Cellular companies fight to throttle firefighters phones if they use them too much during an emergency

Justin Sullivan/Getty

❝ The US mobile industry’s top lobbying group is opposing a proposed California state law that would prohibit throttling of fire departments and other public safety agencies during emergencies…

The group’s letter also suggested that the industry would sue the state if the bill is passed in its current form, saying the bill would result in “serious unintended consequences, including needless litigation.”

❝ CTIA represents Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and other carriers.

❝ State Assemblymember Marc Levine proposed the bill in response to Verizon throttling an “unlimited” data plan used by Santa Clara County firefighters last year during the state’s largest-ever wildfire.

Profits still come before people in the minds of the most backwards segments of American capitalism. And you ain’t going to find much more backwards than American Telcos.

Utah law lets authorities take down drones at wildfires

Click to enlarge

Utah’s governor has signed into law a measure that makes the state the first to let authorities jam drone signals and crash the devices specifically for flying too close to wildfires.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s office announced Monday that he signed the law over the weekend, just days after lawmakers met in a special session to pass it and a handful of other bills.

State Sen. Evan Vickers, who co-sponsored the law, says it technically allows firefighters and law enforcement to shoot down drones, but they probably won’t do that because it’s too difficult. Instead, authorities are expected to use technology that jams signals and crashes drones.

Utah passed the law after a drone recently was sighted five times over one wildfire, causing firefighters to ground their aircraft and slow their work.

But, but, but…some idjit was seriously getting some dynamite images and video for his YouTube account. Might’ve gone viral and got him a real job.

Fool wearing anti-government t-shirt thanks firefighters for saving his home

On the streets I come from the word “fool” has a specific social and political meaning. Fits this dude just fine.

Click to enlargeAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Massive forest fires continue to threaten homes and lives across the Pacific Northwest, and on Saturday the AP reported on emergency response efforts in central and eastern Washington state. Accompanying the story was the photo above, in which an Okanogan, Washington man named Brad Craig thanks firefighters for saving his home. It’s a nice moment, though if you look closely you’ll notice that Craig happened to be wearing a t-shirt that given the circumstances is quite ironic:

The shirt says “Lower Taxes + Less Government = More Freedom.”…Sold by the FreedomWorks Tea Party organization.

In a related matter, 10 different government organizations are mentioned in the AP story about the large-scale coordinated response that worked to Craig’s benefit.

More than 1,000 people are involved in fighting fires in the Okanogan area, the AP says.

…FreedomWorks has, however, opposed funding for federal disaster relief funding of the sort that Washington state has requested and received from FEMA to fight ongoing fires in the Okanogan area. FEMA also paid for more than $2 million in fire-related infrastructure repairs in Okanogan County in 2014.

Fools who have no comprehension of how republican government works blather anti-government silliness in their sleep. They think the word has a capital “R”. Ignoranuses of the highest degree, they’re stuck into questions resolved centuries ago by economists, social scientists, students of governmental forms and, yes, even conservatives who think with their brains instead of their twitchy gonads.

We are a species that continues to require traffic lights, speed limits, police and fire departments. We need federal and state agencies to oversee the construction and maintenance of infrastructure. On the ever-diminishing instances our homeland is threatened we need a standing military – though our devotion to the military-industrial complex is overdone by about 999%. None of this matters to Know-Nothings. And their opinions would be equally meaningless if it weren’t for butt-kissing politicians who rely on their religious devotion as thoroughly as their dependence on corporate wealth.

Firefighters more likely to get cancers — it ain’t just 9/11 and NYC

Firefighters are twice as likely to get certain types of cancer than the general public, according to recent studies. But scientists say stricter firefighting safety practices could lower those rates…

But the risks are many, said Grace LeMasters, University of Cincinnati epidemiology professor.

She listed a multitude of cancer-causing agents including soot, cadmium, inorganic lead, arsenic and diesel exhaust…

LeMasters examined the medical information of 110,000 firefighters because she wanted a more comprehensive view of the cancers firefighters potentially face on the job…

“When they are fighting the fire their skin is dilating and that is because of the heat,” LeMasters said. “And when your skin becomes more porous, this soup of cancer agents that they’re exposed to can be absorbed through the skin much better.”

Buzz Lechowski, the division chief of operations for the Sedona Fire District, said it’s critical firefighters wear breathing gear on the scene of a fire, even after the blaze is put out. He pointed to the 1,140 people, including firefighters, who didn’t wear their masks in the debris and ash of Ground Zero and got cancer after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Lechowski can’t speak for every department, but he said Sedona firefighters are meticulous about wearing their equipment properly and keeping it clean.

“The old crusty salty firefighter thing was ‘oh look I’m all black, my coat’s black, my helmet’s all dirty and as I walk there’s soot flashing off me,’” Lechowski said. “We just don’t live in that world anymore.”

Lechowski said firefighters also face different threats today.

“A house used to have wood furniture, pine paneling and all these things,” Lechowski said. “Now it has plastic garbage cans, window coverings. You live in an oil house now because everything’s plastic.”

RTFA for the tale of Travis Powell, Sedona firefighter. He’s busy fighting cancer, now. His mates in the Sedona FD have a personal reminder of the dangers apart from the fire itself.

A story worth reading.

Firefighters soothe scared girl by singing to her

Click for the song and lyrics

Two Reading, Mass., firefighters sung Let it Go from the Disney hit Frozen to soothe the fears of a 4-year-old girl stuck in an elevator.

The girl, Kaelyn Kerr, of Billerica, Mass., was on her way to a hair salon with her mother, Kristin Kerr, and baby brother when the elevator jammed.

“I went to go push the door and nothing happened,” Kristin Kerr said. “So that’s when I was pushing the buttons and nothing happened.”

Once firefighters arrived, they determined the only way to free the family was for them to climb a ladder out of the top of the elevator car and over a wall.

“When they put the ladder down that’s when she kind of started freaking out a little bit,” Kristin Kerr said, describing Kaelyn’s fear.

Firefighter John Keough started talking to Kaelyn to calm her down and discovered her favorite movie was Frozen. Keough’s partner, firefighter Scott Myette, pulled the song Let it Go up on his phone and started the sing along.

“It worked,” said Keough. “We got her to a point where she was comfortable with us and up the ladder we went, right up and over, no problem…”

“You say, okay how would my kids be comforted in this situation, so anything we can do to make them more comfortable makes our job a lot easier,” Myette said.

Bravo. My kind of heros.

Renault Twizy EV prototype for Paris firefighters

When Renault showed the two-seat Twizy electric city car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, we never expected to see it haul firefighters – meter maids, maybe, but not firefighters. The vehicle is about as far from a fire truck as you can get while still discussing motorized vehicles. That hasn’t stopped the French company from outfitting its diminutive electric car for the purpose of firefighting.

Renault and its vehicle conversion subsidiary Renault Tech worked closely with the Paris firefighter brigade to create this response-ready prototype. Envisioned as a complement to, not a replacement for, more traditional fire trucks, the prototype is designed as an early response vehicle, with the anticipation that actual fire trucks with water, hoses and gear will be close behind. For that purpose, Renault ripped out the rear seat and replaced it with a storage trunk to house emergency response equipment including two fire extinguishers, two oxygen tanks, a fire suit and helmet, and a first aid kit.

From next month, Paris firefighters will begin an eight-month test of the Twizy prototype before a decision is made about a more permanent fleet of light electric vehicles.

You might think this wacky; but, my racing days go back to the 1950’s when the Sûreté had a version of Renault’s little 4CV tuned for 120mph top speed and had internal racks for holding a couple of machine guns. Woo-hoo!

U.S. to cover cancer treatment for 9/11 responders

The 70,000 surviving firefighters, police officers and other first responders who raced to the World Trade Center after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 will be entitled to free monitoring and treatment for some 50 forms of cancer.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced on Monday that responders as well as survivors exposed to toxic compounds from the wreckage, which smoldered for three months, will be covered for cancer under the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

The act, which also covers responders and survivors of the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon outside Washington, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 2, 2011.

The decision addresses concerns over the rising health toll for emergency workers in the wake of the attacks, when aircraft slammed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York and the U.S. military command center in northern Virginia…

Illnesses related to the Sept. 11 attacks have caused an estimated 1,000 deaths. Last week, the New York City Fire Department etched nine more names into a memorial wall honoring firefighters who died from illnesses after their work at Ground Zero, bringing the total to 64.

Cancers to be covered include lung and colorectal, breast and bladder, leukemias, melanoma and all childhood cancers.

The program had already covered respiratory diseases such as asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, mental disorders including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as musculoskeletal conditions.

But researchers have known that responders and survivors, including local business owners and residents, were exposed to a complex mixture of chemical agents, including human carcinogens…

Pulverized building materials created a toxic pall of cement dust, glass fibers, asbestos, crystalline silica, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides and dioxins – “a total of 287 chemicals or chemical groups,” the WTC health program reported in 2011.

…The program’s science advisory committee wrote to Dr. John Howard noting that 15 compounds in the smoke, dust and gas at the WTC site are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as known to cause cancer in people…They therefore recommended that the program cover cancers that met any of three criteria: cancers caused by any 9/11 compound which the IARC classifies as a human carcinogen, cancers where high levels of inflammation have been documented, and cancers that epidemiology studies suggest that responders are at higher risk for than the general population…

Malignancies caused by compounds in the debris include respiratory system cancers, from the nose to the lungs. They have been linked to arsenic, asbestos, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, nickel and silica dust, all of which were in WTC air.

Cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum and liver have been linked to tetrachloroethylene, asbestos, lead or polychlorinated biphenyls, also in the toxic cloud and dust.

The generally dangerous life of firefighters finally aided in developing the information needed to prove the cancer vectors. There already was a definitive, large body of data on the lives of NYC firefighters. This was able to show the spike in cancers compared to firefighters in years past who weren’t exposed to the unique toxins of 9/11.

Mother gives newborn baby girl to California firefighters

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A 27-year-old mother surrendered her baby girl to firefighters in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve…

She told firefighters at Fire Station 46 that the newborn was just 6 hours old. The firefighters accepted the girl, wrapping her in a blanket. She was healthy and did not appear to have been neglected or abused.

Firefighters named the newborn Noel, in honor of the Christmas holiday, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

“We are happy to state that our last report was that the infant was very healthy, and we are moved that this potentially tragic incident had a pleasant outcome,” he said. “There was a sense of relief…”

The infant was taken to an area hospital, Scott said, and would be placed in protective custody.

In California, a parent or legal guardian can surrender a newborn at fire stations and hospital emergency rooms with no fear of arrest. The law is meant to protect infants from being hurt, neglected or killed.

Common sense prevails. Once in a while.

Palestinian firefighters OK to enter Israel to fight forest fire – but, not allowed to attend ceremony honoring their deed!

OK to pass through the checkpoint to fight a forest fire
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Israel’s refusal Tuesday to allow four Palestinian firefighters to cross the border from the West Bank to attend a ceremony for their role in putting out the country’s largest-ever fire has prompted a torrent of criticism.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of Israel’s Knesset who helped organize the ceremony, said he was shocked when when he received a call from one of the firefighters, informing him that he and three others were being denied entry into Israel because of security concerns.

The ceremony was to salute 11 Palestinian firefighters who were among the many foreigners volunteering to help Israelis put out the worst fire in the nation’s history. The blaze killed 43 people this month.

The ceremony, which was being held in the northern town of Isifya, near where the fire began, was canceled in protest of Israel’s decision.

The Israeli government office that oversees the crossings with the Palestinian territories issued a statement expressing “regret” over the incident but asked that “a fuss” not be made.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority government was quick to lambaste Israel in a statement, asking why “the same Palestinian firemen who where permitted to enter Israel last week to put the fire out are not permitted to enter today to be honored?”

The egregious thugs in charge of the Israeli government are without peer since the days of South Africa’s apartheid dictatorship. They prattle about democracy and freedom. They open their arms to men willing to risk their lives battling the nation’s worst-ever forest fire.

The firefighters’ bravery is rewarded by being banned as security risk.

Cripes, I didn’t think it possible; but, the Israelis are more corrupt than Congress.