Tuesday, September 06, 2005

All You Have To Do Is Stand There

Kos and TPM have been all over this story, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't all be pissed off and screaming at the top of our lungs about this incredible waste of skilled professionals. The reality is that neither Kos nor TPM do the story justice. The original story from the Salt Lake Tribune is almost too painful to read.

"Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in

The firefighters, several of whom are from
Utah, were told to bring backpacks, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and Meals Ready to Eat. They were told to prepare for "austere conditions..."

"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a
Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet..."

"It's a misallocation of resources. Completely," said the
Texas firefighter.

"It's just an under-utilization of very talented people," said
South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote, who sent a team of firefighters to Atlanta. "I was hoping once they saw the level of people . . . they would shift gears a little bit."

Foote said his crews would be better used doing the jobs they are trained to do..."

So far the most critical task the any of the 1000 highly trained professionals have been asked to perform was to be living props for one of President Bush's photo opportunities in the disaster area.

"...specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas."

Impeach Bush/Cheney - Save Our Country.