Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rescue Me

CERT team practicing leveraging and cribbing

Since the motto for the Amherst Community Emergency Response Team team seems to be, "Rescue the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time" I have to wonder what a specialized CERT team might have done if they were aboard that South Korean ferry last week where chaos and a bad decision led to the deplorable deaths of 300, mostly teen-aged high school students.

Last night the team -- and we are becoming a team -- took on the task of search and rescue.  Again the safety of the team comes first, so if the initial sizeup of the situation indicates a building too badly damaged to enter then you simply do not enter.

Even if victims are inside calling for help, the best you can do is try to keep them calm by reassuring them help is on the way. Rushing in where angels fear to tread can do more harm than good, adding to the burden of the professional first responders who are sure to arrive.

Upon entering a light or moderately damaged building CERT members (who always work in teams) leave a chalk mark on the exterior indicating time of entry.  Upon completing the search another notation is left to confirm what they found and that they made it safely out of the building.

CERT members cannot pronounce someone dead, but as part of a triage if all signs indicate death then you simply move on to try to help the living.  The injured need to be removed from unsafe conditions as quickly as possible.

Archimedes once said, "Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth."  Using the principles of a simple lever, large heavy objects can be moved.   Other team members use "cribbing" (wooden blocks) to place under the object to keep it raised off the victim.

Once the injured party is safely removed from the debris the team needs to carry them out of harms way.  A simple blanket carry allows up to six team members to assist, although in this case the load was not all that heavy.

Last night marked the half-way point for the CERT program and the enthusiasm level is still as high as it was on day one.

Instructor Michael Williamson confirmed he will be teaching another 6 week session in the Fall but will be offering a class introduction next Thursday in the UMPD community room.

If you're interested, email him at:  (before disaster strikes!)


Anonymous said...

Great tips. Nice to know people are doing this.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the positive residual effects of 9/11, as well as firefighters finally receiving the respect that they deserve. Richard Marsh

Dr. Ed said...

Even if a victim is inside calling for help, the best you can do is try to keep them calm by reassuring them help is on the way.

Larry, this is one of the things that wants to make me scream -- you absolutely can not have singular and plural in the same sentence!!! Subject and verb must be either both singular or both plural -- it's like being "half pregnant", it's either one way or the other.

As you have mentioned attending Catholic school, I'm guessing you were taught their style of grammar with subject & predicate and the diagramming of sentences -- all that stuff, in any given sentence, must be either singular or plural.

Words like "them" and "their" explicitly state "two or more" of, in this case, victims. These are the plural versions of him/her/it and his/her/its, respectively.)

In the English language, an animate/living thing of unknown gender (e.g. mouse, cat, person -- and note the "son" ending on person) is considered to be male, an inanimate/nonliving thing (e.g. motorcycle, airplane, aircraft carrier)is presumed to be female.

This comes directly from the Latin, a language which has masculine, feminine and neuter cases for absolutely everything. Spanish also comes from Latin and is considerably more explicit (or flagrant) in doing this sort of thing. "El Tren" -- a train is male, "La Casa" -- a house is female, and you are required to use the "El" and "La" to identify them as such.

And you simply can not substitute the plural "they", "them", & "theirs" for "he", "him", and "his"!!!!!!!

When I teach this -- and it's one of about three "Middle-School Grammar" things that graduate students somehow don't know and which I inevitably have to teach -- I first ask my students if it is wrong to teach the Spanish language in K=12 because (as I understand it) it is a language where absolutely everything is either male or female.

If that's not an issue, I ask, then why is this? If you can tolerate the Spanish language having far more egregious aspects than this, and if your intent is to have the reader understand what you are trying to say, why intentionally make errors that serve to only confuse the reader?

My second point is one which the woman who taught me how to write made to me. She had come of age before the Equal Pay Act and her concern was that the university pay her at least as much as they paid her husband, also an English professor at the same university. Equal pay (and equal faculty status), being treated/evaluated/respected on the same basis as a man, was important to her. This stuff she considered foolishness.

And third, you can bypass the whole thing by writing your sentences differently. For example:

"One must remember that the subject and verb must always be 'in agreement', both must be either singular or plural, much as one is either pregnant or not pregnant -- there is no 'halfway' on either."

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I probably should have added that that this isn't just an academic point -- it could lead to tragedy.

Firefighters can count, and if you report "they" or "them" in the context of reporting the one victim you have heard "calling for help", particularly if your report is relayed through multiple people, they well may go back in for the second victim -- that doesn't exist -- and they well may die in the process.

My point is not just academic. Remember, I'm from the ocean -- I'm thinking of real situations where it was damn important for people to understand what you meant.

Anonymous said...

Why do your fotos look like they have been sitting in a drawer for 60 years?

Larry Kelley said...


Or my damn iPhone switched to a filter without telling me.

Dr. Ed said...

Or my damn iPhone switched to a filter without telling me.

Or switched one off.

My guess is that you activated an option to let you record the *actual* colors instead of an image adjusted to reflect what the human eye would see -- the problem being that the overhead lights aren't really white, with the colors being distorted as a result.

Florescent lights not only flash 120 times a second -- an aspect of 60 cycle/hertz AC power and how the lights work, but also aren't white.

They flash too fast for you to notice -- although there is quite a bit of research indicating that this exacerbates aspects of ADHD in children who have it. (Your digital camera somehow automatically adjusts for this and you never know otherwise.)

Furthermore, were you to break apart the light in that room, you'd see spikes in certain wavelengths -- you'd see more of some colors than of others, and possibly more of some specific shades of some colors. My guess is that you'd see a disproportionate representation of the yellows & greens.

As a result of that, everything is going to have a yellowish/greenish hue to it -- which your brain is automatically going to correct for, the same way it told you that the (I presume) yellowish/greenish lights overhead were "white."

You "know" what colors things should be, and you hence "see" what you expect to see. But the camera doesn't lie and unless it is told to adjusts for it, it will see what is really there.

And hence you have (I'm guessing) what is the actual image. The same way that everything you see is actually upside down due to the optics of your eyes -- and your brain just "fixes" that as well.

My guess is that the IPhone has an option to turn off the automatic (default-on) color adjustments because scientists may need to be able to do that -- and knowing Apple, it is entirely possible that this is automatically done as part of something else.

I detested Apple products for a quarter century because in a legitimate attempt to make the machines "user friendly", things are so linked together that in the course of changing one setting to what you want it to be, you inevitably change about 20 other settings to things you absolutely don't want.

Bottom line -- look for options to turn *off* color adjustments -- my guess is that what you did.

Anonymous said...

Ed, have you ever found yourself at a party wondering why everyone who comes in contact with you quickly excuses themselves to refresh their drink, use the bathroom, or just find a red hot needle to stick in their eyes?