Thread: Phoenix

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    Default Phoenix

    Glad to see FEMA using good sense on this one.... What a joke. Who does FEMA think they are hurting? Phoenix? No, FEMA is hurting the entire system.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Default Phoenix USAR team

    Fema is "Fracked"

    Personally, I don't see the problem with Phoenix sending their own security to protect their team members...the NOPD, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard or the Feds didn't provide it!

    I wonder what will happen if the big one hits Cali...I'll bet that FEMA will let Phoenix come and play....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Kudos to Chief Brunacini for doing what's necessary to keep his firefighters and equipment safe.

    The feds need to somehow underdstand that we dont live in a perfect world where nobody attacks rescuers.
    IAFF - Fire/EMS

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    they should tell FEMA to go "F" themselves. if FEMA can do a better and more efficient job, then let them. just my ever humble opinion

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    I cant find another post on this subject - it just seemed this thread starts mid stream? Or did I miss something?

    But if this article has been posted forgive me

    -------------------------------
    FEMA suspends Phoenix team
    Armed escorts during hurricane rescues broke rule

    Judi Villa
    The Arizona Republic
    Oct. 4, 2005 12:00 AM

    The Phoenix Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team has been suspended from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for deploying armed police officers to protect firefighters in violation of the agency's rules.

    As a result, Phoenix officials now are threatening to refuse some of the most dangerous deployments in the future or possibly even pull out of the federal agency altogether, unless the rules are changed to allow teams to bring their own security, even if that means police with guns.

    FEMA has been the target of widespread criticism for its perceived slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan said his department also is questioning the federal agency's ability to manage working conditions, security and communications. advertisement




    "Our priority has to be the safety of the firefighters we're sending," Khan said.

    At issue is a rule in FEMA's Code of Conduct that prohibits Urban Search and Rescue teams from having firearms. Phoenix's team that deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief and again for Hurricane Rita included four police officers deputized as U.S. marshals.

    Phoenix police were added to the team about a year ago, and officials say they are essential to protecting firefighters and FEMA's $1.4 million worth of equipment. Firefighters do not carry weapons.

    "This is crazy," Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said Monday. "This is a rule that was designed before the world changed, pre-9/11. You can't stand on bureaucracy if we're going to protect and save lives, and that's what these teams do."


    Instability in Gulf Coast
    FEMA relies on 28 elite teams like Phoenix's across the country to perform specialized rescue operations immediately after terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

    After Hurricane Katrina, firefighters faced deployment to areas plagued by looting and lawlessness. Twice, Phoenix's team was confronted by law enforcement officers who refused to let them pass through their communities and told them to "get out or get shot," Gordon said.

    Given the instability in the Gulf Coast region, taking police "was as natural as us calling for backup when we go to a house fire and need traffic control," Khan said.

    Phoenix's team was demobilized unexpectedly Sept. 26 after members were seen embarking on a helicopter sortie with a loaded shotgun while assigned to help with the aftermath of Rita.

    FEMA officials did not return a call for comment on Monday. But in a letter to Phoenix Fire Chief Alan Brunacini, dated Sept. 29, the agency said Phoenix was placed on "non-deployment status" essentially for including armed police on the team without approval.

    The team cannot be reconsidered for deployment until "we receive an official explanation of your sponsoring agency rationale for allowing these infractions, any corrective actions taken, and assurance that these infractions will not occur in the future," the letter said.

    Gordon on Monday sent a letter to FEMA officials requesting that the Code of Conduct "be changed from an unrealistic 'No firearms allowed' to a common-sense 'No firearms allowed except for U.S. marshals integrated into the USAR team.' " Gordon also demanded an apology.

    "We are not going to send our firefighters and police officers into harm's way if they don't have adequate security," Gordon said in an interview Monday. "We're not going to endanger our people's lives. I'm not going to take that responsibility."

    Phoenix's team was credited with plucking more than 400 Hurricane Katrina survivors from rooftops and freeway overpasses in flooded sections of New Orleans.

    The team also was the first out-of-state team to respond to the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and members deployed to New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.


    Pulling out of FEMA
    If Phoenix pulled out of FEMA entirely, the city would have to return its equipment, which includes medical supplies, communications equipment, tools, and cameras and listening devices that can detect people trapped in rubble.

    Khan said that the equipment isn't used in Phoenix on a daily basis and that the city already owns "a lot of the same equipment."

    Scott Phelps, Gordon's senior assistant, said the city's stance wasn't to pull out of every FEMA deployment, only to refuse those where the team could be at risk if the "no firearms" rule wasn't changed.

    "To apply that sterile rule to the real-life experiences that these men and women were encountering is absurd and really not fair," Phelps said.

    "Our question would be: What's the compelling reason not to change the rules? It's not an unreasonable request."
    Warm Regards,
    Shawn Stoner
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    FEMA....

    Has shown under the former outdated rules and good old boy leadership that it is little more than an overbloated bureaucracy. Even when things started to fall into place they were more of an obstacle than an agency offering assistance.

    Security was a very sad joke for the rescuers and bringing their own security seems not only smart but a way to relieve the pressue on local authorities.

    The reality is this...FEMA needs the USAR Teams more than they need FEMA. It woulod be impossible for the Feds to preposition federal employees and equipment and make it economically efficient....unless they used the military.

    FyredUp

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    Why dont all departments just start freelanceing and bring thier own fire arms.
    Who needs rules anyway. FEMA made the right call.

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    Freelancing with firearms is one thing. Bringing a small security detail of trained, sworn law enforcement officers (who were deputized by the federal government) is another thing. FEMA overreacted.
    IAFF - Fire/EMS

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    I think it maybe the Mayor of Phoenix should have a conversation with the chief executives of other jurisdictions hosting USAR teams and as a body tell FEMA exactly where to put their precious rule. They might also want to provide a map because, based on their FEMA's recent performances, I doubt they could accurately follow verbal directions.

    If the story is accurate and theses guys were sworn officers that were also acting as US Marshals, just where does some FEMA hack get off thinking he has the authority to tell them where and what they can do?

    Good job Phoenix looking after your people. Here's a good test for the new director - assuming this story is accurate, if you want to start restoring credibilty then fix this problem now.

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    C'mon, if they did it how the article said they did then I really don't think that could be considered freelancing. There was no organization on the part of law-enforcement (at least it didn't seem like it) and they did what we preach to be rule #1: our safety. It's not like they had firemen with hunting rifles running around; they were actual cops. I agree with ColdFire, kudo's to Phoenix for protecting their team members, and if FEMA is stupid enough to make a big deal about this then they're even more messed up than they already make themselves out to be. Sounds like somebody is just trying to flex their muscles (which makes the blood bypass the brain, of course) to show how "in control" they are. This political BS is the stuff I can't stand and it's what brings down good people in our field.

    What's up with the local law enforcement telling the teams not to go into their towns or risk getting shot? Doesn't help the stigma of the "old South" if you ask me.

    It was such a large-scale horrible disaster though so I'm not going to arm-chair quarterback too much. Kudos to EVERYBODY down there doing their part.
    LT Lou DiMattia
    Willoughby Hills Fire Department
    Willoughby Hills, OH USA

    It's your world buddy, we're just livin' in it.

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    Default Get your act together FEMA!

    If FEMA really understood the situation from the start, they would have organized law enforcement to join with the convoys and protect those that they were leading. Don't tell me MABAS didn't have law enforcement with them when they deployed! They may have been stopped at the state border, due to archaic mutual aid laws for the cops, but I assure you that they intended on protecting their own people under their watch.

    FEMA must now plan to do the same. Great job, Bruno! Even if you do wear those crazy shirts on occassion.

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    Iím sure the Phoenix police officers have better judgment then some 18y/o National Guardsman.

    With all FEMA's blunders following Hurricane Katrina they can still can find a way to look stupid. Thatís gonna be a tough act to follow




    .

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    Angry Who cares?!

    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.

    Considering how it's Federal funding that keeps the USAR teams in shape, I would say that the teams need FEMA more than anyone else. Since Phoenix has their own equipment, then they wouldn't mind if the Feds took theirs back and started a team somewhere else in the country...

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    Many guys on here are saying that they broke the rules and FEMA didn't know about it until after they deployed. According to the mayor in a TV interview I saw today FEMA did know about it prior to deployment because FEMA told Phoenix that they would not pay for the officers deployment, but they did not object to them being sent.

    FEMA knew that the officers were going to be sent and they had the opportunity to say no and they didn't. They had their chance to enforce their rule and they side stepped it themselves.

    I cannot believe all of this criticism for them taking 4 certified police officers which are also Deputy U.S. Marshalls with them for security purposes into a situation that was widely reported to be unstable with a general lack of law enforcement.

    It sounds like FEMA needs to change some rules. I don't think that too many of you can argue with me about that.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    Angry guns and firefighter

    so what if a usar team his cops with guns on it.. look at the pics from down there all i saw where guns and cops.. i also saw a few pics of nofd firefighter carrying guns.... does the 2 amendment meen any thing

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    losdogedog...

    Uh huh, whatever. The police from Phoenix were US DEPUTY MARSHALLS, not some bunch of vigilante firefighters running around with guns. Did you watch any of the news coverage? Did you hear that the NOFD guys were carrying their own guns? If the police and the Military had things so much under control please explain to me the rampant looting and gun fire in the city? If FEMA knew in advance like someone else posted here then they continued their magnificent ability to take a disaster and make it even worse. Gee, I wonder how many people the Phoenix team rescued...but hell I guess that doesn't matter because they had 4 US DEPUTY MARSHALLS with guns protecting them while they SAVED lives.

    engine1321...

    First of all read the above.

    Considering how it's Federal funding that keeps the USAR teams in shape, I would say that the teams need FEMA more than anyone else. Since Phoenix has their own equipment, then they wouldn't mind if the Feds took theirs back and started a team somewhere else in the country...
    Second of all. Do you for one minute believe thye above drivel? The teams need FEMA more than FEMA needs the teams? Are you serious? It is a symbionic relationship. FEMA needs the teams to supply the trained staff to use the equipment they buy. The equipment without the staffing is worthless. The staffing without the proper equipment is less able to achieve its goal of saving lives. If the feds could find a way to have USAR teams without using local resources they would do it. The only way to accomplish it without local fire departments is to use the military. And that opens a whole other can of worms.

    I applaud Fire Chief Brunacini and Mayor Gordon for first of all sending the team to assist the victims of Katrina and secondly for not forgetting to protect their own people. They were right and unfortunately FEMA was wrong...AGAIN.

    I guess rescuing 400 people wasn't enough of a reason to keep them there. I just shake my head at the utter stupidity of it all.

    FyredUp

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    It obvoius that rescue personnel need security. However, Phoenix Fire should have at least informed command that they were bringing an armed escort
    (Thats what I mean by freelancing). This would have resolved the problem before it became a big issue. FEMA would have made the descision wheather to allow the police (US Marshals or not) or provide an approved security team. Which is thier responsibilty. If rescue teams don't feel safe and can't work by the rules, then they should not participate.

    If FEMA would have allowed this, then every Joe, Dick and Harry would want to bring thier own security. Next time it could be a couple of rouge New Orlean cops with shotguns instead of US Marshalls. How is FEMA supposed to keep track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by losdogedog
    It obvoius that rescue personnel need security. However, Phoenix Fire should have at least informed command that they were bringing an armed escort
    (Thats what I mean by freelancing). This would have resolved the problem before it became a big issue. FEMA would have made the descision wheather to allow the police (US Marshals or not) or provide an approved security team. Which is thier responsibilty. If rescue teams don't feel safe and can't work by the rules, then they should not participate.

    If FEMA would have allowed this, then every Joe, Dick and Harry would want to bring thier own security. Next time it could be a couple of rouge New Orlean cops with shotguns instead of US Marshalls. How is FEMA supposed to keep track.
    Ahem... let me refer you to a quote from my earlier post:

    Quote Originally Posted by ironsman53
    According to the (Phoenix) mayor in a TV interview I saw today FEMA did know about it prior to deployment because FEMA told Phoenix that they would not pay for the officers deployment, but they did not object to them being sent.

    FEMA knew that the officers were going to be sent and they had the opportunity to say no and they didn't. They had their chance to enforce their rule and they side stepped it themselves.
    I watched the interview and it was perfectly clear that FEMA knew the officers were being deployed prior to them actually going.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    From the articles and coverage so far, it sounds to me like Phoenix made a sound risk management decision and took the best approach possible for the situation.

    They should be applauded for doing it right and not allowing their crews to arm themselves, nor using unqualified personnel. I don't know how they could have done it any better.

    And Gonz is right, Phoenix is no small town USAR team that you can simply take or leave. They are a top notch team with the best equipment and training. You can bet your *** that FEMA or the affected state will be begging for them at the next big event.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Regardless of how many people they rescued and despite the fact that the officers were Deputy US Marshals means nothing in that they were forbidden from having members of the team with weapons. Obviously the presence of a weapon creates more potential for violence and acts in no way as a deterrent. As an example, despite being outgunned, gang members fired upon highly trained professional soldiers many of whom have urban combat experience in both New Orleans and in the last round of LA Riots. What would make Phoenix think that 4 "Marshals" would deter violence against the team in an already explosive situation? Nothing can say for sure, label the sitaution contained administratively and move on.

    If you want "risk management," leave the carrying of weapons to those who were specifically deployed for the purpose of population control and security and DO YOUR JOB. Your label is "RESCUE" not "FORCE PROTECTION."

    FEMA never kept track of who had weapons, the ATF did. If they needed weapons, they would have been issued permits. If they didn't have permits, therein lies the problem.

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    losdogedog...

    You have a wonderful way of ignoring what people say here...It was stated twice that FEMA did know ahead of time and their only response was they wouldn't pay for the officers. Not don't bring them.

    engine1321

    Obviously the presence of a weapon creates more potential for violence and acts in no way as a deterrent.
    And what would you have suggested? I guess you didn't watch the news reports at all of NOPD officers riding around in pick-up trucks armed to the teeth to stop the violence. Or the military walking patrols with their M-16's at the ready. If the perpetrators are using weapons the only way to stop them is to have your own weapons and usually more of them than they do. This was not LA during the riots, this was not gang related it was people totally out of control attempting to profit from a horrible disaster.

    FEMA never kept track of who had weapons, the ATF did. If they needed weapons, they would have been issued permits. If they didn't have permits, therein lies the problem.
    First of all, as previously stated on here, twice, FEMA did know they were going along with Phoenix's team. If they didn't how could they say they wouldn't pay for them? Secondly, if they were Deputy US Marshall's with federal jurisdiction, they don't need to be issued permits because they are FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS. Do you think the US Marshall service has to get a permit anytime they cross state borders?

    What would make Phoenix think that 4 "Marshals" would deter violence against the team in an already explosive situation?
    Perhaps you are correct they may not have deterred some lunaitc looters and jag offs from shooting at the Phoenix team. But what would you suggest the team should do if they find themselves under fire? Say pretty please don't kill me? The great thing about having armed escorts is they can shoot back!! If for no other reason than to allow the team time to get to safety.

    My suggestion is simply this, if I were Chief Brunacini or Mayor Gordon I would refuse to send my USAR team into any area of civil unrest in the furtue. After all the number one job of the fire chief is protection of his own personnel. I would think it wouldn't take long before other USAR teams said WTF? If Phoenix isn't going to send their team into an obviously out of control violent scene then we aren't either. Who loses then? I am sure Phoenix FD would survive just fine if FEMA pulled their USAR funding. My question is....are YOU willling to risk the loss of such a highly trained and experienced team? A team that was at the Murrah Federal building? A team that was at the Towers in New York? A team that is highly trained and competent. But hey I guess none of that matters because they chose to protect their people with DEPUTY US MARSHALLS.

    The Feds need the teams...the teams need the equipment. One can't survive without the other and this will end up as another egg in the face of FEMA in the long run.

    FyredUp

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    Firefighters carrying guns is a bad idea. Having LEO's with guns protecting firefighters is a different matter entirely. I hope Chief Brunacini sticks to his guns (if you'll pardon the pun) and keeps the security with the team when it's needed.
    ullrichk
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    Do you think the US Marshall service has to get a permit anytime they cross state borders?
    For what it is worth, they didn't need any type of permit. Under the Law Enforcement Officersí Safety Act of 2004 ANY active LEO and retired LEOs that have kept their qualifications up to date can carry their weapons (at least carry them concealed) anywhere in the US. I'm just speculating but I imagine they were deputized as US Marshals so they would have arrest powers?

    These were LEOs operating totally and completely within their authority. FEMA is just plain nuts.

    I hope Senator McCain already has a call in to the director.

    Edited to add: The thought that these teams need FEMA more than FEMA needs them is pure hogwash. FEMA has taken great pains to divert pressure off them by pointing out they aren't a first responder agency. Just remember Brown's testimony "FEMA doesn't own fire trucks...". Without cities like Phoenix being willing to train and supply people that they KNOW will be deployed all across the country, there wouldn't be USAR capabilities available for FEMA to deploy. You can buy all the equipment in the world but without the people trained to use it, all you have is a room full of shiny toys. In order to accomplish its mission, FEMA must have the Fire/Rescue community behind it.
    Last edited by EFD840; 10-05-2005 at 09:08 AM.

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    Default Phoenix

    FEMA has enough egg on their face and now they want to screw around with Phoenix and Bruno? I wonder who will win this one? I am still down in the big-E and FEMA still has their head up there....well they really don't know where they have their head but they all have new cars to work with. All USAR deplys with security forces.....whats the big deal FEMA?
    My tax dollars at work....what a joke.

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    fyred up
    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.

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