Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I was at the Quakes minor league game (we wiped the floor with San Jose, 9 to 0), and a cop was wearing a t-shirt that said, "God invented cops, so that firemen could have heroes."
Okay, well let's not get into that perennial dick waving contest.  Truth be told, they both have the hardest job in the world.  Cops have to see the worst of human behavior, like parents who beat their own little boy to death, after burning him with cigarettes, while firemen have to do CPR on homeless people who haven't had a bath in 6 months. 
Usually, my group trains the cops in anti-terrorism stuff; but this week we trained the firemen.  We helped them with urban search and rescue, by setting up a scenario where there are multiple radioactive hot spots, while they search for, and rescue people after  major disaster e.g. an earthquake.

The main point of our being there was to make them comfortable with their radiation detection equipment, and to feel comfortable in a radioactive environment, while rescuing the severely wounded. They had student firefighters (I keep saying "firemen" but there were 3 female fire cadets) who lay inside various "collapsed structures", and the urban search and rescue guys practiced using snake cameras (fiber optic scopes) and cutting through thick, hardened concrete, to get to them. 
They also have a car from one of our local train wrecks.  Scary thought for the day: I have ridden to work on the car, above.  So, we didn't put any radioactive sources inside the train, because that shouldn't happen in real life (but you could have a patient who just had a scan at the hospital, and is still radioactive.  This is what caused the embarrassment in Chicago earlier this year.)

They said we could go inside Car 623. 
I walked up to the door, and started to climb inside.  Vertigo instantly attacked, as soon as I was inside the train.  I couldn't believe it.  Apparently, the conflict between my eyeballs and my inner ear was too much.  It's really weird, and very real.  I think the 45 degree angle made it so hard.  If the car was on its side, or upside down, it would have been confusing, but not as hard as it was for us to try to walk through.  We couldn't walk the length of the car.  We had to grasp like drunkards at whatever we could, and climb back out.

Note to self: write a blog post about Japanese Americans and their public service.  Pretty amazing that after having their houses, businesses, and other property seized during World War II, Japanese Americans continued to buy into the American Dream, and serve the public. 

No comments: