Thursday, December 31, 2009

100th, no I mean 101st Post

It's hard to believe, but this is the 101st. post on Report on Conditions. Not too bad for a functional illiterate who doesn't know how to type.

I have enjoyed this project since day one. I pondered about  blogging for several months before getting started. I thought about what I would discuss and about what it would look like. I worried about how I would present my material and how I would protect myself, my family, my coworkers and my customers. Finally, I took 30 minutes and got it going. I am still amazed how easy it was to get started. I am equally amazed how difficult it is for me to keep going.

I have discovered so many interesting people and learned many things about the world and myself. I have a few regular readers. I am proud of the diversity of the people who read here, ranging from members of the fire service, dispatchers, cops, doctors, pilots, nurses, medics, motorcylclists and people who just like to read about lives other than their own. It's a big world out there and I enjoy reading about many of your lives as well as sharing my own.

The blog has evolved over the last seven months. What I envisioned it would be and what it has become are two different things. I have tried to find a niche for my blog that makes it a little different than some of the excellent blogs out there. I am sure it will continue to evolve as does my life.

As mentioned above, I have learned many things while blogging. Here are just a few:

* Blogging late at night is high-risk. More than once, I have fallen asleep at the keyboard. I wake up moments later with a screen full of a single character. I can estimate how long I was asleep by how long it takes me to delete the unwanted script. Editing and grammar suffer as well, my give a damn factor drops as fatigue levels rise.

* Although beer may help my writing to become more animated, it is not really a tool for producing quality material and thus should be avoided while writing. Notice I said avoided, not banned.

* When blogging while angry or impassioned, it is sometimes better to finish the post, then wait overnight until publishing. It saves from having to edit or remove the post later.

* Some posts are better than others. Thats just the way it is.

* Sometimes what I feel is a good post may not be what you feel is a good post.

* Blogging takes a little more time than I imagined. Actually, a lot more time. Coming up with material, taking and prepping photos typing with three fingers and editing gobble up a lot more time than I thought it would.

All things considered, this has been a great experience and I plan on continuing the project. If all goes well, I will reveal my real name and agency three years from today. By the time they get through the disciplinary paperwork, I will be sipping foo-foo cocktails on a beach in Hawaii. I won't be posting a picture though, the world doesn't need to see that.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Be safe out there tonight, it's amateur night.

As always, thanks for reading,


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Call

"I just want my bedroom back" She tells us.

"We can make that happen" is the reply. A few phone calls occur, placing a couple of members on standby. Two hours later, after things are finalized, the call is made and two brothers pull up to the curb. It is well after midnight and the air is cold, their breaths visible in the air.

They arrive just as our brother is loaded into the van. The engine is parked nearby, dark, silent and waiting. The brothers stand with the crew and a few other members, the family waits as well. The task is soon completed and the journey begins. The engine leads, followed by the van and then the chief.

The two brothers go upstairs and begin moving furniture. Unpleasant reminders of the cruelty that had occurred are hauled down to the garage, the bedroom furniture placed back in it's proper place. Soon the room is restored, hopefully, the first step in restoring shattered lives.

Monday, December 28, 2009


It is 0500. I know, right at this minute, there are firefighters standing vigil of a fallen brother. It may be cold, yet there they stand by the body of their comrade.

Tomorrow night, the vigil will continue as it will again on the night after. Our brother will not be alone. Not until he is in his final resting place will we leave his side. It may seem crazy, but it is what we do.

Rest in peace brother.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 1981

The paid-call firefighter was in a good mood as the engine backed into the station. Somehow, he had covered the distance from his home, fought off the lighter than usual traffic and had made the engine before it had left the station. The engineer had either missed the first tone from his plectron, or had spent the night a little farther away from home. Either way, it was good to make the engine rather than take the squad.

The call had been nothing , a minor medical aid. The ambulance arrived in short order and transported the patient to the hospital.  Now, as the engine backed into the dirt yard that housed the all-volunteer fire company, the PCF planned on hanging around at the station for a little while. Maybe another call would come in and he would make the engine twice in one day.

It was early morning on Christmas eve. The sun had been up for an hour or so, not yet warming the cool desert air. The PCF told the other firefighters to take off, get home to their families as he was going to hang for a while and would wipe down the engine.

The mindless task of wiping the engine allowed the PCF to think about wonder when the county was going to build a real station to park the engine and squad in. The temporary station, nothing more than a large carport and a small shed, had already been in use for two years. Although it provided some shelter from the elements, the open walls allowed dust to continually settle on the units. The openness of the station presented a security risk as well, though so far nothing had been stolen. Maybe the word in the barrio was out, leave the bombero's stuff alone.

Supposedly, a new station was in the works, although no one was holding their breath. This poor neighborhood was often neglected, not too many voters lived here. The fact that a station was here was remarkable. The efforts of a few local longtime residents had persuaded the county to open this place. A federal grant had provided the fund for the new engine, fund raisers had provided the squad and much of the equipment. No one knew where the funding for a permanent station was going to come from.

As the PCF finished with the squad, he decided to go to the little restaurant next door and grab a burrito for the road. The restaurant was in an old storefront, one that used to form the only businesses in this little town. It served authentic Mexican food and served the mostly Spanish speaking population that had moved into the community during the seventies. The PCFs ate there often, stopping in after calls and almost always after Saturday morning drill.

When the PCFs first moved into the temporary station and started eating at the restaurant, it caused some concern with some of the regular patrons. Many of them were there illegally and were not used to having uniformed people sharing their tables. The owners knew what the deal was however and were able to assure the regulars that the bomberos were no threat.

The PCF entered the restaurant and appreciated the warmth of the place. He couldn't help noticing a delightful smell coming from the kitchen. When the owner came out from the back to take his order, he had to ask her what the delicious aroma was.

The proprietor laughed and told him that he was smelling Christmas tamales that were cooking in the kitchen. She asked him if he had ever had homemade tamales. The PCF thought about it and realized although he knew what tamales were, he had never had one, at least not one that wasn't made by Hormel. The proprietor laughed again and told the PCF to hold on as she disappeared into the kitchen. She returned a minute later with a paper bag and handed it to the PCF. She told the PCF to take them, as a gift from her.

The PCF could feel the heat from the tamales coming through the bag. The foil wrapping on the tamales failed to contain the aroma of the freshly cooked pork and masa. Heaven in a bag. The PCF sat at the counter and unwrapped one of the tamales. He carefully removed the foil, then the corn husks that surrounded the tamale.

He used a fork and took a bite. The fresh tamale had a wonderful blend of flavor, with the spiced pork center complimented by the corn-meal masa that surrounded it. As it was fresh, it was very tender and the texture of the masa was amazing. He had to share this with his white-bread family.

He told the proprietor that he would like to buy some. She laughed a third time and told the PCF that she was sold out. She had taken orders for 125 dozen tamales, the sample she had given me was from the ones her family would be eating later on that night. The PCF gratefully ate the remaining tamales and thanked the proprietor of the restaurant, then left to complete his Christmas shopping.

The PCF had never known how delicious tamales were or how big of a tradition they were in many families. He stored that information and used it occasionally as his career progressed. He missed the small restaurant and the culinary treats that it sold, but was usually able to find a similar place near the various stations where he worked.

As there are no places where tamales are sold near the healing place, I now have to pick them up on the day before I want them for my crew. Although they keep overnight very well, there is nothing like eating them right after they have been pulled out of the pot. I will always be thankful to the operators of Mi Hermanos restaurant for introducing me to the joy of fresh tamales on that Christmas eve so many years ago.

If you have never tried real tamales, I urge you to do so. Just remember to remove the husks. I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, be safe.

As always, thanks for reading and Feliz Navidad.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Draft 09

The Winter Draft Meeting for the K.B.F.P.D. was held last week. A little more contentious than the past couple of years, but nowhere near as bad as it was when Capt. Ladykiller was still on the job.

( A review of the process can be found HERE)

As usual, there was some pre-meeting posturing going on, with a couple of free-agents needing homes and a couple of veteran players needing a change of venue. Two of my team members wanted to go to larger - market teams. One went to where he wanted to go, the other got his second pick.

That had me scrambling to fill a medic spot and a firefighter's position. I snagged a firefighter coming off another shift. His transfer was an involuntary one. The chiefs are trying to balance out the number of vacancies so that when we hire some more folks, each shift will have the same umber of rookies. I didn't hear about this guy coming into the market until a few hours before the meeting. Another senior captain had his eye on him, as did I. this caused a little conflict, but an amicable resolution was attained.

I picked up a free agent medic who is just coming off of probation. He has no seniority and little status being a boot and all, so that was an easy grab.

As I now have two members who are not qualified to drive the apparatus, this year will be spent training these two to become operators. A lengthy but fun process.

Although we filled all of the spots, there still a little uncertainty. Onr of the vacancies is currently being carried on a unit that cannot have a rookie on it. When we do hire, this spot will have to be filled by a player to be named later, thus moving the vacancy to a "boot firendly" unit.

The other fly in the ointment was a surprise retirement by one of our capatains. This caused some movement of a few captains, affecting a few firefighters who were looking for different supervision. There may be a few changes still in the works, it may affect us. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Back in the day, the K.B.F.P.D. was not an ALS provider. All ALS services were provided by a locally owned private ambulance company. Kind of an archaic approach to EMS, but that's the way it was.

One afternoon, we were dispatched to a reported person with a foot injury. We responded with three personnel, the captain, an engineer and myself - a tailboard firefighter. Although I usually don't miss riding the tailboard, I often enjoyed it back then, especially on a nice afternoon such as this.

We arrived on scene at a run-down single storey house. Several teenaged girls were hanging around the front porch. Another young lady, about 14 I would guess, was sitting in a sofa, which was on the porch. All of the young ladies were near the same age, judged by appearance, and were of various ethnicities.

There were other similararities as well. They were all dressed nearly alike, wore their hair in a similar fashion and all talked like the local gang-banger wanna-bes that populated this declining neighborhood.

The young lady who was seated on the couch was a little more vocal than the rest. Her language was like the others, except that she seemed to use a little more profanity than the rest and was a little louder. I overlooked these quirks, as she was our patient, the one with a nail stuck in her heel.

An 8d box nail if I had to guess. It was protruding from the center of her heel and it did not appear to in very far. As EMTs, our treatment options were limited. The pt. did not appear to be in any distress, had no underlying medical problems and had good vitals and presentation.

She really did not need to go in an ambulance, though she did need to seek medical attention. Through the profanity, local dialect and extreme bravado, we were able to determine that her mom was at work and could not be reached. This was before cell phones were widely in use. Apparently, there no other adults who could be responsible for her either.

As this was likely this pt. was going to have to use the ambulance, my captain reduced them to code 2 and had them continue in. The ambulance soon arrived and we advised them of our findings.

The medic began talking to the patient and was greeted with the same tough-girl attitude and profanity that we were. Understand, it wasn't directed at us, it was just a lifestyle statement. I can't say what was going through the medic's mind, but he remained very calm and professional as he outlined to his patient and to an astonished engine crew his planned course of treatment.

"OK Joy, here's what were going to do". The medic said. "I am going to count to three. When I hit three, I'm going to pull out the nail. I'll put a band-aid on it and that will hold you until your mom gets home. Then, she can run you to your doctors or the ER and get a tetanus shot".

I am ran through my mind all of the BLS protocols that were being violated. Of course, I had no clue what the ALS protocols were.

The medic knelt in front of the pt and gently lifted her leg so that he cradled her lower leg under his arm while he grasped the nail with his right hand. "One". "Two".

On "two" he pulled on the nail strongly enough that his pt. jerked forward several inches. The results were almost instantaneous.

Result #1 - The pt. screamed and made an instant transformation from tough gang-banger wannabe to injured child.

Result #2 - The medic visibly paled as he heard the scream, saw his pt. jerk and came to the rapid realization that the nail was in a lot deeper than he thought. This condition worsened as he realized that there were witnesses.

Result #3 - The nail remained firmly embedded into the bone of the young lady's heel.

Of course since this procedure was a miserable failure, the now sobbing pt. was loaded into the ambulance and transported to the county hospital.

This event would have never occurred if it happened today, or even in the last 15 years. Back then, the ambulance medics were the absolute medical authority on scene and we would never think of questioning their authority. Now, even if we were still a BLS only provider, we would have put the brakes on such a bonehead move.

As we were never approached about this event, my guess is that he got away with it. Hopefully he learned something from it. I know I did.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa's Busy Season

The Melrose Misfits over on Engine 9 in Roanoke VA spied Santa lurking around their facilites this morning. Strange, he shows up at my place this evening. He was riding on the Local FD ladder truck and frankly, he looked a little tired out.

 I guess Santa is pretty tired from the trip across country today. Hopefully, he is rested up by the big day, he is going to have to deliver my coal.

Santa picked a few toys while he was here. Something about a toy drive.

Here, Santa poses with a few members of the Local FD. I have known these folks for a while, as the station is right around the corner from where I live. I am fortunate to live where fire protection is a priority.

We do a similar thing in the KBFPD, It's called Santa in the Hood and we really have a good time. We try to get a rookie to "play the man" and he hands out candy canes while visiting the kids. Santa picks up quite a few toys while he is out, saves him some work later on.

After Santa left, I spent a little time playing with the camera. These night shots keep me a little puzzled.

This shot shows my house and two neighbors across the street. I like it because it shows three different kinds of lights. My old timey ones, John's Ice sickles and the colored ones next to Johns.

One of my neighbors displays this Santa in the Manger scene. He made this about ten years ago. I like it.

 This tree and deer is in my friend Eric's yard. I liked the way the trees and leaves added to the scene.

Hope you all have a nice weekend. Thanks to the Local FD for stopping by, It was good to see them.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Woody's Photography

Woody over at Woody's photography has posted some great night shots of a structure fire that occurred last night near where he lives. I don't know how he does it, but he does a great job catching the scene while it's dark.

Woody can be found HERE

This wasn't a major rager, but he did a great job with minimal light. Definitely worth a look.

I plan on posting later tonight. Til then.

Monday, December 14, 2009


 Another positive thing about getting your CEs done at home.

A warm dog to go with the cold beverage. He slept here through two lessons. I love this damn dog.

Thanks for suffering through my obligitory pet picture.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Schmoe Does Homework

Due to budget cuts, reorganization and convenience, the K.B.F.P.D. has outsourced some of our training. Some of the stuff that has been outsourced is the Tailboard Safety Program and didactic C.E.s for us lowly EMTs.

One vendor that our agency chose is Target Safety out of San Diego Ca. They offer various safety and training programs on line. These are validated courses that have a set amount of time each lesson requires to get through. They are interactive and have a test.

Target Safety monitors time requirements, keeps records and allows us to store videos and manuals on their server.

One of the positives of a program like this, is that you can get these required courses out of the way at your convenience. Home or at work it doesn't matter, you just log on and away you go.

One of the negatives of a program like this, is that you can get these required courses out of the way at your convenience. Home or at work it doesn't matter, you just log on and away you go.

People like me who really don't enjoy these courses have a tendency to wait until they are nearly due and then hammer them out. That's fine until you take a large amount of time off in the month that the assignments are due.

I have until the 30th to complete 18 one hour courses. It won't be any problem as long as I remember to do it. I got three of them out the way today. A couple per day and it will be no sweat.

This is one of the small safety messages that they display on the log in page. I guess they don't really want us texting while driving the rigs. It's not like we're driving a train or flying a plane to Minneapolis or anything.

This is one of the CE lessons that I worked on today. This particular page dealt with developmental disabilities, a subject that I am intimately familiar with. Ignore the bottle, it is part of a cognitive study that I was working on while taking this course. My test scores dropped significantly while taking this test, but my overall opinion on the class actually rose as time went on. Odd.

This is the payoff. 24 of these little Jessies over an 18 month period and you are done. Just don't wait until December.

Even though I grouse a little about the program, I do support it. It takes quite a burden off what's left of our training division. My issues with it are primarily me, not the program.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend, sorry to all of my readers in Chicago, the Packers came through and were victorious.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Every Once In A While

I am a little proud to be a member of the KBFPD. I worked my ass off to get this job, even harder to keep it. (Newer readers look HERE) I studied hard and was promoted twice (in spite of myself) and I work with some great people.

I think we do a decent job for the most part. There are some things which we could do better and we are working on those. We are reasonably well led and I am comfortable with the direction our district is headed, despite external influences over which we have no control.

Every once in a while, my agency does something that makes me so proud and yet so honored to be associated with such quality people. I can't go into detail obviously, but one of our members is not doing so well. The amount of thought, effort and compassion that the district is showing while handling this ordeal is humbling. This isn't the county government or fire commissioners, this is the people who wear the patch and badge of the KBFPD.

I am proud to be a part of this collection of knuckleheads, even when I may be pissed at some of them. I just hope, even after all of these years, that I am worthy to wear the same badge.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun and Games at the K.B.F.P.D.

It isn't all toil and trouble at the Kinda Big Fire Protection District. On rare occasions, we have fun.

While coming back from drill one day, we were driving by a property that is usually gated and sealed up. This time, the gate was open and the resident was out in the yard. We stopped and said hi, he made the mistake of being friendly and speaking with us, We were there for over an hour, looking at his private collection of cool stuff. Here, two of the crew try out his hand car. The track goes around the perimeter of his property and shows off some of the buildings and collections that he has.

One of several "Old Timey" buildings that are part of his collection. We had to forcibly remove our engineer from the saloon, PBR is his favorite brand.

On a different note, I love taking pictures. I bought a Canon SX10 Is back in June. It is a great camera and I have been having a lot of fun with it. I would, however, like to upgrade to a DSLR, as I would like to be able to change lenses, have more manual operating options etc.

I have been stashing cash away for a few years to do some more mods to my jeep. I am really close to getting the work done, but now I am debating whether to deplete my jeep fund and get a DSLR camera or just get my jeep done and hold off on the camera.

Or, I could finally buy some shoes for the kids. Not. Shoes are overrated.

Here is a picture of my evil twin brother Morris holding my current camera, which I acquired back in June. It's pretty cool I guess, I just think a DSLR would allow me to express my artsy-fartsy side a little better. Moe, haven't you heard of whitening strips?  BTW, I want my sport jacket back!

Have a great weekend for those of you who aren't on shift.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Facebook Faux-Pas II

"Wheres Jones?"

"He called off"

"Really, I talked to him yesterday, he seemed fine"

"Lets check his face book page, maybe he posted whats wrong"

Jone's last post - "It's 2am, I'm hammered and I'm up 200 bucks. What a country"

An awkward pause then much discussion ensued. I don't know the outcome for sure.

Oops. Yet another reason not to be on face book. Of course, you don't need technology to get in trouble. This happened to me:

It's a Friday night, about 9 P.M.

"Schmoe here"

"Hey Joe, It's Chief Consensus. Sorry to do this to you, but Capt. Narcissus called off and no one is signed up for tomorrow. I have to force hire you"

"Are you kidding me? Shit. I am supposed to teach at the academy tomorrow. There's no way they are going to find a replacement at this late date." I am rapidly approaching a line that I shouldn't cross. I wisely decide to shut up, get the info and terminate the conversation.

I call the drillmaster at the academy and tell him I got forced. He isn't happy, but what can I do. I'm kind of pissed because I know Narcissus is probably fine and just wanted the day off.

Later on the following week, I return home from running errands and who do I find in my kitchen? Junior Narcissus. He and number one son are friends and go to the same school.

"Hey Junior, how was your weekend? Did you guys do anything fun?"

"Yeah Mr. Schmoe, we went camping at Pismo and took the quads and stuff. It was really awesome."

I could have made life pretty miserable for Narcissus and ratted him out. He would have had one of those decisive moments and would have had to decide whether to tell the truth or lie like a rug. As I am not a rat, I chose to let it go and take random shots at him when I get the chance.

Sorry Narcissus, I can't work for you, I've got something planned. Sorry Narcissus, I'll get that inventory report to you right away, I don't know how it ended up at station 3.

Because Narcissus put his needs above everyone elses, he inconvenienced me, 30 students, the drillmaster and some other guy that had to teach the academy. Strong work nucklehead, I'm glad your time is so much more valuable than ours..

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mysteries Of The Pyramids Revealed

While visiting the folks a while back, I stopped by to visit some friends and came across a cribbing and shoring class being given at their department. A beautiful day with decent light forced me to take some photos. I have attended a small portion of this class, it was well worth the time spent on it.

The objective - Move a one ton concrete block 25 feet to a 30 inch high obstacle. Lift the  block over the obstacle and across a 25 foot gap, then lower the block back to the ground. All of this using hand tools, a rope, cribbing, some pipe and a few timbers. Maybe aliens didn't build the pyramids after all and this is how the Egyptians did it.

 In this picture, the block has already been lifted onto the pipes and has been rolled to a ramp which has been constructed to go up the obstacle. Large pry bars are used to gain a purchase point under one side of the block. Three, four pry bars - whatever it takes. Wooden wedges are placed under the narrow space created by the pry bars and the process is repeated until the block is high enough to place pipes under the block. Once the block is up on the pipes, it can be rolled used the pry bars as levers to push it along.

The block is arriving at the ramp. Once the pipes roll out from the block, they are repositioned to the front of the block and the block then rolls over it. In this image, the have already attached the rope to the block. It will be used to pull the block up the ramp The two pry bars visible to the rear of the block were the ones used to lift and then propel the block.

The block starts it's journey up the ramp, there is tension on the rope. The pipe has just been repositioned to the front of the block, one is probably just getting ready to pop out form the rear.


Ready pull! Pulleys are used to create a mechanical advantage, yet it still takes a few guys to pull that block up the ramp. Each person grabs onto the haul line and walks/pulls to the rear. When the last person runs out of room, he lets go of the line and goes to the front. This is repeated until the objective is obtained.

 Partway there. The block has been lifted and is ready to be pulled across the gap. A bridge is created using timbers. Note the cribbing structure created on the left side of the photo. These evolutions use up a lot of people and wood. A lot of time is used as well. I didn't get to photograph the lowering of the block, I ran out of time.

Another portion of this class covers the shoring of unstable structures. Once a structure is assessed for hazrds and the shoring needs have been determined, a system is developed to construct the required shoring.

Since you are usually dealing with dangerous work areas and restricted space, much of the shoring system is constructed outside the structure and then assembled inside. The team inside has already determined their needs, measured the size and quantity needed and has relayed the information outside. These people are building this to the interior teams specs.

Once the components are assembled, they are brought inside and assembled. Here, the shoring is designed to support a weakened ceiling. Shoring, although simple in design, is an art form. You better know what you are doing.

I wish I had more time to take even more images. There was a lot of stuff going on that day. Thanks to BillyBob for letting me photograph his beloved drill grounds.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Asocial Networking

The following event allegedly occurred at a municipal fire department several counties away from mine. The story surfaced at a class, was told to some folks, one of whom told it to one of my crew members who told it to me. It was relayed to me after many beers (both on the telling side and the listening side)and is being told to you while I am suffering from a very minor headache and a slightly sour stomach.

What I am trying to say, is that this is a rumor. Although I am sure parts of it are true, I am sure parts of it may be inaccurate. Regardless, it presents some interesting issues and exemplifies that modern social networking venues do not masque poor behavior.

I must also add that I do not have a facebook page so some of the details may be off a bit as to the way facebook works.

Probationary firefighter Newby opens his laptop and logs into his facebook page. He notices that there is a friend request from Battalion Chief Techno. Newby thinks about the content on his page, the photos and comments from friends and decides to deny B.C. Techno's request.

It's not that there's anything really "Bad" on his facebook page. He's not stupid. Hell, even his mom is one of his "friends". But what would happen if he posted pictures from a ski trip, or party shots from his girlfriends birthday bash which occurred on the weekend before his skills assessment or one of his written tests? Who needs that kind of trouble?

A week passes and Newby forgets about the request and the following denial. Then one day, as he walks past the chief's office, B.C. Techno asks him to step into the office. Words that most boot firefighter do not want to hear.

"Newby, I am a little concerned about you denying my friend request on your facebook page" B.C. Techno states, "I'm worried that you may have inappropriate material on your page that you don't want me to see".

Newby explains that there is nothing inappropriate on his facebook page, it's just that he is a kind of a private person and reserves his friend list to close personal friends.

Whether B.C. Techno believes probationary F.F. Newby or doesn't is not known. The matter is dropped, however it does not go away. It takes on a life of it's own as the tale is passed from agency to agency, person to person and then related to you here.

The consensus of the crowd who heard the tale last night, was that that B.C. Techno was out of line not once, but twice. I must confess that I do not know the etiquette of facebook or twitter. I don't know the etiquette of blogging or even if there is one.

I do feel that poor behavior is poor behavior regardless of the venue. I believe Techno crossed the line of poor behavior when he asked to be Newby's "friend" and crossed it even further when he questioned Newby as to why he was denied.

My advice to Newby would be to be very selective about what he posts on his facebook page and also about whom he accepts as his "friends". I would offer that advice to anyone.

I figure that I am sticking my neck out enough with this blog, I'll just stay away from facebook. Call me paranoid.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Views Expressed..........

This is not a political based blog. It is that way for a reason. There are a ton of blogs out there, from both ends of the political spectrum, that do a far better job expressing their political views than I ever could. Having said that, I must admit that I tend to be more conservative than not.

The following video was sent to me by Julian, a pilot and blogger from near Sydney Austrailia. I am showing it to you, because the people who produced it did a very good job in making their point (even though I may or may not disagree) and it is very satirical in nature. I love satire. The fact that the producers love firefighters helps as well.

Remember: "The views expressed in the following video do not necessarily represent the views of Joseph Schome, The Report-On-Condotions blog or our sponsor Joseph Schmoe Brewery, Death Valley Ca."

Ahh, the creativity and energy of youth!

Thanks to Julian for sharing this vid and thanks to you for reading.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I ran into an acquaintance from down south the other day. "Tyler" a firefighter in a small city in Los Angeles County. Like most of us, he works for a city that experiencing some budget issues. His bargaining unit has agreed to some staffing level concessions to help soften the economic woes.

Apparently, the concessions and cutbacks were not enough and the city is seeking to reduce costs even more. One thing that is being looked at is eliminating the fire dept. and contracting with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. for fire protection. Although this idea has been looked at before and dismissed, many feel the timing for such a move is right and is likely to occur.

This is not an uncommon occurance. L.A. County provides fire protection for many cities within the county and has absorbed at least ten municipal fire depts. since I have been a firefighter.

As far as I know, when a department is disbanded and L.A. County gets the contract, the personnel are usually absorbed into L.A. County fire.

I believe L.A. County is a great organization and also believe that for most of the people who get absorbed, it is a great deal once the kinks get worked out.

I asked Tyler what he thought about being absorbed and I was a little surprised by his answer.

"Schmoe, I'm bummed" he said. " I've spent XX years of my life with my department. I've been on the board, I've seen it evolve and develop it's culture. It would be sad to see it go away."

I tried to point out the opportunity to experience all of the things that a mega-department has to offer, but Tyler didn't seem to care. He knew that his way of life might be changing. The idea of helicopters, fireboats, bulldozers, handcrews haz-mat teams and USAR teams didn't surpass the feeling of belonging and culture that his present department provides.

I am not sure how I would feel if a larger organization swallowed up my beloved  Kinda Big Fire Protection District. I am sure I would struggle with the changes in procedures and policies, but I'm sure I would adapt. I definitely would miss all most of my co-workers, but the ones a care about the most, I would find a way to keep in touch.

I would definitely rather get absorbed than be out of a fire service career. I can't see myself finishing concrete again or washing airplanes.I don't think I have to worry though. L.A. County is a long way from where I work.

Thanks for reading,