"You've got a guy who's been in the Marine Corps, has the tattoos, has been on this department for 20 years. And now all of a sudden he looks unprofessional? In Los Angeles . . . where you've got doctors with dreadlocks, earrings and tattoos?"

Honestly, I'm not a tattoo fan. I'm still wrestling with my teenage daughters over the issue, trying to persuade them not to permanently mark up their bodies with literary quotes, flowers and Tinkerbells.

But the Fire Department's coverup decree strikes me as impractical, unsafe and imposed so ham-handedly, I can almost smell the lawsuits brewing.

When Chief Barry was promoted to the top job last year, his mission was to restore the department's good name and calm internal hostilities.

Instead, his new policy could reduce the pool of recruits and has already trashed morale among veterans and sparked a new round of hazing.

Stories of crude jokes and pranks targeting tattooed firefighters are making the rounds.

"It's frustrating," one firefighter told me. He has to wear long sleeves in the station to cover his arms. "Guys come over and say, 'Boy, it sure is hot, isn't it? I hear it's going to be hotter tomorrow.' You hear a lot of that, and after a while it gets to you. You feel like you're being singled out, made fun of."

Hogan said he hadn't heard about the allegations. "It's a little uncomfortable for some folks in the field. I understand that," he said Thursday from his air-conditioned office. "The policy will be reviewed to see if it's as impractical as people are claiming."

So, while the city was baking in record-breaking, triple-digit, tinderbox heat, he was contemplating whether forcing tattooed firefighters to wear long sleeves is "meeting the needs of the citizens."

As a citizen, let me tell you what would meet my needs: A fire department that focuses more on firefighters' competence than the ink on their skin.

Thursday, June 12

LAFD Truck Work "Ring of Fire"

This non-department video portrays the dangerous but necessary 'truck work' of rooftop ventilation performed by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

NOTE: The audio track of this non-department video contains one instance of vulgarity.

Smoke Detector Rant

Adam Carolla rants about smoke detectors that need to have their batteries changed during a Love Line call. ADULT CONTENT.

Shocking...most kids sleep through regular smoke alarms

A shocking report and demonstration...

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Smoke Alarm (HBO)

Larry is awakened by a smoke detector....

Sunday, June 8

Public Education Resources Hot List

Click here for a list of links to get you started.
Click here for the Scrap Book Assignment.

Joe Dirt - fireworks stand scene

Redneck Fireworks

An American tradition!?

2008 Consumer Fireworks Safety PSA

Take a "Roman Candle Holiday" with Doofus Dan...

NFPA's New Electrical Safety PSA

The Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire

The Dupont Plaza Hotel fire was a fire that occurred on the Hotel Dupont Plaza (now San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino) on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1986.

The fire was initiated by three disgruntled employees of the hotel that were in the middle of a labor dispute with the owners of the hotel. In the end, the fire claimed 97 lives and caused 140 injuries.

This is considered to be the most catastrophic hotel fire in Puerto Rican history.
From the old 911! Series with William Shatner:

Part I

Part II

For more info about this fire, check out

Monday, June 2

Fire Safety Song

From the UK....enjoy!

China earthquake: Teacher admits leaving pupils behind as he fled Chinese earthquake - Telegraph

China earthquake: Teacher admits leaving pupils behind as he fled Chinese earthquake - Telegraph
In an act of moral foolhardiness, Fan Meizhong set out on a blog his guiding principle: in matters of life and death, it's every man for himself.

When the quake struck, rather than overseeing an orderly evacuation, he said he just shouted "Stay calm, it's an earthquake!" and ran for it without looking back to see if his pupils were following.

"I ran towards the stairs so fast that I stumbled and fell as I went. When I reached the centre of the football pitch, I found I was the first to escape. None of my pupils was with me," wrote the man now known across China as 'Runner Fan'.

When his pupils began to arrive, they asked: "Teacher, why didn't you bring us out?"

His explanation was simple. "I have a very strong sense of self-preservation," he said. "I have never been a brave man and I'm only really concerned about myself."

While newspapers have largely followed instructions to concentrate on uplifting tales of rescue work since the earthquake, the internet has seen a wild variety of tales emerge.

It was internet sites that first reported the quake, and where some of the first pictures of collapsed schools were posted. Internet users have debated how to apportion blame for shoddy building work, as well as rallying praise for emergency services and politicians seen to have done a good job.

Other local officials have been vilified by name for a variety of offences, some relatively trivial, such as smiling too much during visits by their superiors.

Some plotlines have been wild, such as those which have discussed whether fortune-tellers could have foretold disaster, but few have hit upon such a sensitive topic as Mr Fan.

He was not the first to raise the issue. Many news reports have focused on stories of teachers putting children first, almost certainly representing the vast majority, such as that of another teacher, Tan Qianqiu, whose body was found shielding four of his pupils, all of them alive.

But some schools were uneasy that their teachers had a higher survival rate than pupils.

One such was Juyuan School, where hundreds of pupils died - parents say 500 to 700 though the official number is 278 out of 900 - but only six out of 80 teachers. Parents pointed out that teachers stood nearest the doors.

But Mr Fan went further, attempting to justify his abandonment of his pupils, who all survived the quake.

"I didn't cause the earthquake, so I have no reason to feel guilty," he said in an interview. "When I got back to the classroom, the students were all fine."

He also risked angering those closer to him, saying he would not have tried to save his own mother if she had been present, though he might have made an exception to his general rule for his one-year-old daughter.

He pointed out that education law does not demand that a teacher save his pupils during an earthquake.

"If every teacher was like Mr Tan, then we'd have no more heroes," he said. "I admire heroes like Mr. Tan, but I can't do that myself. I love my life more."

Now the head of the private school where Mr Fan worked is under pressure to fire the teacher, and publicly questioned Mr Fan's wisdom in being so frank. Running might be a normal reaction, he said, but talking about it afterwards was something else entirely.

One commentator in a state newspaper, the Shanghai Daily, described Mr Fan as a "courageous coward" for admitting what happened - but added that his courage was not sufficient to exonerate his cowardice.

Mr Fan may as he said have been trying to prick the hypocrisy of "insincere tears", the commentator said.

"Yes, there are insincere tears but you, Fan Meizhong, should have challenged hypocrisy with sincere tears," he wrote.

The Associated Press: Water pressure blamed for Universal Studios damage

The Associated Press: Water pressure blamed for Universal Studios damage
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities will try to determine Monday whether the blaze that destroyed some of Hollywood's most famous backdrops was made worse by low water pressure and an overwhelmed sprinkler system.

At one point, Sunday's fire at Universal Studios was two city blocks wide, and low water pressure forced firefighters to get reserves from lakes and ponds on the 400-acre property. The blaze was contained to the studio's back lot, but it took firefighters more than 12 hours to extinguish it.

"The water pressure situation was a challenge," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman said. "This fire moved extremely fast."

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said authorities would investigate the water problems to see if they reflect a larger shortfall in the area.

"There's no question that there was a lack of adequate water pressure at least in the perception of a lot of firefighters," he said. "We're going to find out what the problem was."

In addition, the sprinkler system on the outdoor sets was nearly useless, Freeman told the Los Angeles Times for Monday's editions.

The cause of the blaze had not yet been determined.

Sunday, June 1

Universal Studios Fire

Click here to watch the video

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - A massive fire raged on a back lot at Universal Studios early Sunday, devouring several movie sets, including mock New York and New England streets. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Daryl Jacobs said at least one building had burned and as many as three blocks of movie facades were destroyed. Though the fire was contained, it was still raging, Jacobs said.

"The facades are constructed of heavy timber and they tend to burn quite freely," he said.

The blaze broke out just before dawn on a sound stage, fire Capt. Frank Reynoso said. A thick column of smoke rose thousands of feet into the air. For a time, firefighting helicopters swept in to drop water.

More than 100 firefighters were trying to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby brush, Reynoso said.

Universal Studios spokesman Elliot Sekuler said the theme park would open Sunday, though the studio tour would be affected by the blaze. He said filming was going on when it broke out, but had few other details about the fire.

Filming might have been going on at the time the fire broke out and there was at least one explosion, Reynoso said.