JRS VOLUME #15; ISSUE #30
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 15, Issue #30 HEALTH & SAFETY
August 19, 2011
HEALTH AND SAFETY:
+ EMERGENCY CONTACT ON-PLAYA FAQ
+ HEALTH AND SAFETY FAQ
+ BEING TAKEN FOR A (HELICOPTER) RIDE
+ RANTING AND RAILING
+ BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL AT THE BURN
+ WHY IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO CARRY YOUR ID ON THE PLAYA
+ NOW TWEET THIS
+ THEY *KEY* PART OF PREPARING YOUR VEHICLE FOR THE PLAYA
+ GET YOUR FILL OF FUEL
+ DR LASER LOVE
+ I GOT STRANDED AT A RENO HOSPITAL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS BACKLESS GOWN
+ 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
+ THE BUREAU OF HEALTH PROTECTION SERVICES PERMIT INFORMATION
+ FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES
+ HEALTH AND SAFETY SECTION AT BURNINGMAN.COM
+ WHAT? IT RAINS ON THE PLAYA?
+ MORE SAFETY OR EMERGENCY QUESTIONS?
CONNECT WITH BURNING MAN:
+ Burning Man on your favorite social networks
We're just over a week out from our gates opening ... a WEEK, people. It's hard to believe that the past year has flown by that fast, but here we are again, at the threshold of another incredible Burning MaN.
This is our second-to-last specially-themed JRS before the event, and this one is all about health and safety ... yours, and those around you. In case you didn't read your Survival Guide yet (you have, haven't you? www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/), the Black Rock Desert is a harsh and forbidding environment ... and it's up to all of us to keep ourselves in one piece (physically, anyway).
To that end, the esteemed head of our Emergency Services Department has compiled this compendium of helpful (and super important) information about how to keep yourself intact. Read up!
Oh, and when you see an ESD crew member out on playa, be sure to stop and give them a big "thank you!" ... they're doing some amazing work out there.
The Man burns in 15 days ... can you believe it? Neither can we. We look forward to seeing you in the dust oh so soon!
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, HGH EMS 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 really don't work and most don't have satellite phones. There is 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 that finding a person's camp can become very difficult. Preparation, however, 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 the new emergency contact web form found here: 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 new emergency contact web form will prompt users for details to help find you. We highly encourage people attempting to contact participants at Burning Man to use the form instead of sending us a free form email. Important details include their 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.
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 the Rampart clinic at 5:10 and Esplanade. Look for the red LED cross on top of the stations at 3:00 and 9:00. 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. 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. However, if you are stranded HGH EMS will assist you the next time they come to Reno. HGH is in touch with hospitals to coordinate that effort. Seriously though, your friends should pick you up so you can buy ice cream and snacks for your camp. While HGH will help you out if you're stranded, they certainly can't stop so you can go shopping.
Q: Is there a clinic in Gerlach?
A: WHILE THERE USED TO BE A CLINIC IN GERLACH, IT'S CLOSED NOW. Your closest point of care for those coming or going East (depending on which route you take) is Pershing General Hospital in Lovelock, Nevada http://pershinghospital.org/ Westbound your choices are more plentiful with several hospitals in Reno.
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, the closest pharmacies are in Fernley or Reno.
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 may cost up to $20,000!
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. Given that only a few dozen get airlifted every year, chances are good that you'll never need it but if you have a complicated pre- existing condition or just want to have some extra coverage "just in case", it's worth considering the Flight Plan Membership that Care Flight offers. Their 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:
RANTING AND RAILING
You assume all liability for the safety of a structure of your construction. Here are some important questions you should ask yourself when designing and building a structure at Burning Man:
Considerations for any structure designed with an elevated viewing area: - What's the load capacity? - How many people can it hold and how will you police it?
Railings are required to be well designed and built; how will you accomplish that?
Ingress and Egress: - If someone climbs up onto it, how do they exit without causing a traffic jam? - In an emergency, can people safely exit the structure from more than one path?
Since you cannot dig holes in the playa you will have to use cable to secure your structure. - Do you know what gauge cable is best for your needs?
Have you factored in the high winds environment of the Black Rock Desert for your design?
If you have not fully considered all aspects of your plan from a structural engineering perspective, you have more research to do.
For more details see: http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/securing.html
BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL AT THE MAN BURN
Burn night can be chaotic (to say the least) when everyone crowds around the Man. Big crowds can be so much fun but way less so when you need help and can't seem to find it. To take the guesswork out of finding help, ESD has created safety contact points outside the Burn circle. One is located on the 3 o'clock side of the Man and the other is located on the 9 o'clock side of the Man. Both of them are along the promenade just on the edge of the crowd. Each contact point is marked by a bright blue rotating emergency beacon and both tend to be easily visible from the edge of the crowd.
Each rally point has a host of resources dedicated to it in case there is a need, including Black Rock Rangers, Law Enforcement, ESD Medical, ESD Fire and HGH EMS. Just walk up and ask and the right resource will follow you back to where you need help, especially since finding a specific location in the mass of people is very difficult when it's solely based on a verbal report.
WHY IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO CARRY YOUR ID ON THE PLAYA
Reasons? We gots three of them!
1. In case you get hurt on playa and get transported while unconscious we can identify you. 2. In case you get arrested and have to prove your identity to law enforcement. 3. If you're lucky enough to look under 21 and you want a drink in any camp that serves alcohol.
NOW TWEET THIS!
In addition to the great Facebook page and Twitter accounts Burning Man has, ESD has its own that it uses pre-event and on playa to communicate more specific information about health and safety. You may find it interesting if you're so inclined...
http://twitter.com/brc911 or @brc911
THE *KEY* PART OF PREPARING YOUR VEHICLE FOR THE PLAYA
Every year, Burners some how, some ways lock their keys in their car (it happens a lot more often that you think). Worse yet, some flat out lose their keys -- big bummer and big $$$, right? Doesn't need to be. Instead one simple step will save you tons of time, hassle and money:
MAKE AN EXTRA KEY.
If you are renting a car - take the time to stop and get an extra key made or ask for one from the rental company. Then place the extra key in a secure location outside of your car when you arrive.
GET YOUR FILL OF FUEL
Here is some good advice on the storage of fuel:
Propane cylinders are designed to work best at a maximum fill of 70% -- over filling combined with higher altitude and extreme heat (sunlight) may cause a cylinder to self-vent through its pressure relief system. Since propane is heavier than air (when in a gaseous state) it will seek low ground when vented.
Liquid fuels will likewise expand in their containers when exposed to sunlight and heat. Don't fill tanks or containers to capacity - leave room for expansion. Liquid fuel containers also need to have a lined overflow berm built up around them, so should any fuel expand and escape the container it will be caught rather than seep into the playa. The berms should be lined with a tarp or plastic to prevent fuel from soaking into the playa. If a significant amount of fuel is released - contact ESD and we'll send our Hazardous Materials Unit out to assess (a significant amount is enough that it does not evaporate rapidly i.e. it remains in a puddle).
Most importantly: Store fuels in well ventilated and shaded areas with a fire extinguisher nearby. And of course away from ignition sources.
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 your project is 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://www.lia.org/ Laser Light Show Safety: http://donklipstein.com/laserlia.htm#lialls 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:
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! In the vast majority of circumstances your friends already know you're in the hospital and are on their way to pick you up. But what to do if you get stranded? Luckily, our new friends at HGH EMS will coordinate with Reno hospitals to get you back to Black Rock City when one of their ambulances return. While this resource is available it's important to note that HGH EMS is not a shuttle service. HGH EMS is generously offering this as a last resort to those who are truly stranded at the hospital. We very much appreciate their help for the few people each year who get stranded by offering this last resort means to get you back to Burning Man.
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, HGH or Law Enforcement *may* have the relevant information only Playa Info serves as the clearinghouse for all such messages.
ADOPT-AN-INTERSECTION IN BLACK ROCK CITY
Unfortunately some 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 crews, 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 act that makes a big difference.
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, 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
By now most know that there is very limited cell phone service in the area surrounding Gerlach. 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 County 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's 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 (Family Radio Service, the frequencies that Motorola Talkabouts and similar radios use). FRS is extremely overcrowded and it's 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 by reserving this "911" channel while MURS use is less common 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 ESD emergency dispatch 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 are far from a 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 the overcrowded 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 emergency 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) $99 http://bit.ly/bmgDqI
Or if you don't want to buy a radio for this purpose you can contact your local two way radio rental service in your area and inquire about renting a VHF radio for this purpose (and they would program it for you as part of the rental, making configuring the radio hassle free if you're not radio tech savvy).
If you have further questions or need help in finding a source for radios, please contact us for more information at:
THE BUREAU OF EROTIC DISCOURSE IS SEEKING B.E.D. BUDDIES
The good folks from B.E.D. write:
"Come peek under our sheets!
Remember the signs in the porta-potties last year talking about how you can help prevent sexual assault? That was us! Remember the 'Clarity and Consent' workshops? That was us too! Maybe you got a sassy button from us talking about how 'Even Porn Stars Ask First'?
Great news! We're back with our sex-positive message for 2011, and B.E.D. needs YOU (and you too, hot stuff!). We need your help to spread our message: If you're gonna have sex at Burning Man, we want to help you make sure it is incredible, consensual, hair-raising, amazing, consensual, hot, thrilling, CONSENSUAL sex!
There are many ways to climb into B.E.D! Head over to our Facebook page to join in the discussion. Check out our website, http://www.bureauoferoticdiscourse.org, and perhaps consider supporting us with a donation. You can also support us buy purchasing our playful B.E.D. gear to wear and show the citizens of BRC that YOU care about preventing sexual assault in our fair city. You will find all these links on our website.
The B.E.D. Theme Camp Challenge!
B.E.D. challenges all Burning Man Theme Camps to make sexual assault education part of their camp business. We are asking every camp to gather your members and discuss the issues and responsibilities of sexual exploration at Burning Man. How do you broach this sensitive subject? We have developed a short outline to help you out. Find it here:
Sign your camp up today!
B.E.D. thanks you for your help in continuing the Burning Man tradition of creating a city where we look out for each other and can explore our boundaries while feeling safely supported!"
THE BUREAU OF HEALTH PROTECTION SERVICES PERMIT INFORMATION
You need a permit for two types of service this year: 1) If you have a large centralized kitchen for your camp that is feeding 125 or more each meal. 2) You're giving away food to the public.
So 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, you will need a permit from the Nevada State Health Division. You'll now find information designated with a special flame icon specifically tailored for Burning Man on the Health Division's website.
The only application any camp needs is the "Temporary Food Establishment Application for Food Vendor at Burning Man" found at http://health.nv.gov/BFHS_EHS.htm
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.
QUESTIONS: Please contact Cindy Ulch (775) 623-6591 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Ellen Kunz (775) 623-6588 or email@example.com in Cindy's absence.
FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES
Yes, this is Burning Man. Fire plays a big part in the event. So does fire safety and common sense. But since common sense isn't always common, please read these guidelines carefully.
Fire Safety In Your Camp
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.
Fire in theme camps is a serious matter 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.
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 Fire Art 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:
WHAT? IT RAINS ON THE PLAYA?
Rain storms, while much less common dust storms, do sometimes happen. In the event of such an unlikely event, here are some tips to consider:
* Listen to BMIR for updates and information. * Cover and secure anything electrical. * Like with dust storms, check the structures and the art in your camp to be sure it will be safe in the wind and rain. * Dont drive on wet playa, you're vehicle is likely to get stuck.
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:
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Soundtrack for this JRS: The hum of air conditioners and the squawking of radio traffic.