Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Whack-A-(m)ole' (like guacamole)

This morning I shot a very cool assignment for the daily about new training equipment at the county firefighter training center. They were unveiling a new simulator made with a 10,000-gallon propane tanker railroad car.

Basically, they push a button, set the railroad car on fire, then local firefighters practice extinguishing it. They did it three times so three different companies would have a chance to train. Ignite, rinse, repeat.

The local politician who pushed for the emergency services budget was on hand, so it was a bit of a horse-and-pony show for the press. Consequently, the firefighters had to stand around in their hot, heavy gear for a while when the chief was being interviewed by channel 12.

Firefighters' jackets have sound transmitters that beep if one does not move around while wearing it, so they can find in each other in smoke-filled places, etc. There were, like, 40 firefighters standing around during the politician's speech-and-schmooze time who all started beeping, and apparently you have to hit a button to stop it.

But it's like an alarm clock, it goes off again in 2 minutes if you don't move. So this politician is talkingtalkingtalking community connection, 9/11, re-election blahblahblah, and the firefighters are all standing there, continuously beeping and smacking each other's transmitter boxes. It was like a Human Whack a Mole game (or as Stephen would say, "Whack-a-(m)ole'!"

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