JRS VOLUME #13; ISSUE #31
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 13, Issue #31: HEALTH & SAFETY EDITION
August 12, 2009
HEALTH AND SAFETY:
+ BEING TAKEN FOR A (HELICOPTER) RIDE
+ DR LASER LOVE
+ EMERGENCY CONTACT ON-PLAYA FAQ
+ I GOT STRANDED AT A RENO HOSPITAL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS BACKLESS GOWN
+ HEALTH AND SAFETY FAQ
+ ADOPT-AN-INTERSECTION IN BLACK ROCK CITY
+ FREQUENCY COORDINATION: ARE YOU USING TWO-WAY RADIOS ON THE PLAYA?
+ "911" SERVICE IN BLACK ROCK CITY
+ JOIN US IN B.E.D. AND THE B.E.D. THEME CAMP CHALLENGE
+ GIFTING FOOD? GET A PERMIT FROM THE BUREAU OF HEALTH PROTECTION SERVICES
+ FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES
+ HEALTH AND SAFETY SECTION AT BURNINGMAN.COM
+ MORE SAFETY OR EMERGENCY QUESTIONS?
CONNECT WITH BURNING MAN:
+ Burning Man on your favorite social networks
Burning Man has one of the most impressive and sophisticated Emergency Service Departments anywhere. *Anywhere*, people. And despite all the hard work that's gone into making them JUST THAT GOOD, we (ironically) don't want you to EVER see them. Ultimately, your personal health and safety while in Black Rock City is YOUR responsibility. Of course, if by chance you have an unavoidable accident on playa, we're there for ya. But let's avoid that, shall we?
Many of the visits to the REMSA tent are PERFECTLY AVOIDABLE by taking care of yourself ... staying hydrated, watching out for exposed rebar stakes, *covering* said rebar, lighting your bike -- simple stuff like that. And having a basic First Aid kit in your camp, and the skills to use it, well, that's good ol' self-reliance. For a great reading list along those lines, visit the Health and Safety section of the Burning Man website:
The head of our Emergency Services Department (start your genuflections ... now), Joseph Pred, has compiled the following collection of information, resources and advice about health and safety at the event to help you with your planning. It's only your HEALTH ... the least you could do is read it, right? Right.
BEING TAKEN FOR A (HELICOPTER) RIDE
The most expensive ride on the playa is the one you never want to take: an emergency medical helicopter transport to one of the Reno hospitals. Even if you have insurance it still might leave you with a bill for several thousand dollars that your insurance won't cover. Of course it is considerably worse if you have no insurance at all since medically necessary air transport typically costs in the $10,000- $20,000 range.
Every year, it seems, we hear a story or two of a Burner who gets airlifted off playa only to practically need to be resuscitated when they receive their bill. After careful consideration we have decided to share information about the Flight Plan Membership that Care Flight offers to help offset the cost of such an emergency.
Given that only a few dozen get airlifted every year, your chances are good that you'll never need it. But if you have a complicated pre- existing condition or just want to have the extra coverage "just in case" it is worth considering, especially since the program covers your entire family for $55/year and also applies to other air medical services in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming. Non- Nevada residents are eligible for this program. See their web site for all the details and fine print:
DR LASER LOVE
...or how I learned to play with lasers safely.
Yes, we all love us some lasers on the playa, but before you fire up your light show, please do some basic homework to ensure you are safe. Lasers are by no means toys and they can cause blindness, fires and other problems if set up improperly or if the incorrect equipment is used. Remember to install the lasers in such a way that they point above eye level, as the beam can temporarily or permanently blind people.
Get ready by checking out some on-line laser safety resources: On-line Courses: http://bit.ly/bEA0k Laser Light Show Safety: http://bit.ly/xi7h8 Informative: http://bit.ly/13BLjK Regulatory: http://bit.ly/Yt6zY
If you are going to have a laser set up on-playa and no one in your camp is a laser professional consider these tips:
* Use the lowest power laser that will effectively work for your needs
and use it at the lowest power settings to accomplish your effect.
* Treat laser operations as a serious safety matter.
* Ensure all operators are sober.
* Designate a laser safety officer to make sure your lasers are being operated safely.
* If your laser operates automatically or without an operator, having a laser safety officer monitoring the system is just as important to ensure nothing goes wrong with its safe operation.
If you have related non-technical questions about the use of lasers at Burning Man, please direct them to:
EMERGENCY CONTACT ON-PLAYA FAQ
Q: Where should I go to check for emergency messages that might be
waiting for me?
A: The only place on-playa that serves as a central collection point for emergency messages is Playa Info. While the Rangers, ESD, REMSA or Law Enforcement *may* have the relevant information only Playa Info serves as the clearinghouse for all such messages.
Q: What if friends or family at home need to reach me for an emergency?
A: Unfortunately, given the nature of the event, finding a participant on the playa is usually quite challenging. Cell phones don't work and people don't generally have satellite phones. There is but limited Internet access. Now add the fact that addresses on the playa are inexact even if you _do_ know where you're camping ahead of time and finding a person's camp can become very difficult. Preparation will help you stay in touch in an emergency.
Q: How can friends or family send me a message?
A: Emergency messages should be sent via http://911.burningman.com/ . The message will be passed to the Black Rock Rangers who, if they have the extra resources, will attempt to deliver it. We will also make the message available at Playa Info in Center Camp, so if you're awaiting bad news or anticipating emergency messages, you might want to plan to check in there each day.
Q: What details should be included in an emergency message?
A: The message should include first and last name as well as any known nickname that you might go by around camp. It should also include the name of your theme camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.), and its location if known, along with your vehicle make/license plate and any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, "camp has a 20 foot inflatable duck," etc.)
Q: What can prevent me from getting the message?
A: Just a few of the variables that can get in the way: your camp relocates, or nobody's ever in camp when we come to find you; your camp spot is obscured from view by other camps; the 20 foot inflatable duck deflates due to a leak; there are three camps with 20-foot inflatable ducks, and none of the neighbors know anyone named "Chris" because you have been introducing yourself all week as "Captain Underpants, Lord of the Duck People!" You get the picture.
In other words, you're heading to the middle of the desert, and there is no guarantee that we'll be able to deliver a message in an emergency; it's important to weigh that before you leave home. If you are awaiting news, you can actively check in at Playa Info, and in truly dire circumstances, you can take the bus into Gerlach to use the pay phone, cellular coverage, or free wifi coverage there.
I GOT STRANDED AT A RENO HOSPITAL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS BACKLESS GOWN
So you wake up and you realize you are in a hospital bed. Then you remember that you didn't put any money or your mobile phone in the pockets of your fun fur outfit you wore out to the party by the trash fence. Worse yet, now you are being told you are going to be discharged in 24 hours. How do you get back to the playa?
Your friends on the playa of course! But how to get a message to them? Simply call (866) 580-5350 and follow the instructions to leave a message. Instantly your message gets transmitted to Playa Info, the Rangers, Emergency Services and the Gerlach Burning Man office. If anyone contacts us looking for you at any of these places, we'll be able to relay a message to the parties looking for you so they can send a rescue party to pick up you (and more beer) in Reno.
Please note, if you have access to email please contact us that way instead of via a voice mail as we have no easy way of calling you back at the hospital, especially if they discharge you.
LOOKING FOR SOMEONE MISSING ON PLAYA?
The only place on-playa that serves as a central collection point for emergency messages is Playa Info. While the Rangers, ESD, REMSA or Law Enforcement *may* have the relevant information only Playa Info serves as the clearinghouse for all such messages.
HEALTH AND SAFETY FAQ
Q: What do I do if I get hurt or sick on the playa?
A: We hope, of course, that you won't get sick or hurt...but being radically self-reliant also means remembering to bring a first aid kit (http://bit.ly/Afd8M) and treating yourself or your campmates for minor first aid needs. Should your illness or injury be more severe than you can manage without help, there are Emergency Services Department (ESD) medical stations on the 3:00 and 9:00 plazas and at Center Camp. Look for the LED red cross on top of the buildings. These stations are staffed by emergency health providers (doctors, nurses, medics, etc.) and most donate their time and medical expertise as their gift to the community.
Q: What if they can't manage my problem?
A: If the on-site medical providers feel that you have a medical emergency that requires a higher level of care than can be provided on the playa, you may need to visit a hospital in Reno. Depending on the seriousness of your condition, that can be accomplished by either getting a ride from a friend or being transported by an ambulance or helicopter. Remember to bring your ID, insurance card, cell phone and wallet when you go so you can take care of yourself accordingly. Also note that if you get transported by ambulance or helicopter you'll need to arrange for a friend to pick you up after your hospital visit. There are no shuttles from the hospitals back to the playa.
Q: Is there a clinic in Gerlach?
A: The Gerlach Medical Center http://bit.ly/XMdC is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 8 AM - 1 PM and 1:45 PM - 6:15 PM. This small family medicine clinic offers limited urgent care, laboratory, x- ray, and women's health services.
Q: Does the Gerlach Medical Center accept Insurance?
A: The Medical Center welcomes most private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, as well as several Nevada programs. A sliding fee schedule for low-income patients who do not have insurance is available. Identification and income information is needed to enroll in the sliding fee program.
Q: Where can I get a prescription filled?
A: It's best to bring adequate supplies that you need to the playa. Should you need to get a prescription refilled, though, often the closest pharmacies are in Fernley or Reno.
ADOPT-AN-INTERSECTION IN BLACK ROCK CITY
Unfortunately people like to steal the street signs from BRC on their way out of the event. While this may be a cool souvenir for some it causes havoc for the medical teams, fire trucks, Black Rock Rangers and other resources by making it difficult to find the location of those who need help in an emergency.
We'd really implore everyone, as a best-case scenario, to leave the street signs where they are on your way out of the city. Obviously most people are not guilty of stealing street signs, but there will always be those that persist... so we are asking some of you wonderful and awesome burners to help by adopting an intersection.
A simple way to help everyone...
The idea was inspired a few years ago when participants spontaneously improvised street signs to make it possible to navigate the city in absence of the originals. Using some cardboard, a marker, and some duct tape it's possible to make a legible replacement with just a little effort, if you find a sign that's missing. It will not only help all the emergency responders but it will also be of great help to your fellow citizens of Black Rock City. It's a small thing that makes a big difference to everyone.
FREQUENCY COORDINATION: ARE YOU USING TWO-WAY RADIOS ON THE PLAYA?
Are you planning on using two-way radio for any reason (greater than 5 watts) on the playa? The Emergency Services Department coordinates spectrum and systems to alleviate and proactively avoid interference between various projects on-playa and the Burning Man radio infrastructure.
Please note that in general, we do not coordinate AM or FM broadcast radio, WiFi, HAM, FRS (aka Talkabouts), GMRS, BRS, CB, or RC bands. However if you are planning a high power radio application in any of these bands please let us know so we can isolate the signal in the RF noise floor in case of interference.
Please contact ESD Communications at http://911.burningman.com/ if you have questions or to register your frequency request.
"911" SERVICE IN BLACK ROCK CITY
If you heard a rumor that there is cellular phone coverage in Gerlach, your source would be right. If you have Nextel, AT&T or Verizon service, you'll be able to call 911 in case you need to report an emergency along parts of State Route 447, Gerlach or State Route 34.
On the very off chance you have a powerful enough phone to get a signal out in Black Rock City please do not call 911 for problems within the event site. The dispatch center you would eventually reach doesn't manage the available resources on playa. It is far faster to flag down a Ranger or send someone to fetch help at a Ranger Outpost or ESD Station. That said, there is a way to directly call for help wirelessly since ESD monitors a designated emergency channel on the license-free MURS (Multi User Radio Service) radio band.
MURS is a service similar to FRS (the frequencies that Motorola Talkabouts and similar radios use). As on-playa users can tell you, FRS is extremely overcrowded and in use by thousands of participants during the event. FRS radios are also not powerful enough to effectively communicate throughout Black Rock City. MURS, in contrast, is currently not in common usage and legally can operate at a higher power so it can communicate across the entire playa.
We hope that reserving this "911" channel before MURS use becomes widespread at Burning Man will set the expectation that this channel will be for emergency use only. You will need to purchase your own MURS radio to contact ESD 911, but the other four MURS channels can also be just like FRS radios for other purposes. Large camps or villages might also choose to make one part of their group planning efforts and store it in a public place for emergency use.
Why do I want one of these when my FRS radio works just fine?
* If you're part of a large theme camp it could be a good investment to have a MURS radio around to call 911 for your group, especially if you have members who have known health issues or the risk of injury is of special concern.
* Large art projects working out on the open playa will be able to get help faster.
* Camps that are on the outer-rings of the city and are far from a Ranger outpost or Emergency Services station don't have to send runners for help when an emergency arises.
* The other 4 channels on MURS can be a great alternative to crowded FRS channels, especially if your camp has an art-car or event-wide project they want to coordinate.
* Emergency Services Dispatch cannot be reached on an FRS radio.
Calling 911 on a MURS radio:
Set your MURS radio to channel 5 (154.600 MHz, CTCSS/PL 97.4) to reach the Black Rock City Emergency Services Dispatch. Each brand has its own labeling system so please refer to your user manual to see how CTCSS /PL 97.4 is labeled. Common labels are: Code 11, 12, ZB, C, or C05. Using any other "privacy codes" on channel 5 will interfere with 911. Instead limit your personal use to channels 1-4.
FOR ALL MURS USERS: we ask that all Burning Man participants respect that channel 5 will be used as a 911 channel only. While the other channels are fine for use as an alternative to FRS we want to stress that channel 5 on MURS please be kept open for emergencies and not used for any other purpose.
An example of a compatible radio: Dakota Alert MURS portable (operational controls just like common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $89
If you have further questions or need help in finding a source for radios, please contact us for more information at:
JOIN US IN B.E.D. AND THE B.E.D. THEME CAMP CHALLENGE
The B.E.D. folks write:
"The Bureau of Erotic Discourse is seeking B.E.D. Buddies ... come peek under our sheets!
Remember the signs in the porto-potties last year talking about preventing sexual assault? That was us! Remember the 'Clarity and Consent' workshop last year? That was us too! Maybe you got a sassy button from us talking about how 'No Means No'? Great news! We're back with our sex-positive message for 2009, and B.E.D. needs YOU (and you too, hot stuff!) to help us. If you're gonna have sex at Burning Man, we want it to be incredible, consensual, hair-raising, amazing, consensual, hot, thrilling CONSENSUAL sex.
Get into B.E.D. at http://bureauoferoticdiscourse.org and check out who we are and how you can help! Be the first in your camp to wear B.E.D. gear and show your support in two vital ways: you help fund our efforts and you also show the citizens of BRC that you care about preventing sexual assault in our fair city. See you in B.E.D.
The B.E.D. Theme Camp Challenge! B.E.D. challenges every single Burning Man theme camp to make sexual assault education part of their camp business. We are asking every camp to sit down with your members and discuss the issue and responsibility of sexual exploration at Burning Man. How do you broach this sensitive subject? We have developed a short outline to help you out. It's easy!
Sign your camp up today!"
GIFTING FOOD? GET A PERMIT FROM THE BUREAU OF HEALTH PROTECTION SERVICES
For 10 years now a couple of very playa-dedicated members of Nevada State Health Division have been inspecting the Cafe and other theme camps that have large kitchens or gift food on the playa to make sure you stay healthy. This year they will be at Playa Info in the mornings so if you have any questions or need to pick up your permit feel free to drop by and chat with them. They also explore the event looking for kitchens to inspect and to give advice. Their goal is prevent food borne illnesses, so if you see them, thank them! and take their advice on food handling safety, they know their stuff!
If you are planning to make and give away food to the public on the playa - drinks made from fresh squeezed juice, or even snow cones, here's the scoop from Cindy Ulch with the Nevada State Health Divisions Frontier and Rural Public Health Program:
HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND PERMITS
IMPORTANT: A NUMBER OF CAMPS LAST YEAR DID NOT COMPLETE THE PERMIT PROCESS BY PICKING UP THEIR PERMIT AT PLAYA INFO AND RECEIVING THEIR INSPECTION. NOT COMPLETING THE PROCESS IS THE SAME AS NOT BEING PERMITTED. DON'T BE SHUT DOWN. YOU MUST PICK UP YOUR PERMIT AND BE INSPECTED TO BE IN COMPLIANCE.
Are you planning anything requiring large amounts of water?
Are you hosting a large kitchen?
Are you giving away food?
Are you serving quantities of drinks over ice?
Are you thinking you may need to get a Health Permit?
If so, this is important information to read.
Burning Man does not provide water for any projects. You must bring your own.
Large quantities of water (250 gallons+) being used for projects that entail full body contact or consumption by people must be "potable" and come from state health department approved water sources. If you are bringing in a water truck or are hauling in large amounts of water you should speak to us directly. As there are health department regulations that you need to be aware of, contact us via email at placement (at) burningman (dot) com .
Water being used for misting systems, slip and slides and things that do not involve consumption do not need health department clearance. It is wise to make sure that you have "potable" water and the source is reputable!
Large public pools and showers will not be permitted. Art pieces involving water are not considered showers unless they are labeled such and encourage bathing. Email placement (at) burningman (dot) com if you have questions about this.
KITCHENS/ BARS or DRINKS
If you are providing beverages and/or food for your camp and friends, no health permit is needed.
PUBLIC kitchens of any sort need a permit. Remember, Burning Man does not tolerate the sale of anything at the event, including food. We have cultivated a gift economy. If you are caught selling or bartering food like currency the health department will shut you down -- if your neighbors don't get to you first!
If you are giving food to the public you need a permit. Your CAMPMATES and FRIENDS are the only people you can give food to without health department clearance. If you have any questions, email placement (at) burningman (dot) com to follow up.
FRESH SQUEEZED JUICES
If you are giving away freshly squeezed fruit drinks to anyone other than your CAMPMATES and FRIENDS, you must get a permit.
Ice is considered food by the health department. Although there should be no permits needed for "free bars" or "barter bars", your ice source must be approved by state health. The easiest way to comply is to purchase your ice from commercial sources in the surrounding towns as you enter our city, or from us at the event. (Money from our ice sales goes directly back to the town of Gerlach as a gift.)
HOW TO APPLY
The only application any camp needs is the "Vendor Application for Temporary Food Establishments" found here:
Mail: we must have sufficient time to be able to process the application and send back a letter of confirmation. So they need to be received at Cindy's office in Winnemucca no later than one week before the event - MONDAY AUGUST 24TH. Don't wait till the last minute. It would be a shame to have to cancel your plans, our even risk being cited for a health violation. That mailing address is NSHD - FaR Health 475 West Haskell Street Suite 52, Winnemucca, NV 89445.
In person: no later than FRIDAY AUGUST 28TH at either:
3427 Goni Road Suite 108, Carson City, NV. Phone: (775) 687-7550 or 475 West Haskell Street Suite 38 or 52 Winnemucca, NV. Phone (775) 623-6591.
On the application, the event coordinator is "Burning Man". Leave the location blank. After mailing the application and $50 USD payment, all anyone needs to do is come and pick up their permit at Playa Info in Center Camp during the following days and hours:
Monday August 31st through Friday September 4th, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
We do this so that we can get an accurate camp location from which to do inspections.
WE are NOT issuing new permits at Playa Info.
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Please contact Cindy Ulch (775) 623-6591 or email email@example.com
FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES
Yes, this is Burning Man. Fire plays a big part in the event. So does fire safety and common sense. This is something taken very seriously, so please read these guidelines carefully.
Fire Safety In Your Camp
Fire in theme camps is a very serious thing and we caution you to take care in the planning of any open flame in theme camps. There must be someone who is responsible and present at all time to monitor any fire in your camp and be prepared to completely extinguish it if wind conditions pick up. At least 5 gallons of water must be kept close for this purpose.
Part of the fun of Burning Man is gathering around a fire at night, meeting folks, sharing a story, and enjoying the warmth. As nice as that sounds, there's a lot of responsibility involved, too. If you can do without it, save yourself the trouble and responsibility and gather around someone else's fire. The ability for the Black Rock City Emergency Services Department to provide emergency responses would be stretched if multiple fires broke out in a severe windstorm.
Please remember that any fires found unattended or without water nearby -- or burning in an unsafe manner -- may be extinguished.
Fire and open flame present a unique set of challenges on the playa. Wind is an ever-present aspect of the Black Rock desert, and with little warning, can blow sparks and embers from fire-barrels and across our city great distances until they settle against something (tents, shade structures, camping gear, art works, etc). This is VERY scary in a tent city!
Wind is also a factor with tiki-torches, candles and taller flame effects -- and precautions should be taken to prevent these things from being knocked or blown over. A sufficient perimeter should be kept clear of all flammables. To help you prepare to have open flame or flame effects in your camp, here are some guidelines to help keep everyone in Black Rock City safe:
Note: All camps that have Open Fire or Flame Effects are asked to check in at the Artery in center-camp to receive an inspection from a Performance Safety team member.
HEALTH AND SAFETY SECTION AT BURNINGMAN.COM
Check out our web site more information on health and safety related issues. There are all kinds of topics covered, including pregnancy, rebar safety, first-aid kits and fuel storage:
MORE SAFETY OR EMERGENCY QUESTIONS?
Feel free to contact the Emergency Services Department if you have any questions that are not answered here or on our web site:
The Official Burning Man Facebook Page:
Official Burning Man Twitter Account - All Things Burning Man:
Black Rock City Twitter Account - All Things BRC:
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questions (at) burningman (dot) com
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Soundtrack for this JRS: The Mountain Goats, Tortoise, Chromatics, St. Vincent