Saturday, August 21, 2010

I am Spent

.Sometimes I think I am too emotional for this sort of work.
 Last week I spent about 20 hours working on my research and PowerPoint presentations for this year's round of OSHA refresher classes. There is a team of us who teach, and these last 3 years I have been asked to come up with a new section to keep the class fresh. Some of the stuff we need to cover every year, but each year we do 2 or 3 completely new sections. Obviously the material has to fall into the subject matter OSHA wants to see, but the topics are broad and leaves a lot of lattitude. This year, under the subject of 'scene safety' I decided to do a call review of a very recently released NIOSH report about an incident that resulted in an LODD.
 Although any LODD is unacceptable and not really something I want to discuss in a classroom setting, this one grabbed me because I have the technical knowledge required to really understand what occurred. I was traveling when the incident occurred and I received an email from a fellow instructor about the possible cause. He had his opinion, I had mine, they were different, but it turned out I had it right. None the less, I followed the story all the way through.
 Writing a lesson plan based on a tragedy is a fine line to walk. There is no intent to find fault at the original incident scene, the intent is to teach the lessons learned from that incident and prevent it from happening again. I always assume that those on scene did the best they could with the knowledge and tools they had. My job is to increase that knowledge for the next responders to handle a similar incident. I think I did a fair job on this one, but we'll see what the other instructors say when they tear it apart at our meeting next week. That's how we make things better. At any rate, as it stands, the presentation and notes are done pending tweaks and revisions.
 But some time in the middle of the night I had a brain fart. I am always trying to get my students to 'appreciate' the seriousness and degree of difficulty involved in these type calls. I want to make sure they 'get it' and internalize it, so that when the time comes, they can pull it back out. In other words I am looking for them to PAY ATTENTION. I try to make it so that they have no choice and WANT to suck up this information. This particular subject, being as complicated as it is, is hard to get across, at least in the first few minutes. So I had this idea to run a series of videos during the break just before my session. It would be up on the big screen while they were getting coffee or stretching their legs. I would use all the news videos that were out there surrounding this incident, starting with the late night news bulletin that first announced the blast with almost no real details. I collected everything I could find and put it in chronological order form the early bulletin through the details, the investigation, the funeral arrangements, the memorials, the fund raisers, the news blips and interviews with those dealing with the aftermath, and all the stuff in between. I bolied it down to about 10 clips. I put them togehter in a timed PowerPoint and just finished reviewing them over and over for about 6 hours to get them in the right order and get the timing correct.

 I am emotionally exhausted. I have looked at the pain on the faces of those closest to the victim over and over during this exercise and it got harder and harder on each run through. I have been close to a small Department that lost a key member on the job and I know what that pain is. It's very real and personal, and watching these videos and interviews took their toll on me just as it took a toll on that entire community. As much as I do not want to share this with my students, I feel I am obligated to so that I remind them what the impact is when something like this happens to any Department. I'll put it together and see what my fellow instructors think. They are a pretty smart group of guys.

But I think for now, I thinking I'm just gonna have a few beers and watch the one eyed monster. I'm not much use to anyone just now.


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