"A Night of Epic Proportions"
Yesterday afternoon I was eating jambalaya and red beans in a New Orleans dive. The television was in full hurricane mode.
The owner, bartender, cook and regular survived Katrina. Two patrons were from Florida and mentioned that they survived four consecutive hurricanes a couple of years ago. They all asked, where was the media then?
The iconic March 29, 1976, magazine cover from The New Yorker symbolizes the assertion that national news is NYC focused. Studios, headquarters staff and production employees are based in the city.
Maybe too much NYC-focused hype. Then Sandy made landfall …
A Catastrophe Unfolding in Digital Bursts
FDNY Incidents posted tweet and Facebook updates that left me slack-jawed.
Gregg Favre, a GWU Emergency Services alumn, made a great observation:
I have a bachelors and masters degree in Emergency Management. I teach the practice at the University-level.
I wrote the St. Louis Fire Department's 500-page SOGs on the topic. I feel like I am pretty knowledgable on the subject and grounded in my expectations.
All that said, I am amazed at what is going on in NYC/NJ/NE. This is going to get worse before it gets better. To all my New York friends and co-workers, please be safe.
Swimming to the fire
Before the Breezy Point conflagration in Queens, Favre was focusing on "The Beach House" – Engine 268 and Ladder 137 in Far Rockaway.
Favre paraphrased the following radio exchange, I think that The New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation captured a more complete version:
Queens Boro Commander Chief Maynes directly to the officer of Eng Co 268
"The structures are not your concern. Your concern is the residents of Rockaway and your firefighters. Do you understand my order 268"?
Officer of 268 " I understand the orders of Chief Maynes".
.268 Engine operating alone at this time at a Rockaway 10-75.They are unable to make entry into the block and the officer in charge of 268 Engine has decided not to commit members. The fire is in an attached private dwelling and is extending to exposures.Queens dispatch has just advised 268 Engine that they are unable to send them any assistance. The fire is located at Beach 114 St & The Boardwalk.
Followed by this report:
Members of Eng Co 268 have confirmed people trapped in a 10-75. The officer of 268 has just advised Queens that they are removing their bunker gear and are holding onto handlines in an attempt the make rescues.
This is at the scene of 2 fuly involved private dwellings. 268 members will attempt to swim to the scene and start rescues.
There are hundreds of other events that required courage, creativity and bravery from the last 36 hours.
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward
related: September 6, 2010: Updated: 70th Anniversary of London Blitz