We are not Oz.

okay, it’s beautiful here and the people are wonderful, friendly, hella-nice.  But sometimes the air stinks and the emergency responders, who are charged with protecting us, don’t do their jobs to stop the air pollution from harming us.  And sometimes we get sick and need emergency healthcare, and those in charge have gamed the system so that sometimes we won’t be able get the best care right away but they will be able to rake in the top-dollar for those pricey medical events. Who are they? Why are they doing this to us?  And how can we change our little corner of the world so that it best serves our community today and in the future? …

For starters, let’s identify and call out onto the mat the wo/men behind the curtain that are supposed to be optimizing their decisions for our benefit but are instead ensuring their own careers, positions, and personal incomes at very real risk to our quality of life, health, and longevity.

We started in 2009 calling the Alameda Fire Department’s (AFD) leadership onto the mat for their abject failures mishandling the FISC fire which contaminated countless residents and island visitors who inhaled friable asbestos fibers and other toxins, and contaminated our land and waters.

We continued in 2010 when we discovered the bizarre variance in the City of Alameda to county emergency medical services protocols that require stroke victims be taken to Alameda Hospital—a 100% complete contradiction to sound medical science and something that statistics indicate has a significant probability to cause stroke victims to unnecessarily sustain more brain damage than they if taken directly to Alta Bates or Eden stroke centers.  Who in charge thinks this makes sense? It starts at the hospital but goes all the way to the County Superintendents who had to have approved this policy change for the County EMS.  We’re on it. Stay tuned to stay updated and informed!

And just this last week, we pushed the AFD to respond more urgently to that pervasive nasty smell in the air  on Thursday evening, November 4th.  What was that smell? The AFD told us it was black oil, an unregulated substance, that was being transferred from one barge to another at the FISC site, and that it looked like they had the right equipment to do so.   We didn’t quite believe them and escalated our alarm to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the US Coast Guard (USCG), and the National Response Center (NRC).  And guess what?  The ONLY thing the AFD got right was that it was a transfer of a liquid from one barge to another.

The facts: The barges had piss-poor equipment in crap condition that was leaking, the substance was crude oil that is a controlled substance, Marine Starlight was supposed to have a permit from BAAQMD to do this kind of transfer and they did not, the AFD should have been able to assess this, react urgently to an illicit activity that was putting Alameda residents’ health at risk, and insist on BAAQMD’s immediate onsite presence and monitoring, air samples, and so forth. We probably should have had a ‘shelter in place’ order put on us from the AFD.

Yet again, the AFD fails to protect us by failing to take our dozens of calls into them seriously, and failing to bring in the regional agencies who can test the air and water and advise what protection orders are appropriate.  Honestly. What the?!?!?!?  We had thought that after the ruckus we raised about the FISC failures, that the AFD would actually think it was incumbent upon themselves to do their damn jobs.  This is not over.

Alameda firefighters: you think you can mess with our health like this?  Think again. GAME ON.


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

One response to “We are not Oz.

  • zizzlah

    Hi Denise. I like your shiny new blog! and, i continue to get callbacks from BAAQMD, and the Fish and Game warden about the crude oil spill that Zombeck failed to properly identify and protect us from. He was also the AFD incident commander for the FISC fire, so this is his second toxic failure. I suggest we tie him to a fire engine and force him to sniff gas fumes for several hours.

    Just kidding.

    Well, no I’m not kidding. Because our firefighters dont’ live here, a fact they never fail to remind us about, they don’t have any skin in the game. If they were well-trained and professional rather than overweight and out-of-shape, I imagine that wouldn’t matter much.

    Gee – I sound kind of angry, don’t I?

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