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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
June 3, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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June 3, 2015

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, June 3, 2015 7B Fire department fundrai:00ing season is underway Been to a pancake breakfast ,: at a fire departmentlately? Almost all of our Plumas County fire departments conduct fundraising events   throughout the year, most commonly scheduled from spring to late fall. These INSIDE THE efforts supplement whatever FIREHOUSE regular revenues support the TOM FORSTER fire departments, the Fire Chief majority of which typically Plumas Eureka Fire Department come from taxes. Operating a fire thrift shop operations by department is expensive even auxiliaries, in the Peninsula when the flrefighters are and Eastern Plumas Rural volunteers. Consider the costs fire districts. of a firehouse, insurance, fire Some, like Bucks Lake, trucks, fuel, firefighter solicit online donations and protective clothing and encourage corporate equipment, fire hose, training employees with company materials and fees and matching donations to sign emergency medical up, while Quincy has a large equipment and supplies, annual prize giveaway along Throw in other needs like with two pancake breakfast radio communications events, including the equipment, rescue gear, upcoming Father's Day Fly-In nozzles, ladders, at Gansner Field. maintenance, workers' Most receive some small compensation, physical cash donations from grateful exams, saws, T-shirts, residents or businesses not generators, scene lighting and tied to any event, and many batteries. Breathing have accepted in-kind apparatus? Those can run donations of construction well over $5,000 each with a help or other contributions. spare bottle. How much money is raised? It Young supporters of the Plumas Eureka Fire Department gather with Sparky and Smokey Bear at the Memorial Day weekend The cost of outfitting one varies, of course, but usually firefighter in protective it makes up the equivalent of pancake breakfast. Photo by Sill Robinson clothing is typically $2,500 or from 3 to 10 percent of annual more, including structural budgets. firefighting gear, wildland Most departments also it, but it can be a lot of work Auxiliary -- community gear and emergency medical apply occasionally for grant just to put on a breakfast." members who are not gear such as a jumpsuit, funds, with mixed success. In Graeagle's annual Fourth of firefighters who volunteer Consider the fact that general over the last eight July pancake breakfast is twice a year to lead the volunteer fn'e departments years the total amounts of very successful, and is operations of two fundraising have regular turnover in grant funds and programs combined with clothing sales breakfast events. members and realize that available has been declining, with the fire department This is one of the much of the gear, such as driven by a weak economy logos. This year's event will suggestions to communities coats, shirts, pants and boots, and tight federal and state be held Sunday, July 5, from 8 on a national level to help is individually sized. While budgets. Donations of used to 11 a.m. sustain their fire "hand-me-downs" are an fn:e equipment and even used Nationally, according to departments. The term used option, hoping that new apparatus can be very recent studies by the National now on a national level is fire members will be the same helpful, although these Volunteer Fire Council, the corps, or nonsuppression size as former ones is not donations are usually hard to added time for fundraising volunteers who support their realistic, come by in really good shape, efforts by ffn'efighters on top fire departments in other Whatever regular revenue "We need to keep in mind of time needed for training, ways, such as fundraising. exists is usually not enough that the time our flrefighters maintenance and call Visit for more to cover everything that is spend doing fundraising response can be amajor information on how Plumas Eureka Auxiliary member Bill Grijalva flips pancakes needed, motivating more usually detracts from fn'e factor in why people no communities are getting while members Larry and Renee Walker cook the sausages at fundraising efforts. These prevention, training and longer wish to volunteer. In involved to help their fire the recent Plumas Eureka Fire Department breakfast. Photo by range from Indian taco nights other preparedness efforts," the author's case, I am very departments, even in some Maureen Forster in Sierra Valley to pancake said Ed Ward, president of the appreciative of our fire big cities. Their tag line is breakfasts and shirt sales in Plumas County Fire Chiefs department having the strong "Supporting Fire and EMS your local ffn'e department to might be able to help -- many areas including,: for  ' Association, and Graeagle :. support 0fthe Plumas Eu-reka: Services through Community learn about fundraising thanks for anything you can example, La Porte, trod 5 .... fire chief. "We all need to do Commity Services District Involvement." Please contact events and other ways you do. HAZARDOUS, from page 6B contaminate zone affected. The need for a local hazmat team cannot be overemphasized. The following crude-by-rail disasters summarized in this grand jury report illustrate some of the potential circumstances other public safety agencies have had to deal with. Despite all the mandated safeguards dealing with hazardous material hauling, i.e., safe speeds, upgraded rail cars, railcar and track inspections, specialized training, etc., accidents can happen anytime and anywhere within transportation routes of hazardous materials. Plumas County and the surrounding 12 counties in northeastern California lie within Region 3 of the State Emergency Services System. At the time of this report, Plumas County has no hazmat team. Upon any need for hazmat response, Plumas County must contact nearby Butte or Shasta teams. In more serious incidents, Plumas County would have to enlist state or federal emergency service agencies. Lac-Megantic, Canada: In July 2013 a train carrying 72 tank cars full of crude oil exploded after the train braking system released, sending the unmanned train on a downhill run into the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The runaway train crashed into a crowded downtown pub, killing 47 people and destroying over 30 buildings. According to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation, the train had been idling and unmanned for over seven hours and the emergency braking system disengaged. The train then rolled down the tracks for several miles, picking up speed and eventually derailing into downtown Lac-Megantic. Of the four disaster crude-by.rail spills mentioned in this report, the results from the official investigation determined that sheer neglect (train left running and unattended and braking system released, causing a runaway unmanned train) was the primary factor in the disaster. Alieeville, Alabama: A 90-car train carrying Bakken crude derailed in November 2013 and exploded. Nearly 750,000 gallons of its 2 million gallon load spilled in wetlands in Alabama. Officials still assail cleanup operations today and report that containment booms and absorbent products were ineffective. Lynchburg, Virginia: In April 2014 a CSX train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the James River. Oil fn'es from the ruptured tanker cars burned for two days. Reports indicate that the tanker cars were all the new CPC-1232 model. Casselton, North Dakota: In December 2013 a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train hauling grain derailed and fell across another set of tracks. Shortly after, a crude oil train heading in the opposite direction struck the derailed cars and derailed itself. Several tanker cars exploded. A slow response to the first incident set up the chain of events for the explosive second incident, Montgomery, West Virginia: In February 2015 a train carrying crude oil in West Virginia derailed sending 27 tanker cars offthe tracks. Twelve of those rail cars exploded, not at once, but randomly for up to 12 hours. The cause is still under investigation. In the event of a local hazardous material disaster, the Plumas County Office of Emergency Services is notified and it determines the scope and magnitude of the incident and then contacts the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. Depending on the incident assessment of the Plumas County OES, the BOS has the authority to officially declare an emergency, which allows the Plumas County OES to request help from relevant local, state and federal agencies. Through leadership and partnership with all first responders, each incident goes through a foundational process that includes prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The first three steps of the mitigation process rely on the safe containment of the hazardous material as quickly as possible with a special focus on protecting human life (isolate, deny entry, protect life safely, mitigate). The recovery phase, however, can last for years. The Dunsmuir toxic spill, for example, seriously impacted the area for several years after. At the time of this report, the crude-by-rail spills were all still in the recovery phase. Fortunately, the Plumas County corn derailment had a minimal effect on the environment. The first three phases of emergency services mitigation at the corn spill served as a great training exercise for all agencies and fn:st responders involved. Recovery, in this case, was at a minimum in terms of environmental impact. In regard to Plumas County hazmat, the grand jury has learned that the county must rely on local volunteers to devote their time as first responders. Plumas County has had a difficult time finding enough volunteers to cover the entire county, and retaining volunteers after hazmat certification and specialized training has not worked out. All the local fire districts within Plumas County have been actively seeking volunteers. FINDINGS F1) The grand jury fmds that communication between Plumas County public safety agencies and railroad officials is profoundly inadequate. F2) The grand jury fmds that the lack of spill and containment equipment along rail routes in Plumas County poses a direct threat to public safety and the natural environment. F3) The grand jury fmds that relying on hazmat response teams from surrounding counties compromises response times and threatens Plumas County public safety and natural resources. F4) The grand jury f'mds that the lack of training of In:st responders concerning hazardous materials that they may have to deal with could have profound consequences. F5) The grand jury finds that population centers within Plumas County that are in close proximity to railroads have grossly inadequate protection resources. RECOMMENDATIONS R1) The grand jury recommends Plumas County Emergency Services and the Plumas County Environment Health Agency establish direct local contact with Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe and any hazardous material carrier that operates within the county. R2) The grand jury recommends that Plumas County negotiate with railroad officials to have spill containment booms and absorbent kits in key strategic storage facilities in Plumas County. R3) The grand jury recommends that the BOS find the means to provide hazmat training and certification to in-county first responders. R4) The grand jury recommends more hazardous material training between first responders and all those involved in mitigating hazardous material disasters. Union Pacific, for example, offers tank car safety training in Roseville at the California Office of Emergency Services Specialized Training Institute every year. The training involves practically all aspects of hazardous material incident mitigation. R5) The grand jury recommends that the BOS and Plumas County OES conduct a "what-if' evaluation for population centers within Plumas County that are within potential "blast zones" of crude-by-rail tanker cars. "Maggie" Lpso cross. She is 1 year old, spayed and current on shots. She needs "Sasha" is a 2 year old Siberian Husky. a fenced yard as she likes chasing Deer. She is not spayed, sweet and full of She weighs about 30 Ibs. energy. 1 Our office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8am-5pm. Saturday viewing is by appointment only. Office hours are subject to change due to staff'mg; calling prior to visiting shelter is recommended. 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