Jrs V11 I16


Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 11, Issue 16 HEALTH AND SAFETY
August 7, 2007

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WE GET QUESTIONS…and we are here to pony up some answers about Health and Safety at the event, to help you with your playa planning.  It’s a JRS Special Edition: Health and Safety in BRC, brought to you by the Emergency Services Department of Black Rock City.  There’s info here for everyone, so take a peek!


**/**/**/**/**/**/**/***/**/**/**/**Some helpful advice from our friends at the Nevada Highway Patrol
Health & Safety Section at Burningman.com
Health & Safety Q and A
Build your own street sign – Adopt an Intersection
Frequency coordination: Are you using high power radios on the playa?
Emergency contact on playa
“911” Service in Black Rock City – New for 2007!
Join us in B.E.D.
Bureau of Health Protection Services on playa
Diabetics: Dispose of your needles safely


Some helpful advice from our friends at the Nevada Highway Patrol

Every year the NHP helps hundreds of burners who get stranded or otherwise experience problems on the road to and from the event.  At a recent meeting they let us know some super-helpful tips to avoid the most common problems that burners experience while on the road:

1) Fill your gas tank BEFORE heading out on 447.  Turns out lots of people run out of gas on the way to or from the event.  Its a long way and there are few gas stations between Gerlach and the rest of the civilized world…  fuel up when you have the chance…and do it on the way IN.  When the lines get long on the way out, folks apparently get tempted to try to “make it” to Fernley/Wadsworth, and end up running out.  Keep it topped off.

2) The shoulders of 447 and the other rural highways have *very* soft shoulders and the chance of getting stuck is much higher than you expect, especially in the soft sands around Pyramid Lake.  Only pull over if you absolutely have to, and if at all possible only pull over on fully developed gravel shoulders.  This is especially important because…

3) …the wait for tow trucks can be very long (think hours and hours). Sitting on the side of the road is a major bummer so please be careful.

4) Be sure any loads on your roof rack or trailers are tied down properly.  This especially applies at the end of the event on the way home, when you may be tired and less careful about how you load and tie down.  Taking a couple of extra minutes to tie down your load is a lot easier than scurrying about on the highway trying to pick up your gear while playing real life “Frogger” with the oncoming traffic.  (More tips on securing your load for Exodus at http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/exodus.html)


Health & Safety Section at Burningman.com

Are you aware there is a Health and Safety section of the Burning Man web site?


Here you can read FAQs and information about a variety of topics, including: Asthma
Fuel and hazardous materials storage
Playa health and safety tips from the Nevada State Health Division
Playa foot
Rebar safety
Medic Alert bracelets
Sober on the playa
Playa Fires: Health Risk?
Playa first aid kit advice

…and, of course: How to gift food at Burning Man: Obtaining a “Temporary Food Establishment Permit” from the Nevada State Health Division and sharing food safely!

Check it out and be edified.


Health and Safety Q and A

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://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/playa_firstaid.html) and self-treating yourself and 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 medical stations on the 3:00 and 9:00 plazas, and behind the Center Cafe at 6:00.  Look for the neon blue cross on top of the buildings.  These stations are staffed by emergency health are providers (doctors, nurses, medics, etc.) many 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, ticket stub, 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 care.  There are no shuttles from the hospitals back to the playa.

Q: Is there a clinic in Gerlach?
A: The Gerlach Medical Center http://www.nvrhc.org/gerlach.htm> is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 5 PM.  The Gerlach Medical Center is a family medicine clinic offering limited urgent care, laboratory, x-ray, and women’s health services.

Q: How much does it cost to see a doctor in Gerlach?
A: An average doctor visit usually costs between $100 and $300, plus the cost of any laboratory tests, x-rays, and prescriptions you may need.  The clinic accepts insurance as well as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, traveller’s checks, personal checks (with identification) or cash.

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.  The Gerlach Medical Clinic has a “closed pharmacy”, meaning they can only fill prescriptions written by their physicians during a visit to the clinic…not refills of your existing scrip.


Adopt-an-intersection in Black Rock City

As you might have noticed, people like to steal the street signs from BRC on Sunday on their way out of the city.  While this may be a cool souvenir for some, it causes havoc for the medical units, fire trucks, Black Rock Rangers and other resources, obfuscating the location of those who need help in an emergency.

So how can you, as a participant, make a difference? 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.  These beautiful signs are designed to be used in Black Rock City as part of our infrastructure — not to be ready-made souvenirs.  It is truly imperative that they stay up until at least daylight on Monday morning, and we’re not trying to give permission to steal them (there are still folks working to take the infrastructure down, and yes, we’d like to know where we’re going in an emergency, too).  Obviously not everyone is guilty of stealing a street sign, 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. The idea was inspired at last year’s event when spontaneously participants 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!


Frequency coordination: Are you using high power radios on the playa?

Are you planning on using high power radio applications (greater than 5 watts) on the playa?  ESD 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, MURS, 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 noisefloor in case of interference. Please contact ESD Communications via email at 911 (at) burningman (dot) com if you have questions or to register your frequency.


Emergency contact on playa FAQ

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 only limited Internet access, and it can be spotty.  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 to 911(at)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 news or expecting emergency transmissions, you might want to plan to check in 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 seek you out; 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 there.


“911” Service in Black Rock City

In recent years Burning Man as an event and as a community has grown, and the Emergency Services Department (ESD, for more info check out: http://911.burningman.com/about.php ) has developed in tandem with Black Rock City in providing 911 services such as EMS, fire, mental health, and emergency communications.  One service that ESD hasn’t offered in the past is a remote way for theme camps, art projects, and participants to get help, but now we are able to participate in such an option.

While all the conventional ways to get help are still available (know your local Ranger or where the nearest Emergency Services Station is, for example), we wanted to enhance safety by providing an option for those who might have a specific concern or for those who just want be helpful to others in their neighborhood.  Starting this year, the ESD will test a new method to call for emergency or Ranger assistance, by monitoring 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 radio users can tell you, FRS is extremely overcrowded and in use by thousands of participants on the playa.  FRS radios are also not powerful enough to effectively communicate throughout Black Rock City.  MURS, in contrast, is currently not in common usage and operates at a higher power so it can communicate across the entire playa.

We hope that with the introduction of this “911” channel before MURS use becomes widespread will set the expectation that this channel will be for emergency use only.  You will need to purchase your own MURS radio to contact 911, but its other 4 channels can also be used by you and other MURS radio owners.  Large camps or villages might also choose to make one part of their group planning efforts and store it in a public way for neighborhood 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

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.

Set your MURS radio to channel 5, code 11 (154.600 / CTCSS 97.4) to reach Black Rock City Emergency Services Dispatch.  Using any other “privacy codes” on channel 5 will interfere with 911.  Instead please choose channels 1-4 for personal use and share this information with new MURS users you meet.

If you have further questions or need help in finding a source for radios, please email 911 (at) burningman (dot) com for more information.

A partial list of compatible models:

Dakota Alert MURS portable (operational controls just like common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $89 http://www.dakotaalert.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=56

Fostek MURS Radio (set-up is easy with just a few switches to set internally) $94 http://www.rkleef.com/handhelds/fostek/murs502.html Motorola XV100 Business band radio (operational controls just like common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $189 http://www.rkleef.com/handhelds/motorola/xv1100.html

(the list of suggested models in no way endorses them over other brands or compatible model radios)


Join us in B.E.D.

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 ‘How to Get Laid at Burning Man’ 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 2007, 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://www.bureauoferoticdiscourse.org and check out who we are and how you can help! Be the first in your camp to own 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.!”


Bureau of Health Protection Services on playa

For 10 years now a couple of very dedicated and positive 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 on the playa.  This year they will be at Playa Info in the mornings from 9am to 10am, Monday through Friday of the event, 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 problems so if you see them thank them and take their advice on food handling safety…  they know their stuff!


Diabetics: Dispose of your needles safely

Diabetics: please don’t put your used needles in the porta potties.  Dropping your sharps into the porta potties, besides the obvious violation of the mantra “if it wasn’t in your body…” is a public health hazard to the sanitation workers who have to deal with them further down the sanitation process.  Please instead dispose of them safely in a sharps container at any of the three medical clinics on playa (center camp, 3 & Coral Reef, or 9 & Coral Reef).  That way you get two bonus karma points for the price of one!

{Soundtrack to this JRS: C’mon, you already knew I’m that kind of dork: “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. Duh.}

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