Police in China’s northern Inner Mongolia have launched an official investigation into the beating of five newly-recruited firefighters in Wuhai city after a video that showed them being abused by senior soldiers went viral over the weekend, reported China’s Southern Metropolis Daily.
The 16-minute-long clip that recorded the beatings received millions of views and shocked China’s online community, who called it a disgrace and demanded authorities get to the bottom of the scandal. Yet many bloggers, after viewing the clip, said it was just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption-riddled People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The clip showed five young soldiers who were made to stand next to each other and take beatings from what appeared to be senior soldiers. The seniors took turns torturing the new recruits, hitting them in the face, kicking them in their stomach, and banging their heads into a concrete wall. Several of the recruits collapsed onto the floor after being attacked. Yet the torture resumed as the new soldiers were immediately asked to to stand up and take more beatings.
Southern Maryland Newsnet reports five firefighters were taken to the hospital to be checked out after an engine from the Newburg VFD overturned while responding to a motor vehicle collision. The news site reports at least one minor injury. ScanMD has the audio.
Above is video from Ron Roberts of Monday's apartment fire in Levittown, Pennsylvania (Bucks County) where a pregnant woman and her young daughter were found dead. Police report both had been stabbed. Below is radio traffic from Philly FireFeed.
This became an issue two-years-ago after the DC Police Department encrypted its radio channels and the fire department shut down its Twitter feed. While that Twitter feed is back up and police department is very active on Twitter, neither agency kept the public or press informed through Twitter during the early stages of the Navy Yard incident. Here's more from Sommer:
Quander says the department is considering a solution that would leave some traffic open while encrypting calls. He cited dispatch calls to emergency as an example of traffic that could stay unencrypted.
While MPD encrypted its radios in 2011, the push to encrypt fire department radios came only after September's Navy Yard massacre, according to Quander. "It puts law enforcement, first responders, and the public in a very precarious position," he says.
Incidentally, if there's any publicly available evidence that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis listened to emergency broadcasts during his rampage, LL hasn't been able to find it. Quander spokesman Keith St. Clair tells LL that he's not aware of any either, but says that emergency radio streaming on the Internet is "a potentially huge problem."
Video above from firelinevideo of the 4th alarm in Queens at 84-70 129th Street in Kew Gardens around 7:00 PM last Tuesday. The clip has audio of a mayday for a missing firefighter and video showing a man and woman being brought down the fire escape. Below is a series of early videos from AYOO MATT at the same fire. Some of the videos were seen on FirefighterSpot.com.
The FDNY says a four-alarm fire in Queens that left eleven people injured and dozens out of their homes Tuesday night was accidental.
Investigators say the cause of the fire was electrical, sparked by a failure of structural wiring.
Eight firefighters were among the injured in the fire that ripped through an apartment complex.
"My husband looked out of the window and he saw the flames shooting out of the apartment next door to us," said one woman, who told us she and her husband had no other choice but to come down the fire escape.
"The members today did a fantastic job extinguishing four apartments of fire. This is a non-fire proof building. There's extensive collapse inside the building," said FDNY Deputy Chief Charles Clarke.
This is an unusual story from Volusia County, Florida where WESH-TV reporter Claire Metz had gone to the home of a 911 center employee to get the woman's side of the story in connection with her suspension over an error involving a fatal heart attack call. Metz says she went to Shauna Justice's door without a camera or microphone and was met by Justice holding a gun in her hand.
Metz had gone to the home of Shauna Justice to get her side of the story. Justice was suspended because her superiors said she was using her cellphone in September while her dispatch trainee took a call. As a result of that call, emergency responders ended up at the wrong address, and the victim suffered a heart attack and ultimately died.
Justice was arrested after the incident involving the WESH 2 News crew at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. She was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and held on $1,500 bond.
Justice opened the door with a gun in her hand, pointing it at Metz's head, cursing at her and telling her to leave her property, according to Metz.
"The gun was no more than a foot or two from my head, and Ms. Justice held it on me until I backed away to our truck," Metz said.
Helmet-cam video and radio traffic from AlamedaCountyFire of a two-alarm fire last Monday morning at 2079 Altamont Road in San Leandro, California. According to news reports, the fire started with an explosion related to a gas leak and the lamps used for a pot growing operation. A man was injured and two of his dogs died. Here’s the description with the video.
Challenging Fire. House built on a down slope side of a mid slope road. Top floor was at street level with two levels below grade. This creates difficulty and increased risk to firefighters who must deploy down interior stairs which act like a chimney when there is fire below.
Crews deployed 4 attack lines, 2 were deployed from the exterior to cool the interior as other crews prepared to enter. Eventually 2 lines were deployed into the fire.
5 dogs escaped, 2 dogs died. No firefighters were injured, 1 civilian with minor burns.
The fire started about 9:55 a.m. Monday at 2079 Altamont Road when heat lamps used for a pot grow ignited vapors coming from a faulty gas line connected to an outdoor barbecue pit, said Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.
The gas leak prompted a fiery explosion that blew out a wall in the three-story, two-garage home, then spread to the rest of the home owned by 46-year-old Ken Gee.
When crews arrived, they found the home ablaze and inside they discovered about 50 marijuana plants on the home’s lowest level, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. J.D. Nelson.
Crews, who smelled of marijuana after the blaze, controlled the fire in 30 minutes and extinguished it by 10:45 a.m., Walsh said.
Don Murtha (murthad02) had a busy weekend in Buffalo, New York. The video above was from 10:50 PM Saturday night at 53 Quincy Street. Here’s some of Don’s description with the video:
Engine 22 arrives to fire on #2 side vacant dwelling. Fire extends into attic.
Above is a house fire that extended to the homes on either side around 1:30 this morning at 737 N. Division Street. Here’s part of the description:
Engine 32 o/s with a fully involved vacant 1.5 story dwelling. Arriving crews ask for extra 2 & 1 to scene. Exposures on #2 & 4 sides well involved. B-56 orders everyone out & Emergency Head Count (at about 7:35 on the video). Defensive posture for main fire bldg & #4 exposure. Offensive attack on #2 side exposure.
This video was at 56 Wasmuth Avenue at 3:56 Sunday morning where two people were rescued by firefighters. Here’s that description:
E-22 arrives to heavy fire on 1st floor #1 side. Rescue 1 searches and finds 2 victims in the rear 1st floor. B-56 requests extra 1 & 1, and 3 ambulances. Fire extends up to 2nd floor and attic. 3 -1¾” Lines in use.
Newsworking’s Bill Rohrer (newsworking) with pre-arrival video from an apartment fire late last night in Whitehall, Pennsylvania. Evacuation of the building is ordered at 4:30 in the video. Here’s some of what Bill wrote about the fire:
At 23:19 Friday, October 25, Whitehall Fire Radio sent Whitehall Station 1, Engine 4, 14, Woodlawn Engine 32 to the Helfrich Springs Apartments located at 900 Mickley Road for a fire on the balcony. Chief 16 (3501) arrived and reported a working fire in building ‘V’, a 3-story Occupied Multiple Dwelling (OMD).
The seat of the fire was located on the top floor of side 3 (rear). The fire dropped to the balcony below and extended into the cockloft before the arrival of the first due company.
Chief 16 (3501) special-called Whitehall station 3 at 23:25. Engine 1 arrived and stretched a line to the fire floor. Members pulled ceilings and found heavy fire in the cockloft. At 23:27, command special-called Catasauqua’s Ladder 231. Ladder 231 positioned in the rear of the fire building. Whitehall’s Squrt 3 (3831) positioned in front of the building and set up their elevated master stream. Assistant Chief 1A (3602) ordered all members out of the fire building at 23:46 so the master streams could go in-service to try and darken down the bulk of the fire.
At 23:43 command ordered the 2nd alarm be struck. Whitehall Fire Radio transmitted the 2nd alarm sending Whitehall Engine 2, Catasauqua Engine 211, Coplay Engine 5, HanLeCo Engine 33, North Catasauqua Engine 18, Northampton Engine 42 and Schnecksville Engine 22.
With the fire extended to exposure 4, a similiar attached building, crews went to the roof and made a trench cut while interior members pulled ceilings. The crews working this exposure stopped the fire from extending past the first apartments in that building.
When the bulk of the fire was darkened down in the original fire building, the elevated master streams were turned off and interior crews continued hitting the fire from the interior.
The EMS crews would arrive 28 minutes after the original 911 call, and 19 minutes after firefighters.
“We are doing the best we can with limited resources,” said Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin.
He says the overall problem is a lack of funding.
Austin says a city the size of Detroit needs 23 to 25 reliable ambulances, but only has about 17.
It is a situation that would be worse were it not for the help of donations from numerous people and businesses including Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske, Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors. They and others donated money that helped put ten new ambulances on the road. Another 13 are on order and expected to arrive sometime at the end of next month.
Austin warns that Detroit Ambulances cover a lot of miles, and a plan needs to be put into place to make sure money is available for more in the future. He says he hopes as the city’s bankruptcy proceedings continue, more money is made available to the fire department.
More than 100 firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze that injured three people in Brooklyn Wednesday morning, authorities said.
The blaze broke out around 4 a.m. on the first floor of a three-story building at Flatbush Avenue and East 35th Street in Flatbush. Flames ripped through the second and third floors, destroying the multi-family house.
A second home was also slightly damaged in the fire, authorities said.
Fire officials at the scene say it started on the first floor, and spread across all three stories of the building.
“We were very lucky that there was only one person, with very minor injuries. Our concern was the volume of fire, and whether the fire would communicate to adjoining buildings,” said FDNY Assistant Chief Joseph Pfeifer.
More than 100 firefighters responded to the scene of the fire. Two were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
The attic was already well involved in flames when firefighters arrived, and the fire quickly spread through the Romanesque Revival structure. When the roof of the building collapsed, firefighters were ordered outside to battle the flames from the exterior. But two firefighters were trapped inside.
“This one firefighter was about 25 feet behind the other two because he was pulling hose for them,” said LAFD Capt. Laurie Stolp. “And then all of a sudden they just heard a big loud (crash) and the roof caved in, and he ended up on the first floor just surrounded by debris.”
An injured firefighter was pulled from the building and rushed to a local hospital. Officials say he fell from the second floor. Another firefighter who was trying to rescue the injured firefighter was also hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
One firefighter was treated and released from the hospital, and the other will spend the night at the hospital for observation, authorities said.
A short time later, a third firefighter was hospitalized with a non life-threatening injury. Officials say the firefighter was spraying water from a hose from the top of a ladder when the mist was energized by a nearby power line, and it shocked the firefighter.
Video by D. Diaz, R. Contino at CamdenWyomingFire of Sunday’s fire at Hertz on North Dupont Highway. On Sunday we posted pre-arrival video showing a wide shot from Side A that included radio traffic. This has dash-cam video followed by helmet-cam video from Side C. For those, like me, who aren’t fans of music with these videos, it stops after the opening credits.
Here’s some of the description with the video:
Originally dispatched as a Car Fire. Then was upgraded to a working building fire. Arrived on scene with a 2 story commercial building with fire showing from the Charlie side.
The Asbury Park Press and WNBC-TV are both looking at the decisions made in the early stages of the fire that took out four blocks of the boardwalk in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The news reports show that it was Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd and Seaside Park Police Chief Francis Larkin who made the decision to start alerting many neighboring fire companies. The article in the Asbury Park Press by Kristi Funderburk talks to the police chiefs and Seaside Park Fire Chief David Hansen. It is the most extensive look so far at the initial operations. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Here are some excerpts:
“This thing’s going, and we don’t need to lose everything,” (che said over the communication line.
What started as a fire at a single building on a boardwalk, where firefighters have responded to a string of major and minor incidents, had all the right ingredients to flare into a disaster, but Seaside Park Fire Chief David Hansen said that’s always easier to identify later.
“Everybody wants to be the Monday morning quarterback. Everybody,” he said this week. “They were saying this was going to be a boardwalk fire. They should’ve known this. They should’ve done that. At that point, it was one structure.”
It’s 2:20 p.m. on Sept. 12: Assistant Chief Wes Gorman of Seaside Park Fire Station 45 is in command for a potential fire on the boardwalk.
He asks for Jersey Central Power & Light minutes into his arrival.
“Do you want just your station or full response?” the dispatcher asks.
“Just Station 45 at this time,” he says.
This wasn’t a case of underestimating a fire, Hansen said this week, despite some criticisms he has heard. That was three minutes into the incident, and Gorman was still looking for the flames that had been reported.
2:25 p.m. and Seaside Heights’ Station 44 is called to the scene.
“We’re going to need more units, more firefighters,” Boyd tells his police dispatcher at 2:33 p.m. “I don’t want to overstep boundaries but it’s rolling. I’m here with the Chief of Police of Seaside Park and myself. I think you better start hitting out.”
A minute passes.
“Call mutual aid all the way around,” Boyd says. “I just heard Seaside Park call it. I’m going to make the call. We’ve got big problems. I’m going to call the county prosecutor now and advise.”
Seaside Park Police Chief Francis Larkin said this week the two police chiefs jointly made a decision to make that call.
“We had a fully involved fire. We saw the seriousness of it,” he said.
Hansen, who took command within the first 10 minutes, said this week he understands the point of view.
The fire was growing, and strong winds — the only aspect of Thursday’s situation that Hansen thinks might have lessened the ultimate devastation, if they hadn’t kicked up — are sending the fire toward Boyd’s town’s newly rebuilt boardwalk.
But Hansen also stood by Gorman’s approach.
Firefighters, who have the responsibility of calling upon fire resources, have to find the source of the fire so command knows where to direct new units when they respond, Hansen said. They also must control the units coming in because once you put a hose on the street, the trucks can’t move, he said.
“It was all part of a chess game to continually allocate resources on the scene while trying to organize new resources coming it,” Hansen said.
Faulty radios may have slowed the treatment of victims at the Navy Yard shooting.
The Navy’s fire department, civilians who protect naval facilities across the Washington region, were the first to arrive at the Navy Yard to treat the wounded Monday morning after Aaron Alexis opened fire inside Building 197.
But Greg Russell, president of Local F121 of the International Association of Firefighters, says firefighters could not communicate with each other because their digital radios did not work.
He says they actually had to send runners between the command center inside a building and the area where their equipment was staged.
“I believe that the radio problems is a contributing factor to the chaos and delay of prompt medical care to the victims,” says Russell.
He says he can’t say for sure if the faulty radios led to the loss of a life. But it was not the first time the radios have malfunctioned.
“We have been raising this issue for the greater portion of five years. This is not new to the Naval District of Washington,” he says.
The Navy firefighters eventually borrowed radios from the D.C. fire department to get the job done.
The Navy fire department has 250 firefighters in the Washington District spread among 13 fire houses. They protect all naval facilities including the Navy Yard, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the Naval Academy in Annapolis and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Russell says the radios’ Mayday system, which should alert firefighters when one of their own is in trouble, also doesn’t work. And he says the radios eat up batteries at an alarming rate.
The radios are actually borrowed from the Army, which uses them at several facilities including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
In response to an inquiry from WTOP about the faulty radios, the Navy issued the following written statement:
“At this time the Naval District Washington focus remains on healing as a Navy family and transitioning to normal operations at the Washington Navy Yard. The Secretary of the Navy has ordered a review of physical security and we will support it fully. Our biggest concern is our Navy Family.”
On Thursday, the union representing civilian police officers at the Navy Yard complained about being under-staffed because of budget cuts, which slowed their agency’s response to the shootings.
We’ve got more details after explosive accusations suggest lives could have been spared at the Navy Yard shooting if the first rescuers inside were able to communicate.
We are specifically referring to the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire and EMS Department and reports that their emergency radios failed them during the Navy Yard shooting incident.
“I would say there is a great likelihood that more lives could have been saved ,” said Gregory Russell with the National Capital Federal Firefighters. He is the president of the National Capital Federal Firefighters Union. He is also a fire inspector with the U.S. Naval District of Washington Fire, and EMS Department. That’s the same department responsible for fire and EMS services at the Navy Yard.
“They were there almost instantly after the call was put out.”
And just as fast he says, the troubles in communication among Navy firefighters began. He says the radio’s provided to them by the navy failed.
“Immediately upon their arrival they were experiencing radio problems. they were not receiveing and not able to transmit messages to other emergency responders”
He tells us a batallion chief who was the first inside building 197 was trying to report details from inside the shooting scene and set up triage, but couldn’t.
“This required the use of a runner. We had to assign a fire captain as a chiefs aide…he would have to go all the way outside of the building to transmit.”
The president of this union says he is so fed up with the problem that he is drafting a letter calling for the resignation of all those who had anything to do with the purchase and deployment of these radios.
We asked the union president if there were documents reporting the radio failures. He was able to provide reports from 2010, 2012, and one report from january 2013.
“These poorly functioning radios contributed to the chaos,” he said.
WUSA9 reached out to the Regional Fire Chief C.P. Miedzinski by phone. He refused to comment on the matter saying they would e-mail statement to us, but we never received that.
Above is the DC Fire & EMS Department radio traffic from yesterday’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard posted to YouTube by firefighterdispatch (originally from Broadcastify.com). It begins at approximately 8:35 AM (ET), about 20 minutes after the shootings started.
The deadly attack at the Washington Navy Yard was carried out by one of the military’s own: a defense contract employee and former Navy reservist who used a valid pass to get onto the installation and started firing inside a building, killing 12 people before he was slain in a gun battle with police.
The motive for the mass shooting – the deadliest on a military installation in the U.S. since the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 – was a mystery, investigators said. But a profile of the lone gunman, a 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, was coming into focus. He was described as a Buddhist who had also had flares of rage, complained about the Navy and being a victim of discrimination and had several run-ins with law enforcement, including two shootings.
Monday’s onslaught at a single building at the highly secure Navy Yard unfolded about 8:20 a.m. in the heart of the nation’s capital, less than four miles from the White House and two miles from the Capitol.
It put all of Washington on edge. Mayor Vincent Gray said there was no indication it was a terrorist attack, but he added that the possibility had not been ruled out.
“This is a horrific tragedy,” he said.
Alexis carried three weapons: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun that he took from a police officer at the scene, according to two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. The AR-15 is the same type of rifle used in last year’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that killed 20 students and six women. The weapon was also used in the shooting at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 and wounded 70.
For much of the day, authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-style uniform. But by late Monday night, they said they were convinced the shooting was the work of a lone gunman, and the lockdown around the area was eased.
“We do now feel comfortable that we have the single and sole person responsible for the loss of life inside the base today,” Washington police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
President Barack Obama lamented yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American “patriots.” He promised to make sure “whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”
The FBI took charge of the investigation.
Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI’s field office in Washington, said Alexis had access to the Navy Yard as a defense contractor and used a valid pass.
The Washington Navy Yard is a sprawling, 41-acre labyrinth of buildings and streets protected by armed guards and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs at doors and gates. More than 18,000 people work there.
The rampage took place at Building 197, the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships and submarines. About 3,000 people work at headquarters, many of them civilians.
Witnesses on Monday described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people on the main floor, which includes a glass-walled cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.
As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded the streets, a helicopter hovered, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.
We started to post this helmet-cam video by Erik Couse yesterday, but it had gone private. It is now back up and it shows Tuesday’s multi-alarm apartment building fire in Montgomery County, Maryland that left 10 people, three of them firefighters, with non-life threatening injuries. Here’s the description with the video:
Third due engine as the Rapid Intervention Company. 7 rescues by Battalion 1 units made via ground ladders upon our arrival.
The fire, which was caused by a malfunctioning electrical socket, sent 10 residents to the hospital with minor injuries. It started just before 3:45 Tuesday and took firefighters more than 2 1/2 hours to get under control.
More than 100 residents of the Forest Park Apartments building at Piney Branch Road near New Hampshire Avenue were displaced by the fire. Many residents had to be rescued from third and fourth floor apartments.
At the Long Branch Community Recreation Center, 12 people displaced by the blaze spent the night and met with county officials about their options. Financial and housing specialists were on hand to determine if any of the residents qualified for food stamps or medical assistance.
Several of the people displaced lost more than possessions; a handful of displaced residents at the recreation center lacked medical necessities including medicine and inhalers.
The fire did about $1.5 million in damage to the building and its contents.
This a wild video sh0wing citizens taking the matter into there own hands before the arrival of what appears to Bomberos en Cali, Colombia Some people pull out a fire hose from a building across the street and eventually get some water running through it.
The translation of the description indicates one person died and the fire started due to a candle.
A two-alarm blaze in Newark’s West Ward caused severe damage to a city home and left two firefighters hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.
The fire ripped through a two-story home in the 100 block of Vermont Avenue shortly before 5 p.m., according to Capt. John Brown, a spokesman for the city’s fire department. Six people were home at the time, but escaped unharmed, Brown said.
Fifty-five firefighters were called to the scene, where they battled the blaze for nearly an hour, Brown said. One firefighter suffered second-degree burns to his hands, face and ears, and another had to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to Brown.
Amateur video surfaced on CNN Sunday showing Asiana Airlines Flight 214 approaching the runway and striking what appears to be a seawall before rotating counterclockwise and coming to a stop. Fred Hayes said he shot the video about a mile from the crash scene.
“We were expecting a lot of burns,” said Dr. Margaret Knudson, San Francisco General Hospital’s chief of surgery. “But we didn’t see them.”
At San Francisco General, 19 survivors remained hospitalized, six of them in critical condition.
The cockpit voice recorder of Asiana Flight 214 reveal the pilots called to initiate a “go-around” at another landing 1.5 second before impact, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters on Sunday.
“There is no discussion of any aircraft anomalies or concerns with the approach,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters Sunday, providing an update on Saturday’s plane crash. She said a call from a crew member to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds before impact.
My friend Gerald Baron is very good at figuring out what new things mean and the impact on those in emergency management. We’ve been living with “nano news” for a while but probably didn’t realize what it was. Essentially it’s instant news without the editing, processing and context that journalists traditionally provided. Or, as Gerald has written, “realtime information sharing from the source–from the scene, the front-lines or by real time sharing of police scanners and the like”. The aps and websites broadcasting public safety radio traffic that we’ve become familiar with are part of what fuels “nano news”.
What bothers me greatly is that too often these days during breaking news coverage, traditional news media puts unconfirmed scanner information and other unconfimed reports (AKA rumors) on the air and/or on the web. We once counted on reporting by these organizations to be an important source of reliable information. With many of the mistakes made during the Boston Marathon news coverage and other significant events in recent years, some of the major news organizations are becoming no more valuable as a source of reliable information than the neighborhood gossip on Facebook or Twitter. More reason an “official” flow of information on social media platforms needs to be established in the very early stages of an incident.
As the Boston Marathon bombings proved, “nano news” can have a direct impact on the management of an incident. Here’s Gerald’s view as orginally posted in his blog Crisisblogger (a site you will want to read regularly).
In a recent keynote presentation I made to an emergency management conference and in a post on Crisis Comm over at emergencymgmt.com I used the term “nano news.” Since it has been referenced lately by others I thought some further thoughts here might be worthwhile.
Webster defines “news” as ” a report of recent events.” “Nano” is one billionth of a second. Nano has come to refer to anything very small. So what is very small news?
In the Boston bombing manhunt one new feature of reporting news came to the wider public attention. This was the quite wide-spread use of police scanner apps, websites like “broadcastify” and linking police scanners to the internet through Ustream. What all of these methods do is the same: they capture the realtime police communications as the responders are doing their job. In this case, hunting down and capturing the remaining suspect in the Marathon bombing.
News media using police scanners to gather information is nothing new. And of course, there are those, some might call them geeks, who make a hobby of listening in on police radios. What is new is the use of the internet and social media such as Reddit, 4chan and Ustream to share that real time police activity with the rest of the world. This is a game changer in several respects.
One, it takes “instant news” to a whole new level. This is getting as close as it seems possible to being one of the eyewitnesses on the scene, except you can be on the other side of the globe. How do you get faster than instant? Nano, I guess.
Second, it is “small news.” It comes in the tiniest bits and pieces. For example, the Redditor who was following a police scanner app reported during his or her continual stream of reports from the police scanner that “we have movement, arm is moving.” This was one of the first indications to the police and simultaneously to the world that the suspect was alive under the tarp covering the boat. A tiny bit of information, but yet so significant to those “on the scene” eagerly watching events unfold.
Third, it is fully unfiltered, unchecked and unreliable. It’s long been said that the first reports about almost anything are bound to be wrong. But when those first reports are not about what HAS happened, but what IS happening, it seems almost more certain they will be wrong. We saw that to tragic effect in the Boston situation, where a police scanner referencing the name of a possible suspect was picked up and distributed widely throughout the internet. One women’s organization with 300,000 Facebook likes put that name out and apologized when it turned out to be a missing student who was found dead a few days later. The apology included the explanation “I’m not a journalist,” as if that excused the distribution of a false report to hundreds of thousands. What the new “nano news” reporters seem to not understand is that they are “journalists” or “broadcasters” in the sense that what they say can and often is distributed to thousands or even millions and they bear some responsibility when the false information ends up impacting response activity or the lives of those involved.
Fourth, related to the above, information true and false can be harmful. It can hurt police or response operations. It can compromise public safety. It can cause untold damage to reputations and cause extreme emotional pain. Because of this, no doubt the emergence of “nano news” will prompt the further use of encrypted radios, but I would guess may also spur legislation. Legislation is often a recourse when people act irresponsibly and most “5-0 Scan kids” as I call them (after the popular app 5-0 Scan) would not consider it irresponsible to simply relay what is on the police scanner. But it can be and often is. When they use their computer to live video a police scanner and share that on Ustream they would not think of the harm they could be causing. But they should.
We have left an era of “processed news.” That is information that is gathered, vetted, verified, compressed, packaged and distributed to a waiting audience. The audience has become the broadcaster and those charged with vetting, approving and packaging are struggling mightily to figure out how to be responsible when they can’t possibly beat the police scanners or the on-the-scene eyewitnesses sharing what they observe on Twitter. As they get closer to nano news themselves, mistakes with potentially huge consequences are inevitable. But, when it is desperately important to us, we can accept those errors are part of the price we pay for getting what we want right now.
A new audit of the D.C Fire Department’s fleet of vehicles shows a critical lack of reserve pumper and ladder trucks with just over half of the ambulances owned by the city available for service.
The audit was ordered by D.C. City Councilman Tommy Wells after FOX 5 revealed the fleet numbers given to the city council last February were false.
After taking weeks to count all of the vehicles in its fleet and determining their readiness the D.C. Fire Department now admits it doesn’t have nearly the ambulances and pumper trucks it claimed to have last February.
City Councilman Tommy Wells says there is money in the budget to purchase new vehicles but he is now more concerned with staffing.
Just before he appeared before the D.C. City Council’s Judiciary Committee last February, Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and his staff told the council it had 398 vehicles in its fleet including 29 ladder trucks, 106 ambulances and 64 pumpers.
Numbers we now know were false.
In a new report obtained by FOX 5 the fire department now admits it has far fewer vehicles with many of them out of service.
In fact an audit now shows the department has available for service:
56 out of 96 ambulances
37 out of 53 pumpers
And 18 out of 26 ladder trucks.
Those numbers concern Tommy Wells.
“I am putting a whole lot of scrutiny on the maintenance and availability of these vehicles, that’s why we got the audit report and i am going to require another audit report as they acquire and fix vehicles and I will stay on this like a laser beam, they must be accountable to the public for the vehicles they have and the vehicles they have been budgeted for”, said wells.
As chairman of the City Council’s Judiciary Committee, Wells points out the fire department has been given 18 million dollars for new equipment but has been slow to spend it.
“This is why I am putting the focus on the fire department right now we need to be assured that we have the vehicles ready and available that we need to keep the city safe”, he said.
An opinion shared by the firefighters union.
“It calls into question our ability to answer calls on a daily basis”, said union Second Vice President Dabney Hudson, “we are coming up on summertime, summers here, we had our first little heat wave the other day, it’s our busy time of the year and we run significantly more calls in the next four to five months”.
Even more concerning for Wells is the fire chief’s re-deployment plan which would put more ambulances on the street during peak afternoon and evening hours.
“They are way behind in hiring paramedics, way behind in hiring the staffing they need and that’s why I am very, very skeptical about the new staffing proposal they have”, said wells.
According to the fire department’s numbers there are currently 17 ambulances in reserve.
A number the union says should be doubled.
On Monday Morning Tommy Wells says he went to the Office of Unified Communications to listen to 911 calls and see the staffing levels for himself.
Wells says, as of 10:30 he was astounded to see only three out of 39 ambulances were available for service and all of them were in northwest.
Ongoing issues with D.C.’s emergency medical staff came to the forefront Monday after a D.C. councilman toured a district 911 call center and discovered that there were only three medical transport units available for the entire city.
Councilman Tommy Wells said in a statement Monday that the three emergency transport units were also located in NW.
This is not to say that there were no other emergency response vehicles working. During Wells’ visit to the call center at the non-peak time 10:30 a.m., 31 units were on a response call or at a hospital while five of the remaining eight ambulances weren’t available for unnamed reasons.
“This is exactly why we must take a long, hard look at the proposed ambulance redeployment plan. The prevailing issues with our Fire and EMS fleet readiness are of grave concern to me, the Council, and the public,” Wells said in a statement.