Thread: Phoenix

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    Quote Originally Posted by losdogedog
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    With all due respect, the only comment on this thread about Phoenix requesting if they could bring armed escorts is from a mayor on some TV show. There is nothing mentioned in any other article. Nothing, as far as I can tell, is in writing. In fact, from what I have been reading, if the Phoneix team would have requested a security team, they would have been provided with one by command, like every other team out there.

    There is so much emphisis on accountabilty in the fire service. Maybe it should be accountabilty when conveniant. Just because Phoniex is an elite rescue team and Bruno is God to some of you, dosent mean they can make the rules as they go along. If you wanted to be treated like professionals than act like professionals.

    Its situations like this that will give Mr. Bush the impression that all future responses should be federalized and given to the military. I dont think any of us want that.
    First of all... Phoenix FD does have the guts to take long hard looks at themselves (ie, the death of FF Brett Tarver) and make the necessary corrections, unlike other FD's who continue to keep their heads in the sand and say "it won't happen here"....

    Alan Brunacini does have some excellent programs that he insitituted there., Would they work in Everytown, USA? No, but they work for them. Bruno has to account to only one group of people... the people of Phoenix.

    I see him sending down a contingent of US marshals as a protection on the investment that the people of Phoenix has made in their FD.

    The only reason that President Bush is looking at having the military take over is that they are the ones who had to straighten out the fiasco that FEMA , Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco created.
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    Quote Originally Posted by losdogedog
    There is so much emphisis on accountabilty in the fire service. Maybe it should be accountabilty when conveniant. Just because Phoniex is an elite rescue team and Bruno is God to some of you, dosent mean they can make the rules as they go along. If you wanted to be treated like professionals than act like professionals.
    Gotta agree with this one and you've summarized it nicely. IMHO, FEMA can't be expected to selectively ignore its own rules and maintain any level of accountability.

    Phoenix (i.e. Bruno) decided to make up their own rules and got called on it. However good the intent, shipping out a federally funded USAR contingent with an unauthorized armed support team -- US Marshals, Marines, or Boy Scouts -- violated some pretty basic FEMA rules in a big way. Freelancing is freelancing no matter who is doing it...

    (IMHO, of all departments that generally have their collective sh*t together, Phoenix (i.e. Bruno, once again) should have known better. )
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    I'd be surprised to learn that more than a few that deployed went UNARMED (concealed or openly carried). Regardless of the PC wacko nonsense from FEMA/Red Cross/etc. It is the height of foolishness not to properly prepare and equip yourself when embarking on a contengency operation. You'd deploy to Iraq for duty as a FF without a set of turnout gear in your kit bag and a sidearm?

    Go into NO, where the Huns and Orcs are running wild in the streets as a defenseless babe in the woods? There's no glory in being a dead or wounded statistic. Army medics gave up on that BS decades ago and most go armed. To 1.) Defend themselves and 2.) Protect their patients.

    Even if you don't accept the 2nd amendment, protecting those for which you are responsible is your REASPONSIBILITY and a dang good reason to arm yourself given the anarchy in NO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by engine1321
    They broke the rules, and they should be punished. If Phoenix gets away with it, then what does that say to everyone else? Maybe the next team that travels overseas should hire mercs.

    They had plenty of police officers and National Guardsmen on the ground and if they felt they were going in to an unsafe area then they should have requested a detail of officers or a squad of soldiers to accompany them. Everything through the proper channels, no short cutting.
    The bottom line is that we were in New Orleans to locate, treat, and extricate victims in the branches assigned to us by the IST. On a daily basis, the Task Forces requested security elements after we learned of the gang activity and general civil unrest. Local law enforcement did its best to provide force protection, but to say that they were overwhelmed as a reliable resource is an understatement.

    There was not by any stretch of the imagination enough officers and DoD resources to act as security for the Task Forces until the 6th or 7th day of operation. In fact, on our 5th day in New Orleans FEMA USAR stood down field operations specifically due to security concerns. In other words, we couldn’t do our jobs because we didn’t have the force protection required.

    Yes, AZ-TF1’s actions were a clear violation of the FEMA USAR Code of Conduct. Yes, we conducted operations daily without adequate security but we’re not in this job because we like to sit behind a safe desk in an air-conditioned office.

    I applaud the actions of the Phoenix Mayor and Fire Chief. They did what they felt was necessary to keep their personnel safe. Rather than punish AZ-TF1, the FEMA USAR program should use Phoenix’s proactive measures as a model for the national system.

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    Maybe FEMA was mad because they (Phoenix FD) didn't shell out huge piles of cash to Blackwater "Security", eh?

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    You guys are focusing on only armed danger posed by victims of the storms. While that was there, no doubt... what about all the displaced wildlife and pets. Many of the houses had to be accessed from the roofs in areas well outside of NO proper. There was a shortage of resources all over the place. How is a searcher supposed to deal with a threatened trapped animal?

    I don't go camping in Northern Canada without a shotgun due to wildlife under their normal conditions. How many animals found what shelter was available in flooded homes etc? Many of the boat teams were armed for threats from gators, snakes etc, not just man.

    I find it funny that these teams are supposed to be so self supportive for days, yet they are refused the right to be able to protect each other in the event things go south. I think for too long we have been blessed with catastrophes where law and order were never really issues. I think NO opened the nations eyes that society can quickly fall apart.

    \
    As for the comments above about US marshals. They have arrest powers across state lines. I am sure they where deputies at some point for a cross jurisdictional investigation at one time.
    /

    Hats off to Phoenix for sticking to its guns, pun intended. I do not think that we are fire fighters and rescue personnel need to be equipped like a SWAT officer, but personal defensive sidearm might not have been so out of the question in this situation. I think maybe we should ask some of the NO fire fighters who armed themselves what they now think about firefighters being armed. Personally, I think most teams should be including LE into their makeup, if for no other purpose than evidence collection and presevation (missing person cases, hazmat, bombings (like Oklahoma...))

    And BTW... The LO deptarment of Fish and Game who was cordinating the water rescues was advising teams they could not provide for their protections and was advising they ensure they take measure to do so....
    Last edited by cjennings; 10-05-2005 at 04:33 PM.

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    lotta interesting opinions for sure....















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    The bottom line is that with a disaster of this magnitude, certain policies needed to be tweaked. What the Phoenix team did was not "freelancing" (I HATE that term) and they weren't acting like some kind of cowboys. Paulison needs to step up and quell this before it throws the whole USAR program right down the drain.
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    Default Letter Sent to FEMA

    http://phoenix.gov/NEWSREL/SUPPORT/chertoffletter.pdf

    Above is the url for the letter Phoenix sent in regards to the situation.

    It is very hard for me to believe that an organization like Phoenix FD was acting so far outside of the "rules." They were not acting like it was the O'K Corale, they brought LEO's.

    It seems reasonable to get the authorization the letter says they got so that Phoenix did not have to go to some Brother/Sister's house and tell their loved ones they aren't coming home.

    Chief Bruno' was here in VT about 12 years ago and gave a conference. Seemed to me like he was very down to earth and worked the situation at hand. I would think that the organization would take on some of his approach over the years.... most organizations do.

    This was one of the, if not the biggest natural disasters in the US and there was no play book written to cover all the issues that Phoenix had to deal with. They did what they thought was best to get the job done.

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    New York Task Force 1 was deployed for Katrina and is half NYPD (cops and guns) and half FDNY members.
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    Ditto.....Nevada USAR #1 deploys with about 80 members comprised of fire, police and medical (doctors,nurses). Apparently FEMA has different types of USAR Teams for various reasons. Seems like there is more to this story than what is being reported by the media. I don't think Paulison made this decision based on a "knee-jerk" reaction.

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    Everyone is jumping on FEMA. I'm not saying that there weren't problems, but the agreement between the sponsoring agencies for the USAR teams and FEMA is clear that USAR personnel are not to be armed. Phoenix knowingly and willfully "stretched" the rule. It does appear that they made an attempt to inform FEMA of their intentions, but without a written authorization, they took a chance and got burned. I seriously doubt their suspension from the program will last very long.

    My guess is that if they hadn't been "caught on tape" with the shotgun, nothing would have been said. When the pictures hit the news with such a clear violation of published FEMA rules, officials had to say something. You know some talking head somewhere on the news would have made an issue of it. Bottom line is, if the locals had not been in such chaos the need for security would not have been an issue. This was a situation the USAR program in the US has never faced before.

    I was in Mississippi with the Maryland Task Force and despite the devastation there (with apologies to New Orleans, from what I saw the devastation along coastal Mississippi was much worse that what the city of New Orleans suffered) we had an armed escort of either Mississippi or Florida law enforcement officers and our base was guarded by National Guard MPs or police officers. It was not necessary for us to provide our own security. We were also told specifically by Mississippi officials, not FEMA, that we were not to go into the field without law enforcement. Of course, we didn't have people shooting at rescuers in Mississippi either. The locals were calling the shots and giving us our missions. FEMA was providing support to them (as the program was set up to do in the first place) rather than taking over for the locals like it seems the military, and to a lesser extent, FEMA had to do in Louisiana.

    Should the Arizona Task Force have taken the officers with them? A tough call, I admit. In a similar situation if I were a Task Force Leader I would have to do what was necessary to keep my people safe. Unfortunately, under the rules that we were operating under in August and September 2005, that meant if we have no security, we don't go in. That would have been extremely frustrating and will rub a lot of you the wrong way, but that's how I see it. It's not the Task Force Leader's job to violate the rules of the program that his sponsoring agency agreed to when they agreed to participate.

    The big questions that the article did not clearly address are as follows:

    1. Were these LEOs clearly distinguishable from the rescue personnel?

    2. Were they members of the rostered USAR Task Force (FEMA USAR personnel) or were they a supplemental detail provided by the sponsoring agency?

    It might be splitting hairs, but having USAR Team members armed is a clear violation of the agreement between FEMA and the sponsoring agency. A security detail composed of supplemental officers, not rosterd team members, is an entirely different animal. I'll have to read the article again, but it looks like Phoenix was operating under the former rather than the latter situation.

    If they were wearing Arizona Task Force One gear rather than police uniforms, than I do think they should be called on it. We all think that LEOs using fire department equipment to help them arrest bad guys is a bad idea because it "violates the public trust" that we need to do our jobs. I see this as a similar situation.

    Obviously, the system will have to undergo some serious overhaul as a result of these experiences. FEMA may well have to provide security for the USAR teams either through the Federal Marshall program or through the use of National Guard or Federal Military Police. The authority and legality for such a deployment will have to be clearly defined before this can happen. Local and State officials will have to agree to such a deployment.
    Last edited by CJMinick390; 10-06-2005 at 10:22 AM.
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    By the way, Ray, do the NYPD take their weapons with them on a Federal deployment? Oh, and LasVegas, you left out the engineers.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
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    Default Pheonix Firefighters

    I am a Captain with City of Petaluma in California. I was talking with my crew about deploying and we all figured that there was no way we would go into New Orleans unless we were packing. We also figured that firearms would be confiscated if we deployed. The fact that a team had the foresight to make sure they had some kind of protection is a good thing. I think that the fact that the Pheonix Team is taking any heat is deplorable.

    John

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    Regardless of the rule violation, I look at it more simply.

    The FF's know the dangers, and they will take steps to protect themselves (as has been indicated by several in this thread). What is the better option;

    1. Having FF's with unknown levels of training and experience arm themselves with what ever they can find in thier closet, or,

    2.Having a team of properly trained and equipped LEO's to handle any potential dirty stuff.

    I would take option 2 any day.

    Pheonix did stretch the rules, and subsequently got thier Pee Pee whacked, but I would sincerely hope this is just for show, and the whole issue dissappears quickly.

    As I said before, I support Bruno's decision.
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    Default what about the 2nd amendment?

    If you cannot see that the LEO's weren't there to protect anyone you are cracked, this appeared to be a free for all with no resemblance of order. First off if I were able to go I would have checked to see if my concealed carry permit were recognized there and would have carried concealed and if I couldn't carry and safety wasn't provided by armed escorts (LEO)I would not go!

    I'm sick and tired of all the political correct BS. This disaster area was a total culster F.... People need to realize that LEO's can't be everywhere and protect everyone, disaster area or just every normal day. I think that these are different times. People don't respect fire and EMS as they did back when I started in this field some 35 years ago so I will exercise my 2nd ammendment rights to keep and bear arms to protect myself and family every day! If you chose not to, so be it, but don't complain when the Gov. isn't there to protect you!

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    First off if I were able to go I would have checked to see if my concealed carry permit were recognized there and would have carried concealed

    >>>> When I was working on going down with a boat team I asked the Dept Of Fish & Wildlife and their response was "Don't Ask Don't Tell". There words exactly...

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    double post removed

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    There seems to alot of "Phoenix Envy".
    If it was a small unknown department and they brought thier own security forces(without authorization) would it be different?

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    I stand with Phoenix. They saw a risk and handled it. If this is such a big concern with FEMA then they really do have major problems.
    Last edited by KyleWickman; 10-07-2005 at 07:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by losdogedog
    There seems to alot of "Phoenix Envy".
    If it was a small unknown department and they brought thier own security forces(without authorization) would it be different?
    Nice try....

    A "small, unknown" department would not have USAR task force team.
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    CaptainGonzo
    So your point is, if your on a USAR team it's ok to pack heat, and make up rules.

    The point I was trying to make is why can't any team out there, USAR or not,
    bring there own security? What good for one is good for all.

    By the way, the 27 other USAR teams doing great work did not need see fit to bring there own police force. God bless them.

    Explain that!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by losdogedog
    CaptainGonzo
    So your point is, if your on a USAR team it's ok to pack heat, and make up rules.

    The point I was trying to make is why can't any team out there, USAR or not,
    bring there own security? What good for one is good for all.

    By the way, the 27 other USAR teams doing great work did not need see fit to bring there own police force. God bless them.

    Explain that!!
    Art thou backpedaling? I believe so!

    Bruno protected his personnel where FEMA failed to do so... explained, enuff said!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    Bruno protected his personnel where FEMA failed to do so... explained, enuff said!
    We don't know that FEMA (or any other responsible agency) "failed to protect them." That information hasn't been made available.

    The long and short of it is that Bruno's team went cowboy. That's just plain unprofessional however you look at it.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Default Think about it...

    Phoenix did what was reasonable to insure their safety. The LEO's with them were not team members, they were Federal officers. What difference would it have made if FEMA assigned National Guard, Coast Guard, or any other Federal entity to protect the USAR team? If the sticking point is that FEMA wasn't the one to assign them, then just chalk up another case where they dropped the ball. Some nut cases were taking pot shots at USCG rescue helicopters - NOT providing some type of force protection for the USAR teams should be viewed as depraved indifference to the safety and security of the rescuers.

    As is usually the case, Phoenix & Chief Brunacini did the right thing. One thing I've admired about those guys; they publicly admit (to everyone) when something they did was wrong, in the sincere hope that it will prevent harm to another brother or sister firefighter. No wrongdoing here - reasonable actions, qualified personnel. End of tirade!
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