Friday, October 02, 2009

Ken Balsley says firemen, cops abandoned posts during an earthquake, firemen shoot back

In this post outlining what he calls a new aristocracy (apparently making sure front line government workers don't get sick during a pandemic is not a good thing) Ken makes this seemingly off-hand reference:
Government was unable to function because its employees had gone home - - fire fighters, police, emergency services, many had left their jobs to check on their families.
Wow, them's fighting words. Took them awhile, but the Lacey fire fighters are fighting back:

Recently, a local publication reported that fire fighters abandoned their posts on that crisp February morning and so did many police officers. I am here to say having worked that day as a fire fighter and remembering it vividly, that none of that crap happened and I am left wondering if the intent was really to discredit us as cops, fire fighters, or emergency workers, or just to add interesting material to the publication. Who cares, bottom line: It never happened.
So, what is the point of discrediting government workers in general, but also firemen in particular? The union that represents Lacey firemen has been particularly engaged this election cycle, but I'm more willing to think that its just Ken being Ken and that he's knocking any sort of government worker, not just firemen. In his world, its just believable that firemen would go home after an earthquake.

But, I'd also let the firemen speak for themselves:

When the Nisqually earthquake hit, our first order after we took cover and waited for the shaking to stop was to roll the apparatus out of our then aging masonry structures in case the aftershocks caused them to fail. As some areas had lost power, it took a few moments to get this done by manually opening doors at some stations. By the time the apparatus had been rolled out, the first off duty responders started coming in. Unlike many areas, many Lacey Fire District #3 employees live in their city of employment. Within 45 minutes, every single apparatus the department owned was staffed or being moved into position to offset response in areas of heavy call volume. This all went down as the City of Olympia had significant areas of road failures, elevator collapse downtown, and people stuck in elevators throughout the Capitol Campus. Lacey also had multiple gas leaks, a trailer fire in the Nisqually Valley and well over 100 calls by 3pm that day including treating sick and injured children from the local schools.

Off duty Lacey Fire District fire fighters, both volunteer and paid, came in as far away as Lewis and Pierce County to respond to calls. NO ONE abandoned their posts that day and to do so would have meant immediate termination with the union demanding it and definitely not defending it.

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