2005-09-09

Rescuers struggle to meet needs of victims

From Robin Judice, the daughter of Middlebrook resident Henley Gabeau. Judice's husband, Dr. Ross Judice, is the medical director of the paramedic and EMT ambulance teams in New Orleans.

Dear Family and Friends,

If this email is like the URGENT email I sent out Friday, I know that it will go all over the world. I want to explain who I am so that you will know this is not a hoax email. I am Robin Judice, wife of Dr. Ross Judice. Ross is the medical director and executive vice president of Acadian Ambulance and Air Med Services based in Lafayette, Louisiana. They are a private EMS company serving most of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. Here is their web address if you would like to know who they are: http://www.acadian.com/ All the friends and family of Acadian are pitching in to help support them, and this mass email with specific requests is my contribution today.

Ross, all of Acadian's paramedics and EMT's, and all of the executive and support staff at Acadian have worked round the clock since before Hurricane Katrina. Initially they assisted in evacuating as many sick patients BEFORE the storm as possible. They were on scene at the Superdome during the Hurricane. They moved in immediately afterward to assist with all of the rescue operations in New Orleans and in all other affected areas of Louisiana.

There are are parishes of Louisiana (parts of St. Bernard Parish for one) outside of New Orleans that have received virtually no media coverage — but are totally underwater. The only rescue efforts underway were those that the local people could provide, and Acadian is doing everything it can in those areas as well.

Many of the medics and support personnel at Acadian live in and around the areas affected by the storm. Many of them have lost their homes and all of their belongings, or at least been temporarily displaced from their homes. They continue to work tirelessly despite of their loss.

In the last several days EMS personnel have come in from all over the country to assist with the rescues in New Orleans. They are ALL heroes and all making great sacrifices to help. As you can imagine, all of the medics and support personnel are exhausted and suffering their own emotional trauma serving and seeing the human cost of this devastation. I know that my own husband has been on the front lines since Tuesday morning, and had a total of 6 hours of sleep from Tuesday until last night.

Ross asked that I express his gratitude at the tremendous generous response that came in from my first urgent email. I was astonished, truly, to see how far and how fast that message spread. We received offers of help from as far away as Canada, Germany, and Washington State. We had many offers for the use of airplanes, many individual offers to help with manpower, and offers of all sorts of medical equipment. We have had many prayer offerings too, which I count right up there with the rest. Last night, at 10 PM, I received a direct email from Tom De Valle, VP of Operations at American Airlines, telling me that they are sending in 4 of their airplanes to assist in evacuation efforts in New Orleans. To all of you, Ross and I say THANK YOU.

Because of the tremendous response Ross has asked that I put out another urgent request, along with a list of other resources to volunteer or provide support the people doing this rescue work.

OTHER NEEDS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • EMS GROUPS/COMPANIES WHO WOULD LIKE TO ASSIST AND RELIEVE ACADIAN EMS PERSONNEL

    Contact Dawn Cole at Acadian Ambulance by email: dmaisel@acadian.com

    INDIVIDUAL EMS PERSONNEL, DOCTORS, AND NURSES

    Please call 1-866-KAT-MEDI. They will help place you in the area you are most needed.

    If you are a physician, you may also contact The Schumacher Group in Lafayette at 337-237-1915. They are working with DHH and OEP to coordinate the hundreds of physicians coming in from around the state.

    If you are a search and rescue professional and would like to volunteer your services in Mississippi, contact the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Search and Rescue Support at 601-360-0937 to receive credentials.

    INDIVIDUAL NON-MEDICAL PERSONNEL WHO WANT TO VOLUNTEER

    Contact the American Red Cross or your Local Red Cross if you are in Louisiana or Mississippi. Help is urgently needed in shelters throughout Louisiana and Mississippi (particularly in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, as well as Houston and San Antonio).

    Here is a link to the national site: www.redcross.org/ services/volunteer/0,1082,0_325_,00.html

    MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

    FEMA has taken over this area, and has asked that Acadian not bring in medical equipment and supplies.

    INDIVIDUAL AMBULANCES, PLANES, AND TRUCKS

    Acadian has asked that I compile a list that the company might be able to call upon. Please contact me at: butter.bean@cox.net

    FULL MEALS TO SERVE TO GROUPS OF MEDICS AT STAGING AREAS IN LAFAYETTE, BATON ROUGE, SLIDELL OR HAMMOND

    Lafayette: contact Melissa Bertrand at 337-291-1567 or mbertrand@acadian.com

    Baton Rouge, Slidell or Hammond: Contact one of the following people

    Danny Lenny: 225-921-7689

    Porter Taylor: 225-806-1635

    Stephanie Taylor: 985-966-5693

    IF YOU ARE IN LAFAYETTE AND WANT TO PROVIDE FOOD FOR THE MEDICS TO USE IN THE FIELD

    There are over 200 medical personnel from out of state staying in Bancroft Hall on the UL-Lafayette Campus. They, along with the regular Acadian personnel, are going into the field every day often for long hours with nothing to eat.

    We would like individuals or groups to assemble ditty bags containing portable, non-perishable, food items like granola bars, energy bars, small bags of nuts, etc. along with water or a Sports Drink.

    These can be dropped off either at Acadian Ambulance at 300 Hopkins Street or in the lobby of Bancroft Hall (located off Taft Street in Lafayette).

    God bless you all.

    Robin Judice

    butter.bean@cox.net

  • Originally published September 5, 2005

    Magen David Adom News

    MDA Emergency Drive to Assist US Survivors of the Hurricane
    Arutz Sheva - Israel
    (IsraelNN.com) Magen David Adom (MDA; the Red Star of David) has begun an emergency drive in Israel to collect needed supplies for the survivors of Hurricane ...

    Pakistan-Israel tie-up to counter India-US warmth: report:
    NewKerala.com - Ernakulam,Kerala,India
    ... The ICRC does not recognize the Magen David Adom Society, the Israeli version of the Red Cross, because it is unwilling to adopt the Red Cross as its emblem ...

    EMT News

    Rescuers struggle to meet needs of victims
    Staunton News Leader - Staunton,VA,USA
    ... Gabeau. Judice's husband, Dr. Ross Judice, is the medical director of the paramedic and EMT ambulance teams in New Orleans. If this ...

    Wilson represents Reese at run
    The Saginaw News - Saginaw,MI,USA
    ... Wilson, 28, lives in Reese and is a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Reese-Blumfield Fire Rescue Station 1. He works at VG's Food Center and Pharmacy in Caro ...

    paramedic news

    Local paramedic leaving to help on Gulf Coast
    Norwich Bulletin - Norwich,CT,USA
    Gov. M. Jodi Rellsaid visitors to state parks today will be able to donate their parking fees to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. ...

    A Half-Dozen Fort Wayne Paramedics Head to the Gulf Coast
    WISE 33 - Fort Wayne,IN,USA
    The effort seeks to aid paramedic colleagues, as well as patients in need of care. ... AMR Paramedic Lisa Christen says, "This is not just a job, it's a passion. ...

    Flint mum on medic funds
    MLive.com - MI,USA
    GENESEE COUNTY - When the county hired Fitch & Associates to audit money raised by a countywide paramedic tax, it expected to find out how the city of Flint ...

    Dying Katrina survivor returns to Indiana
    Contra Costa Times - CA,USA
    PORTAGE, Ind. - A northwest Indiana paramedic traveled two days to hurricane-ravaged Mississippi to bring his terminally ill brother home to die. ...

    ambulance news

    Ambulance staff claim lives at risk
    Stuff.co.nz - Wellington,New Zealand
    The call for an end to the common practice of single crewing comes after a six-year-old boy came close to serious harm in the back of an ambulance on Sunday ...

    Ambulance officer call off work bans
    ABC Online - Australia
    Ambulance officers have agreed to call off work bans planned for today after St John Ambulance took the pay dispute to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC ...

    'Baby ambulance' fleet unveiled
    BBC News - UK
    ... Previously there was only one ambulance in Scotland designed for babies, and it was paid for by a Blue Peter appeal. The Scottish ...

    Helicopter ambulance company heading to Iraq
    Boston Globe - United States
    ... During his six-month tour in Bosnia, pilot Keith LeBlanc, a chief warrant officer from Burlington, said his unit flew about 20 ambulance missions. ...

    'Dirty ambulance' MRSA fears
    BBC News - UK
    ... union has said. Unison claims cleaning of Welsh ambulance service vehicles is "rough and ready" compared to elsewhere. It said time ...

    2005-09-08

    Feel drained at the pump? Grab a bike


    Published September 5, 2005

    Your hand starts to shake uncontrollably. But you press onward, because you figure you have no way out.

    Reluctantly, you slip the gas pump hose nozzle into your truck and watch the numbers spin around faster than a slot machine on a Galveston cruise ship.

    Trouble is, there's no chance for a payout. But there is an alternative.

    Yes, intuitive readers, you know where this is going. I'm suggesting you buy a bicycle. If getting fit and reducing pollution and those other reasons I've mentioned in other columns aren't enough incentive, maybe this is.

    For the price of a tank of gas — starting at about $35 — you can pick up a used adult cycle at the West End Cycle Company at 3813 Broadway. I called up store manager Brian Bazaman the other day, and he says he has sold a handful of bikes in the past week to customers who are tired of seeing most of their paycheck go up in smoke … well, make that exhaust.

    Maybe that's why the movie industry slump will continue: People don't need to go see the latest horror flick, they already get the fright of their lives every time they fill up.

    "I sold one to a woman who lives four blocks from her place of employment and she figured she could use a bicycle," said Bazaman, whose father, Sam, opened the store at its original location at 37th Street and Avenue H in 1946. The new store opened in 1960.

    "Gas prices are already sky high, but I still think it will have to get up there real high for lazy Americans to give up their cars."

    How high is high? Think $3 is a lot to pay for gas? Some analysts say we could start moving up toward European prices by year's end, which, if you're keeping score, is nearly $5 a gallon.

    What's the French word for "car pool?"

    Bazaman sells used bikes for up to about $100. You can pick up new cruisers and road hybrids with comfortable seats for between $200 and $400. Larger specialty bike stores on the mainland, like Bike Barn or Webster Cycle, have a wide selection to choose from.

    If you have an old mountain bike with knobby tires, you can easily exchange them out for a pair of smooth tires to make it easier to pedal around streets. I recommend what's known as police tires, which are basically road tires with a bit of thin tread for a little extra stability in case you hit a patch of gravel or sand.

    As far as Galveston's biker's nemesis, the numerous broken bottles, sorry, you're on your own.

    If you do pick up a new or used bike, be sure to get a decent lock, and if you will be finishing up work in the early evening — and as the days get shorter — you need a light on the front of your bike, and a helmet is highly recommended.

    Complaining about the price of gas? Start pedaling instead.

    Coming up

    With the end to the hot weather in sight, the usual cluster of year-end road rides is scheduled in October and November. One of the most interesting routes is the Pineywoods Purgatory, set for 8 a.m. Oct. 1 in Lufkin (25, 52, 72 and 102 miles) through a pretty scenic area with rolling hills and thick forests, not to mention some of the best post-ride fajitas in Texas. Visit www.pineywoodspur gatory.com.

    Meanwhile, the folks who run the First Capital Historical Bike Tour, 8:30 a.m. Oct. 8 (27, 39 and 60 miles) a little closer to home in West Columbia, about an hour from Galveston, certainly like to think their post-ride fajitas are the best. Why not do both rides and compare? For info, visit www.wchbt.com.

    Also on the same day is the annual Elves and More Texas Cycling Classic, 7 a.m. Oct. 8 (23, 42, 63, 87 or 110 miles) at Montgomery High School Sports Complex, on state Highway 105 West, about 15 miles west of Conroe. The ride includes a "Texas Hold 'Em Poker Run" whereby riders pick up playing cards at each Rest Stop with a chance to win a high-performance bicycle and a post-race barbecue dinner. Look for the ride link at www.elvesand more.org.

    +++

    Greg Barr is a certified cycling instructor. His column appears every two weeks. If you have a suggestion for a column topic or questions, e-mail cyclehard99(at)yahoo.com.


    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    Cities queue up to ban electric bikes as gridlock grows


    STEVEN RIBET
    IN BEIJING

    ELECTRIC bicycles and scooters were once seen as the answer to the choking pollution of China's big cities, with the country now accounting for three quarters of the world's production and sales. But an increasing number of cities are passing laws banning the green transport, claiming the bikes are responsible for increasing accident rates on the already heavily congested roads.

    Beijing was the first to announce a ban, which will come into force in January, and a string of others followed. After Guangzhou, Taiyuan, Haikou, Nanning and Fuzhou, the southern port of Zhuhai became the latest city to outlaw the bikes and scooters, known as light electric vehicles (LEVs), last month

    Debate is now raging as to the reasons behind the end of the Chinese authorities' love affair with the LEV.

    Beijing teacher Guo Hongli was one of 7.5 million Chinese who bought an electric bicycle last year. Her 200 watt, sky-blue "Continental Dove" cost an affordable 1,700 yuan (£116).

    "I used to feel nausea riding on Beijing's dirty, crowded buses. The journey to work took an hour. Now I only need 15 minutes," she said.

    Environmentalists claim LEVs are several times more energy efficient than petrol driven vehicles, run almost silently and result in a fraction of the emissions, while studies on congestion show the bikes and scooters can be used to transport up to four times more people, per unit of road area, than cars.

    City governments, explaining their bans, have invariably cited high accident rates and pollution resulting from disposal of the heavy, lead-acid batteries that power LEVs. At the China Bicycle Association, however, chairman Wang Fenghe dismisses these claims.

    He produces figures from Shanghai, where accident rates for LEVs have been about a tenth of those for cars. Also, many cities have efficient plants for recycling the contents of lead-acid batteries.

    A third reason given by the Zhuhai government - that electric bikes compete with other forms of traffic - is more credible. To widen roads for surging car numbers, the city has been removing cycle tracks and asking those who pedal to use a portion of the pavement. Too slow and light for roads, and yet too fast and heavy to travel beside pedestrians, LEVs fall awkwardly between categories.

    Nevertheless, users and manufacturers protest they have no less right to road space than cars. As an entrepreneur aiming to develop lighter and more efficient LEV power cells, Continental Battery Corporation's president Zhao Shan says that, in terms of ability to lobby the government, his industry is weaker than car makers.

    Mighty auto manufacturing attracts billions of dollars in foreign investment and is consistently named a "pillar industry" by planners. "Bicycle users don't have the ear of politicians," he says. "All they have is a few scholars who speak out."

    Others point to a policy document compiled by the Beijing Traffic Development Research Centre in the weeks before the capital passed its ban. This concluded that electric bicycles were "not in keeping with the concept of Beijing as a major world capital".



    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    bicycle news

    Police say man on bicycle inappropriately touched two women
    WOOD-TV - Grand Rapids,MI,USA
    BAY CITY, Mich. Authorities say a man riding a bicycle inappropriately touched two women on the RailTrail pathway in the Bay City area. ...

    Cities queue up to ban electric bikes as gridlock grows
    Scotsman - United Kingdom
    ... Beijing teacher Guo Hongli was one of 7.5 million Chinese who bought an electric bicycle last year. ... "Bicycle users don't have the ear of politicians," he says. ...

    EU anti-dumping sanctions benefit bicycle makers in Taiwan
    Taiwan Headlines - Taipei,Taiwan
    ... The EU's decision has had a large impact on Taiwan bicycle makers, most of which run production plants in China and Vietnam. The ...

    Pedalsports: Infineon Technologies presents Cougar Mountain ...
    Sonoma Index-Tribune - Sonoma,CA,USA
    ... Featured at the Cougar Mountain Classic will be professional, as well as amateur bicycle races, including road racing on Infineon's 12-turn, 2.52-mile road ...

    Feel drained at the pump? Grab a bike
    Daily News - Galveston County - TX,USA
    ... payout. But there is an alternative. Yes, intuitive readers, you know where this is going. I'm suggesting you buy a bicycle. If ...

    Don Boehly Update

    IAFF: Syndicated News
    For more information on Don Boehly, "911 Cross County Cyclist" and the charities
    he supports, click here. Biography · On the Road · Past Messages ...

    Stratford EMS team narrowly escaped hurricane

    Connecticut Post Online
    FRANK WASHKUCH Jr. fwashkuch@ctpost.com
    Connecticut Post
    STRATFORD — A triumphant weekend for the town's Emergency Medical Services in the Big Easy quickly became an escape from the doomed city as Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast.

    Ten members of Stratford EMS were in New Orleans the weekend of Aug. 27 to receive an award from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. But when the fierce storm closed in on the anxious metropolis, town EMTs used their own crisis-planning skills to find a way home. EMT Capt. Ken Kellogg said Friday the EMTs were abandoned by their ride to Louis Armstrong International Airport, forcing the group to scurry at the last minute to find alternate transportation out of the city.

    "We were up for 24 hours working on the logistics of getting out of there," he said. "I think [emergency training] helped from the perspective of having contingency plans. Working in the field makes you prepare for situations that are always changing." Kellogg, like most Americans, has seen the television reports on the nightmarish post-hurricane scene at the New Orleans Convention Center, where dead bodies littered an area packed with thousands of hurricane refugees. The group from Stratford had been there only days before.

    "I was talking to some of the locals, and there was a little bit of uneasiness," he said of the time just before Katrina struck. "At the time, there wasn't an immediate sense of urgency."

    Before the Stratford group left, the group received the 2005 Emergency Medical Service of the Year Award from the organization. Donna Best, Stratford EMS chief, said she was grateful for the award, which recognized the service's hard work since 1977.

    "I think a lot of it has to do with the accomplishments we've had over the years," she said. Best said that she was on the last flight out of New Orleans before the airport was shut down. "Some of us had some very interesting experiences on the way to the airport," she said. "We got out on the very last flight Sunday morning at 5 a.m."

    Best said she got to know a number of technicians directly affected by the disaster. "From going to conferences, you get to know some of the other members," she said. "For the most part, they are physically OK. Some of them have lost all of their belongings.

    "To see the pictures on TV, I don't think you can get an appreciation of how some of these people are surrounded by water," she said. Frank Washkuch Jr., who covers Stratford, can be reached at 330-6287.

    emergency medical service news

    Illinois firefighters head to New Orleans
    Chicago Tribune - United States
    ... "They will be providing basic fire, rescue and EMS [Emergency Medical Service] for the duration of their deployment," said Reardon, also fire chief for the ...

    Stratford EMS team narrowly escaped hurricane
    Connecticut Post - Bridgeport,CT,USA
    ... Before the Stratford group left, the group received the 2005 Emergency Medical Service of the Year Award from the organization. ...

    Giving a lift to those in need
    East Valley Tribune - Mesa,AZ,USA
    ... homebuilder. He began working for Omni Flight Helicopters, which now owns Native Air, and started making emergency medical service calls. ...

    In Your Inbox:
    Connect For Kids - Washington, D.C.,USA
    ... They established an event called the 9-11 Olympix where teams of Gwinnett County police, firefighters and emergency medical service workers participate in a ...

    cyclist news

    Cyclist dies in Bedford collision
    The Journal News.com - Westchester,NY,USA
    By REBECCA BAKER ERWIN. BEDFORD -- A 39-year-old White Plains woman was struck and killed last night as she was riding her bicycle on Route 172, police said. ...

    Oliphant's dream just out of reach
    Glasgow Evening Times - Glasgow,Scotland,UK
    SCOTS cyclist Evan Oliphant was right on the wheel of sprint star Eric Baumann but he just failed to snatch his Tour of Britain sprinters' jersey. ...

    Thomson first to secure gold
    Tasmania Advocate - Burnie,Tasmania,Australia
    Success came for the under 15 cyclist from Ulverstone in the women's road race in the Australian national junior road race championships on the Sunshine Coast ...

    EMS News

    EMS Crews Ready To Help
    WJACtv.com - Johnstown,PA,USA
    ... It was a bitter sweet moment for our local EMS workers because they were happy the patients were ok, but frustrated they couldn't help out. ...

    First Hand Account: EMS Team Organizes as Katrina Hits
    Firehouse.com (subscription) - USA
    ... an EMT with the Jersey City Medical Center. He was attending the EMS Expo in New Orleans. On the morning before Katrina hit New ...

    Stepping up in the storm
    Newsday - Long Island,NY,USA
    ... "As far as...being frightened, this is the worst thing.". Six volunteer firefighters from Centereach had been attending the annual EMS Expo in New Orleans. ...

    Stratford EMS team narrowly escaped hurricane
    Connecticut Post - Bridgeport,CT,USA
    Ten members of Stratford EMS were in New Orleans the weekend of Aug. 27 to receive an award from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. ...

    Get Off His Back (Updated)

    The American Spectator
    By Ben Stein
    Published 9/2/2005 11:59:59 PM

    ***UPDATED: Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005, 2:13 p.m.***

    A few truths, for those who have ears and eyes and care to know the truth:

    1.) The hurricane that hit New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama was an astonishing tragedy. The suffering and loss of life and peace of mind of the residents of those areas is acutely horrifying.

    2.) George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one.

    3.) George Bush did not make this one worse than others. There have been far worse hurricanes than this before George Bush was born.

    4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world's worst polluters -- China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery.

    5.) George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans. Those are drawn up by New Orleans and Louisiana. In any event, the plans were perfectly good: mandatory evacuation. It is in no way at all George Bush's fault that about 20 percent of New Orleans neglected to follow the plan. It is not his fault that many persons in New Orleans were too confused to realize how dangerous the hurricane would be. They were certainly warned. It's not George Bush's fault that there were sick people and old people and people without cars in New Orleans. His job description does not include making sure every adult in America has a car, is in good health, has good sense, and is mobile.

    6.) George Bush did not cause gangsters to shoot at rescue helicopters taking people from rooftops, did not make gang bangers rape young girls in the Superdome, did not make looters steal hundreds of weapons, in short make New Orleans into a living hell.

    7.) George Bush is the least racist President in mind and soul there has ever been and this is shown in his appointments over and over. To say otherwise is scandalously untrue.

    8.) George Bush is rushing every bit of help he can to New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama as soon as he can. He is not a magician. It takes time to organize huge convoys of food and now they are starting to arrive. That they get in at all considering the lawlessness of the city is a miracle of bravery and organization.

    9.) There is not the slightest evidence at all that the war in Iraq has diminished the response of the government to the emergency. To say otherwise is pure slander.

    10.) If the energy the news media puts into blaming Bush for an Act of God worsened by stupendous incompetence by the New Orleans city authorities and the malevolence of the criminals of the city were directed to helping the morale of the nation, we would all be a lot better off.

    11.) New Orleans is a great city with many great people. It will recover and be greater than ever. Sticking pins into an effigy of George Bush that does not resemble him in the slightest will not speed the process by one day.

    12.) The entire episode is a dramatic lesson in the breathtaking callousness of government officials at the ground level. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had gotten her way and they were in charge of your health care.

    God bless all of those dear people who are suffering so much, and God bless those helping them, starting with George Bush.

    ****
    UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005, 2:13 p.m.:

    More Mysteries of Katrina:

    Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?

    What church does Rev. Al Sharpton belong to that believes in passing blame and singling out people by race for opprobrium and hate?

    What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?

    If able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen to them?

    When the city government simply ignores its own sick and hospitalized and elderly people in its evacuation order, is Mr. Bush to blame for that?

    Is there any problem in the world that is not Mr. Bush's fault, or have we reverted to a belief in a sort of witchcraft where we credit a mortal man with the ability to create terrifying storms and every other kind of ill wind?

    Where did the idea come from that salvation comes from hatred and criticism and mockery instead of love and co-operation?


    Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes "Ben Stein's Diary" in every issue of The American Spectator. Please click here to subscribe.
     
     
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    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
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    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    2005-09-06

    Anti-Christian Pogrom in the West Bank


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                                              Communique: 6 September 2005        [View this article online]
                                                                                                                                               [Discuss this topic on BackSpin]

    ANTI-CHRISTIAN POGROM
    IN THE WEST BANK

    Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,

    For years, media outlets have largely refused to report one of the most troubling aspects of the Mideast conflict �D Muslim intimidation and violence against Christians in Palestinian-controlled areas.

    The latest shocking episode again made its way to very few news consumers: Late Saturday night (Sept. 3), hundreds of armed Palestinian Muslims crying 'Allahu Akbar' descended on the West Bank Christian city of Taibe. For the next few hours, the mob terrorized the community, setting sixteen homes and multiple businesses on fire, looting valuables from both, and destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.

    Said one eyewitness: 'It was like a war, they arrived in groups, and many of them were holding clubs.'

    The mob's 'provocation'? A Muslim woman from their neighboring village had had a relationship with a Christian man from Taibe. The woman was poisoned to death by her own family in an 'honor killing', and soon after, the pogrom against Taibe commenced.

    Something tells us this incident would have made international headlines had Jews been responsible for this type of violence.

    HISTORY OF MUSLIM ABUSE, CHRISTIAN FLIGHT

    Incidents such as this, largely ignored by the western media, have been the leading cause of massive Christian flight from the Holy Land over the past few years.

    The historical Christian towns of Bethlehem and Nazereth, once home to large Christian populations, have seen that population flee en masse due to Muslim intimidation and violence. As HonestReporting has documented:

    �� Over 100 Palestinian terrorists took over the Church of the Nativity in 2002, using it as a fortress from which to fire upon Israeli troops, while holding nuns, priests and monks hostage, and looting or destroying virtually everything of value inside the building.

    ��  During 2000-2002, the PA's Tanzim militia chose the Christian town of Beit Jala as a base for unprovoked shooting at Jerusalem. The Tanzim were specifically positioned in or near Christian homes, hotels, churches, and the Greek Orthodox club, knowing fully well that these sites would be hard-hit by Israeli return fire.

    �� In 1995, Bethlehem was 62% Christian, but today is less than 20% Christian. Before 1995, Bethlehem had a majority-Christian municipal council, but when the Palestinian Authority took over the town, Yassir Arafat replaced the municipal council with a predominately Muslim council, and Christian Arabs fled Bethlehem in droves after a radical Islamic wave began inciting against them.

    �� On February 6, 2002, the Boston Globe reported "a rampage of Palestinian Muslims against Christian shops and churches in Ramallah... Police made no attempt to stop the mob, which besieged and damaged a widely respected youth center associated with the Boy Scouts of America after torching the Christian properties...'The truth is this is a problem between Christians and Muslims,' said one Christian businessman."

    For more on Christian persecution under the PA, see this report from the JCPA, this article by Joseph Farah, and a report from The Prism Group.

    *   *   *

    One AP dispatch on the Taibe pogrom did make its way to one major paper �D the Los Angeles Times. But given the degree of destruction and racial violence in question, and given the huge number of reporters that remain in Israel after the Gaza withdrawal, the unfortunate incident merited far greater coverage.

    Despite appearances, the Mideast conflict is not only between Jews and Muslims. HonestReporting encourages subscribers to expand awareness of both the alarming incident in Taibe, and the larger problem of Muslim persecution of Christians in the Holy Land, in your local paper and community.

    Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

    HonestReporting

     

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    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State



    by Robert Tracinski

    It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

    If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

    Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

    But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

    The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

    The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

    The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

    For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

    When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

    So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

    To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story :

    "Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

    "The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

    "Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

    " 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

    The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

    What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

    Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

    My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

    What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"—the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels—gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails—so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

    There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

    There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit—but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals—and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep—on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

    All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters—not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

    No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

    What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

    But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

    People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

    The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

    Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005



    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    2005-09-05

    UPDATE ON HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF EFFORTS

    The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (O PHEP) is in the process of identifying and mobilizing healthcare professionals and relief personnel to assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.  As our nation and the global community is now aware, the healthcare needs resulting from Katrina has reached an extremely critical nature.  HHS has called for 1100 healthcare professionals and relief personnel to assist in the southern region affected by Hurricane Katrina.  The need is for both immediate and long-term assignments, with a minimum of 14 days up to a maximum of 30 days.

    Staff Needs: Multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and relief personnel with expertise in the following areas.  * Identifies critical staffing demands.

    • Administration/Finance Officers

    • *Nursing Assistants/Nursing Support Technicians

    • *Chaplain/Social Worker

    • Nursing Staff Directors

    • Clinical Physicians

    • *Patient Transporters/Volunteers

    • Dentists

    • Pharmacists

    • Dieticians

    • Psychologists

    • Epidemiologists

    • *Physician's Assistants or Nurse Practitioners

    • Environmental Health

    • Physician Chiefs of Staff

    • Epidemiologists

    • Respiratory Therapists

    • *Facility Managers

    • *RNs

    • *Housekeepers

    • *Safety Officers

    • IT/Communications Officers

    • Security Officers

    • *LPNs

    • *Social Workers

    • Medical Clerks

    • *Supply Managers

    • Mental Health Workers

    • Veterinarians

    Note:  Additional critical needs are expected to be in the areas of Occupational Health, Medical Equipment, Facilities and Logistics.

    To volunteer, please visit https://volunteer.ccrf.hhs.gov/ and complete the requested information.  You may also call 1-866-528-6334 for further information.  The phones and website are up now.  Callers are standing by to take your information.

    NOLA - Fraud Alert: FEMA Items Stolen

    http://www.wdsu.com/news/4932913/detail.html

    Fraud Alert: FEMA Items Stolen
    Thieves Pretend To Be 'Procurement Officers'

    UPDATED: 11:46 am CDT September 3, 2005

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Saturday that many FEMA
    uniforms, badges and letterheads have been stolen in the New Orleans area
    are being used as fake identification by robbers.

    FEMA leaders said the crooks are referring to themselves as "FEMA
    Procurement Officers," even though no such officers exist.

    The agency said that the robbers are using the phony status to steal
    vehicles, fuel and valuables.

    In some cases, the robbers are armed. FEMA said its agents are never armed.

    FEMA officials said that if an armed person claiming to be from the agency
    approaches you, ask for photo identification, but also cooperate with their
    demands to avoid being hurt.

    Anyone with information about people who may be claiming to be FEMA
    personnel, call the offices in Baton Rouge at (225) 296-3421 or (225)
    296-3335.



    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    Katrina Help Lines from the KatrinaHelp.info team

    Forward this email as you see fit, it could really help a lot of people.
     
    Also I would highly reccomend that you visit the www.katrinahelp.info website. One big project they're taking on right now involves re-typing lost person notices into a central database so that people won't have to search at dozens of sites across the internet. You can help this effort by typing some names into the database. Go to the website and click on the button under "Katrina PeopleFinder Project" for volunteering.
     
     
    This is the button for people needing help to call in to the KatrinaHelp.info team from a Skype account. Please spread the word so people needing help can call in. We have volunteers and associates from shelters, ER and other Emergency services on the ground with resources to help.
    A picture named katrinahelpskypemebutton.JPG
    Details on how to use the helplines are here.

    Or call us at +15042081564 with your request for help, and offers to help. (Please ensure you add the +1 to the number, even if you are in the USA. This is because the number is routed via Skype). If the line is busy, you wil be forwarded to voicemail. Please clearly state your name and contact details so we can get back.


    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/

    bicycle news

    Bicycle safety: Assume you are invisible
    EastOregonian.info (subscription) - OR,USA
    ... A man who commuted by bicycle for years on the steep and crowded streets of San Francisco once told me his secret for staying alive: "Wear neon green or ...

    Sheriff's bike patrol returns
    Victorville Daily Press - Victorville,CA,USA
    ... County Sheriff's Department Victorville station patrols much more than 15 to 20 miles a day, but that's only because the typical deputy isn't on a bicycle . ...

    Upgrades: Some start, others wait
    Charlotte Observer - Charlotte,NC,USA
    ... Construction of a median streetscape on Central Avenue. . Addition of bicycle lanes on portions of Central Avenue. . Development ...

    emergency medical services news

    Medical workers awaiting refugees
    News & Observer - Raleigh,NC,USA
    ... re frustrated because we are all here wanting to assist these individuals," said Dr. Brent Myers, medical director for Wake County's Emergency Medical Services ...

    Reporter's notebook: Treating those left behind
    USA Today - USA
    ... As they set about their task, I headed to City Hall, where Jullette Saussy, the city's director of emergency medical services , is based. ...

    Warren may change emergency services policies
    Henderson Daily Dispatch - Henderson,NC,USA
    ... in language easily understood by lay people, but it would apparently authorize an organization other than the county Emergency Medical Services corps to ...

    Isle EMTs in trial by fire
    Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Honolulu,HI,USA
    ... students from Hawaii who may be doctors someday have been getting the on-the-job-training of their lives -- providing emergency medical services to victims of ...

    One 9/11 hero's tale of tragedy
    Newsday - Long Island,NY,USA
    ... She retired as captain in the city Fire Department's Emergency Medical Services in 2002 because of severe respiratory problems associated with Sept. 11. ...

    emergency medical service news

    County may stockpile vaccines
    San Marcos Daily Record - San Marcos,TX,USA
    ... tetanus and hepatitis inoculations for as many as 300 emergency and medical workers in the county including police, fire and emergency medical service personnel ...

    Indian River County Commissioner Lowther says he has more work to ...
    Vero Beach Press-Journal (subscription) - Vero Beach,FL,USA
    ... Lowther was one of the sponsors of the current effort to merge the Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Service divisions into a combined fire-medic service. ...

    Katrina victims arrive
    Muskogee Daily Phoenix - Muskogee,OK,USA
    ... objects. Rebecca Smith, spokeswoman for Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service, said two patients were taken to the hospital. ...

    Separate wrecks kill two
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    ... Personnel from Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery County Emergency Medical Service and Cunningham Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the ...

    Shore area quick to help
    Asbury Park Press - Asbury Park,NJ,USA
    STAFFORD -- The small, hand-written sign in the tent-covered space occupied by the Stafford Emergency Medical Service on Saturday got the message across in ...

    bicyclist news

    Driver flees after hitting, killing bicyclist in Portland
    OregonLive.com - Portland,OR,USA
    A hit-and-run driver struck and killed a man riding a bicycle on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard about 2 am Saturday, police said. ...

    cyclist news

    German cyclist Wegmann rides to Grand Prix win
    San Jose Mercury News - United States
    ... winners. Levi Leipheimer, a Santa Rosa cyclist and Wegmann's teammate, finished in Hincapie's group and was credited with 55th place. ...

    German Cyclist Wins San Francisco Grand Prix
    CBS 5 - San Francisco,CA,USA
    (KCBS) SAN FRANCISCO -A 25-year-old German cyclist has won the San Francisco Grand Prix. KCBS reporter Henry Mulak says Fabian Wedmann ...

    Injured cyclist returns home to Penguin
    ABC Online - Australia
    Injured Tasmanian cyclist Louise Yaxley is recovering at her parents' home in Penguin, in northern Tasmania, after being released from hospital over the weekend ...

    Yaxley sends best wishes to new champ
    Tasmania Advocate - Burnie,Tasmania,Australia
    PENGUIN cyclist Louise Yaxley took time out from her recovery on Saturday to pass on her best wishes to the North-West's latest national cycling champion ...

    EMS News

    Local EMS workers joining relief effort
    Centre Daily Times - Centre County,PA,USA
    ... one of the first states they asked was Pennsylvania, according to Scott Rhoat, emergency medical services specialist for Seven Mountains EMS Council, which ...

    Bracken County EMS joins hurricane relief efforts
    Ledger Independent - Maysville,KY,USA
    By WENDY MITCHELL. BROOKSVILLE -- Filled with supplies, an ambulance from Bracken County EMS is headed for hurricane-strickened areas of the Gulf Coast. ...

    Chamber plans EMS, hurricane assistance
    Bonner County Daily Bee - Sandpoint,ID,USA
    "Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that when we chose the theme for our auction a few months ago," said Judy Baird, chamber executive director ...

    Brownwood EMS, fire personnel answer call to assist storm victims
    Brownwood Bulletin - TX, United States
    Those were among the impressions Ross Bradley, operations manager of Guardian EMS in Brownwood, shared by phone Saturday from the Astrodome in Houston, where ...

    Magen David Adom News

    Israel sending experts to US to offer hurricane aid
    Ha'aretz (subscription) - Tel Aviv,Israel
    ... Last week, the Magen David Adom rescue service contacted the American Red Cross and offered to send medical teams to the stricken region, but did not receive ...

    2005-09-04

    Rapid City EMTs home after surviving hurricane

    Posted on Sun, Sep. 04, 2005



    Associated Press

    Surviving devastating conditions and narrowly escaping armed looters, a group of nine area emergency medical technicians returned Friday from New Orleans.

    The group had been there to attend an EMS conference. Their arrival was about a week late because they were called upon to care for those injured in Hurricane Katrina.

    The emergency workers were greeted by relieved family and friends.

    "It was a horrific experience," said Matt Thompson, an EMT with Piedmont Ambulance Service and a member of the North Haines Volunteer Fire Department.

    Thompson was welcomed home by his grandparents and mother, Denise Athans-Boyer.

    Barbara Athans, Thompson's grandmother, said it had been a nerve-racking week. She said her grandson had called on his cell phone almost daily, yet Thompson couldn't mask his emotions when talking to his family.

    "You could sense the desperation in his voice," she said.

    Evacuated from the Riverside Hilton Hotel at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Thompson and the group made the 16-hour trip to Dallas, Texas, the best place they figured to get flights back to South Dakota.

    Carol McKenzie, assistant chief of medical operations, Piedmont Ambulance Service, said that hotel officials at the evacuation center had moved all 5,100 evacuees out of the facility, locking doors behind them when they saw the beams of light from the flashlights of those people breaking into the center.

    "We saw the flashlights of the looters and they were armed," she said.

    McKinzie said that paramedics Katheryn Benton of Kimball and Debbie Sandstrom of Sturgis, who had worked with the Piedmont group at the evacuation center, had returned to South Dakota on Thursday evening. The Pine Ridge Ambulance Service's paramedics Deanna Lassegard, Rob Menacher, Shaun Schumann, EMT-I, Dennis McMillan and Duane Quakenbush, all of Rapid City, and Philip Yellow Hawk, EMT, of Pine Ridge, who were stationed at the Superdome, had returned to Rapid City late Friday night by vans, she said.

    "There was no time to be scared. When we were on the bus out of there, that's when we lost it," McKenzie said.

    On Thursday night for the first time in nearly a week, the group was able to take hot showers, use working toilets and sleep in clean bedding in air-conditioned rooms. The following day, they left the hotel on the 9 a.m . shuttle for their 12:20 p.m. flight out of Dallas.

    In Salt Lake City, the group discovered their flight home was delayed, he said.

    "It scared everyone. When we saw the delayed designation our hearts dropped," Thompson said.

    Ryan Jager said the group had made a conscious decision to stay together while traveling to South Dakota, something they had to fight for when trying to leave New Orleans and Dallas.

    He credits Hilton Corporation rather than federal or government agencies for the first and only fleet of 17 buses that brought people out of the hurricane ravaged area.

    "Hilton Corporation got the buses together and picked us up," Jager said.

    Jager said John Brose, a paramedic from a New Jersey Fire Department, organized 19 EMT volunteers to provide medical services for 96 hours after Hurricane Katrina at the hotel evacuation center.

    The Piedmont group joined local New Orleans police and fire officials and medics from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Ohio to aid the 5,100 people who sought refuge from the catastrophic storm. They treated alignments ranging from respiratory problems, cuts, scrapes, and asthma to diabetes.

    In high humidity and temperatures that ranged from 108 to 110 degrees at the center, the medical group worked six hours at a stretch, took 12 hours off to eat and sleep, then began another rotation. They put together all of the unit's supplies from sample kits they had received from vendors at the EMS conference. An oxygen unit arrived Tuesday along with first aid supplies from Harrah's Casino.

    "We had over 200 patient contacts in four days after the hurricane," he said. The South Dakota contingent was also largely responsible for carrying frail victims or those using wheelchairs or walkers down the 27 flights of stairs when they were evacuated. Jager praised the New Orleans Fire Department and Police Department for their tireless efforts to help people.

    "If we weren't treating patients, we were helping staff," Jager said. "We were busy."

    Weary and homesick, the Piedmont group's emotions picked up when they saw familiar faces waiting for them at the Rapid City airport.

    "We're happy to be home," Thompson said when picking up his baggage.

    McKenzie said they hadn't realized the extent of the catastrophe until talking to family and friends on the cell phones. She said that they were in a safe zone, but members from an engineering unit of the National Guard had told her that they had felt safer in Iraq and Afghanistan once the looting began.

    "No one from our side was shooting at them," she said.

    The nine Piedmont members stayed in two rooms on the second floor, they ate with the law enforcement authorities and Hilton staff. But there was no running water. It was a reality check, she said.

    McKenzie said the unit stayed strong for the people they were treating, but everyone worried.

    "My son-in-law told me he never realized how much he loved his family until he thought he never would see them again," she said.

    McKenzie was extremely proud of her group which included her son-in-law Robert Puhlman, assistant chief of operations, Piedmont Fire Department; Ryan Jager, EMT, Piedmont Ambulance; Ryan Killion, EMT, Piedmont Ambulance; Connie Hansen, EMT-firefighter, Doty Fire Department; Joe Hinton, EMT-firefighter, Piedmont Fire Department; George Luckie, maintenance, Piedmont Fire and Ambulance; and Leigh Beaudoin, EMT, Piedmont Ambulance.

    "No one died at the center while we were there," she said.

    Connie Hansen embraced her husband and held his hand while walking through the airport to claim her luggage.

    Her husband said that even with problems with the phones, they talked quite often while she was in New Orleans.

    "It's been a little tense," he said of his wife's experiences since leaving for the EMS conference.

    "I just want to go home," Hansen said.



    --
    Elias Friedman A.S., NREMT-P
    & Pongo the Spotted Wonder!
    elipongo@gmail.com
    http://elipongo.blogspot.com/                      Connecticut EMS T-Shirts!
    http://www.koshersingles.org/                       www.cafepress.com/ctemt
    http://www.ellingtonshul.org                         www.cafepress.com/ctparamedic