Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Only Elaborately Trained Professionals Need Apply, Apparently

Followup on my idea that volunteers should just go out and git 'er done, regarding the search for Katrina/levee failure victims. (Can you believe I actually have to post this on May 30th?)

Anyway, I put in a call to the Texas group that's sending out pairs of folks to search the residences of missing people. No callback yet.

Second, I put in a call to the New Orleans Fire Department. (That wasn't easy. Their previos non-emergency number has been changed, and then they didn't have an operator working on Memorial Day.) Anyhow, I spoke to a very polite gentlemen who took my name and number and thanked me for my interest. However, he said, it takes highly trained "urban rescue" trained people, or something like that, to be allowed to enter these houses. I said I would be happy to be trained if it didn't involve a degree or something. He said even regular firefighters aren't allowed to do this. The guys who do it go elsewhere to be trained.

I'm just a dude, a guy, but I have a few questions:

1. Why does it take a professional to do ANYTHING at all these days? I think heart is enough for a lot of jobs.

2. Okay, so only trained people should be doing this. Great. Let's get EVERY FREAKING TRAINED TEAM IN THE COUNTRY in here on a rotating basis. I hope to God we're doing that. I have a feeling we're not. Which means that the last person killed by the failed levees will be discovered in 2020.

3. Something's seriously wrong with our society. Our region is in the midst of the greatest, most widespread disaster in our nation's history. No one has called me ONCE for any kind of volunteer work at all. I have sought such work and have found it and have performed it. No one has asked me for anything. Something is wrong. A society that can no longer ask its citizens for sacrifice is doomed to fail.


ashley said...

I called the Baton Rouge group, and they actually got into legal problems because they didn't have the permission of the owners to go into the house (to find the dead guy). So they are now coordinating everything through a Dallas-based group consisting of a bunch of reverends.

The revs say everything must be coordinated through the NOFD.


We're trying...we're really trying.

Oh, and no callback yet for me either.

Lady Morwen said...

Mr Clio,

Don't you understand that all of this is indicative of expertitiseitis?

Example: there's a problem, little folks rise up to the need, and once established, the college-trained folks step forward and replace the first rank with themselves as the facilitators. (And they get paid.)

Saw this with the AIDS Crisis during the 80's in S.F.

We did the work for free, out of compassion and love.... then came the "trained folks", and we were edged out. We didn't get paid... fartherest thing from our thoughts, but to the "educated crowd"... it was a JOB.

This is happening here now. We will see waves of carpetbaggers horning in to make their space and reputations on what many of us have started. I have seen this scenario over and over.

Where now those who must be healed, and these "Johnnies and Jennies come late", will come in and attempt to establish their credentials, a JOB.

The thing I have learned through the years is that they cannot do the job. (They'll take tons of Fed $$$ for their 'work', but they do not truly understand the magnitude of the prob.)

These things are best left in the hands that understand, those that have a stake in the outcome.... those who do it without expectation of a financial reward. (My reward is getting the city back... no $$$$.)

The prob with our culture is the expectation of immediant physical awards and compensation. No heart, no soul, just freakin' pay me!

That's not the way it works. One gives because it's the right thing to do, not in the expectation of 'reward', but in the hope of results.

This is called Humanity, and unfortunatly, that is no longer taught in our centers of "Higher Education". May the One help us.


scout prime said...

I've been following this for months at First Draft if you are interested.

In March FEMA brought teams in again. But again the feds and state disagreed on who was going to pay for it. FEMA said not us.
In fact a dog team from Maine finally just left after FEMA had not paid for their hotel. They came back from searching one day to find out they were locked outof their room. Also there were not vet services on site for their dogs which is essential. They also complained that the search was very poorly run and organized. They left town in disgust. Here is a link
for story on the Maine dog team

I am not sure FEMA has any teams there now. It appears they are re-embursing the NOFD instead but I haven't been able to find this out for sure.

Here is one link from FD on the history of the disagreement over who should pay for the search.

Mr. Clio said...

Ashley, I thought the point of volunteer organizations was to make it possible for people with jobs to put in some time doing volunteer work. Now it seems their role is to use money to hire professionals. Oh well. We'll keep trying.

Lady Morwen, you've obviously already seen a catastrophe happen (though of a different sort), and it is somehow slightly reassuring to know that this professionalization thing has happened before.

Scout Prime, you are all over this story. I'm a piker. I really appreciate your staying on this. The Maine thing is sickening.

I also like your living will amendment.

Ray in New Orleans said...

Here's the national SAR training organization:


Here's what we got here in Austin (remember, these are VOLUNTEERS...I'm trying to find out if Louisiana has similar volunteeer SAR teams, I'll let you know what I find out):


Here's the New Orleans CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) page. I've done CERT training in Austin, and if the N.O. organization has its act together, this will be a good way for you to contribute in the next storm.


The key is to get the training and get signed up NOW, before the storm hits. You also typically need to be fingerprinted and have a background check by the FBI since CERT is funded through Homeland Security, but that shouldn't be a problem for anybody except Ashley.

LatinTeacher said...

You are right on. Let me say this as well: When a nation know (and cares?) that a certain celebrity was not allowed to scream while she was giving birth but the same people don't know that nearly 800 people are still missing from a natural disaster that destroyed a city in their country, that right there is messed up. I will come in again and again and again to help. I feel what is commonly called "obligation." I do not need to be asked. Of course, I am a native and my perspective may be skewed. Nonetheless, I agree with Mr. Clio - sacrifice is more valuable than any amount of money.

Ray in New Orleans said...

I know this is frustrating, but there really are training issues involved here. Do you know how to tell if a house is safe to enter for a search? Do you know the techniques for searching a house? If you find a body do you know what to do? If you find a living person, do you know what to do? Do you even have the legal authority to enter the house? I mean, with crime and law enforcement in the state it's in right now, the last thing the city needs is a hundred random untrained guys running around kicking in random doors saying "I'm looking for bodies". It'd be chaos, and if you got on the 6:00 news, the next day you'd get 1000 more bubba-brained do-gooders and a few hundred ghouls and vultures with evil intent running around the city doing "searches".

Here are some more links:

Lousiana Search and Rescue Dog Team: http://www.lasardogs.org/

Southeast Lousiana SAR (an umbrella group, but they take individual volunteers): http://www.selsar.com/

Probably the easiest way into a volunteer role that'll get you where the action is will be the CERT thing I posted above, since CERT was specifically designed to enable ordinary citizens to fill roles when the normal first responders are overwhelmed.