Friday, August 31

Back to school- did you feel it?

Hello everyone,

Well the first week of classes is over and we are celebrating with a holiday weekend. Nothing like easing into the new semester!

Did you feel the any of the earthquakes this week? I was in my office on campus Wednesday and felt the 4.1 that occurred in Yorba Linda. I was talking with a student when we heard a bit of a bang, the walls and ceiling shook and then we experienced some slight rolling. Of course everyone wanted to continue just going about their business. In fact some classrooms didn’t even evacuate! 
Earthquake Poster

I was at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg MD last May, which is also home to FEMA. While I was there we were evacuated into the basement due to a Tornado Warning. The second Tornado warning, an hour or so later, we stayed above ground, away from the windows (but close enough to look out). The third time, about 7 pm that evening, we moved our beer from the glass walled “garden room” into the masonry pool hall. The fourth time, 11 pm, - we had moved back into the bar- we decided to stay where we were and watch the FEMA Trailers through the glass walls, agreeing that if they flew away we would move. And these were some of the highest trained emergency responders in the country, as well as your humble professor. Embarrassing but true.  Actually I kept my eye on both the FEMA trailers for lift-off and the graveyard next door for…movement. There was lots of lightning and would have been a perfect setting for some zombie action. Just saying. Risks.


We had two cohorts that took shelter for each alarm. They told us they had seen to many victims who said “If only….”, and they didn’t want to be in that position.

The attitude “it won’t happen to me” is persistent in our culture. We are very good at giving up responsibility for our own safety and taking risks based upon false assumptions, “Chimpanzees make awesome pets.”;  Google Navigator doesn’t make mistakes.” “Physics does not apply to fire apparatus or school busses” ”Safety restraints on amusement rides are designed to hold everyone.” “Cats like babies.”   

I was on an airport shuttle when two women, both Professors from a college in Oklahoma entered the van and settled in. One of the ladies turned to the other and said “Mary, be sure to buckle your seatbelt”

“Um, ok, why?”  I kid you not, that was Mary’s response. 

I expected her answer to be “the laws of physics are different in California”, which would have made sense. I would have accepted “because your ricocheting body, in the event of a bad thing, would hurt me- and that odd woman with the dropped jaw sitting behind us and eavesdropping on our conversation.” It was neither.
“Because they have very strict seat belt laws here.”  was her reply.  (“And excellent brain surgeons” was what I thought in my head, because I am quietly sarcastic like that.)

Anyway, my point is that we interpret risk is a little bit warped.  Which is more dangerous- Swimming Poos or Guns? Drunk driving or drunk walking?


The book (and movie) Freakanomics does a good job of illustrating this. (Let me know if you want to read the book or watch the movie for extra credit

Why do you think that is?

The first week of school is always busy and this semester is no exception.

Class enrollment is down, believe it or not. That means smaller class sizes for you. The college has also added new class sections, full semester and 8-week classes, that do not appear on the printed schedule. If you or someone you know need more units take a look online. 

I have heard that the first Physical Ability Test in September has a lot of openings. This is a really good opportunity to a) get it done if you are finishing your core classes or b) give it a try to find out where you are currently performing at.

There are also still openings in FAC 008B the Physical Ability preparation class. It is an 8 week class that meets 2 hrs each week (Wed night or Friday morning) at the Central Net Training Ground (behind the HBFD station on Gothard between Talbert & Ellis). It is only .3 units, so it is cheap. Get added Tuesday (call the fire tech office) and you can work out Wednesday!

If you are currently volunteering your time, as an explorer, CERT member, or – whatever- get with our Service Learning Program and receive recognition for you work. Participants receive a Presidential Certificate for 100 hours of community service.

The Fire Tech Club will be meeting in room W101 on Tues, Sept 4 at 3:00 pm. We will be registering members, selecting future meeting times and dates, nominating leadership roles, discussing the club constitution and selecting projects and goals for the semester.

Leadership roles that need to be filled include President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Publicist; Interclub Council Representative; Interclub Council Representative Alternate; Project managers. Projects already under consideration include the Hero’s to the Top stair climb, Zombie Run, Small group EMT tutoring, Small Group Cross Fit Training, “Mini-Biddle” relay, movie night, resume workshop, mock oral board.

We will also have club T-Shirts & shorts ($15 each) as well as wristbands ($2) for sale.

 If you can’t make the meeting you can sign up in the Fire Tech Office. Members need to have a current Student Services sticker ($5).

I will be using this blog to share with you my thoughts and observations as we move through the semester. At least once a week, a new post will be added. These posts will include a look at what has been happening at Santa Ana College, opportunities and “breaking news”, current events, real stories, as well as your questions and comments answered.  

I am dedicated to helping you, our Fire Tech students, to understand more about what we do… and when I can, helping your experience at Santa Ana College be as rewarding as possible.

I hope you enjoy it.