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  1. #1
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:30 AM
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    Default Katrina left her calling card on N.O. Day 2 Part 2.

    The state police had found us a way in N.O. FINALLY!!! We're driving inside the outskirts of N.O. on backroads, and we now realize the magnatude of damage. House's are either damaged beyond repair, or they're sitting in water that looks like it 5 foot deep. We drive by this Holiday Inn hotel, inside the parking lot, cars are under water up to the roofs, people are standing on the balcony's, flagging us down for help, BUT WE CAN'T STOP!!! Most of the windows and some of the roof is gone off of this place. Can't imagine what these people were thinking just watching 30 plus emergency trucks/ambulances just pass them by. I just wanted to yell out to them that we were sorry we couldn't help them out. Talk about feeling low.

    We continue driving, in and out of water that is sometimes 2-4 feet deep. But as we make our way out of the suburbs of N.O. the ground would get higher. We travel the back roads of Jefferson Parish, for about an hour or so, being escorted by the state police. Can't tell you how important the LA State Police was for us. Without them, we were useless.

    We make it back to I-10, now we're southwest of the city. Once on I-10, we can step up our response a little. The interstate is clear for the most part. There are a ton of abandoned cars on the interstate. Some are upside down, some are facing the wrong direction, so we can only imagine that the wind played havoc with these cars. I just hoped whoever these cars belonged to, were somewhere else, when Katrina came calling.

    At this time, we see downtown N.O. for the first time. Plus, the radio's are starting to come alive with the N.O. police/fire departments. Due to the storm, I guess there was only 1 frequency for everyone to work/talk on. Lot's of police/fire trying to get info out, but can't because everyone is trying to talk at the same time. Downtown is still a good clip away, but we can see it. Looks like all the buildings are standing, but we hear a N.O. police officer stating that the roof of the Superdome is GONE!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone in my truck looks at each other with the face expression of, "WTF"?? If the roof is gone, has it collasped into the dome? And if so, we heard of 25,000 or so people being inside this place. Are they dead? Reality starting to sink in, and about what we were about to walk into. As we get closer, Chris (who is driving Medic 10) yells back to us, that he can see the dome. We all scramble to have a look. The roof is still on, but it looks like some1 rubbed a brillo pad across it. It was stripped of all it's metal covering and felt paper. In fact, large sheets of felt roofing paper hung off of the sides of the dome. But, we can only see 1 side of the dome. We have no idea what the other side looks like. We cross over the Mississippi river I-10 bridge and now we're next to downtown. We decided to stop. We had to get our and our teams heads together. We're sitting on I-10 near the O'Keef exit. We climb out of our rigs, and just take in what we're seeing. Most of the window's in the high-rises are gone, but there is ZERO water in downtown. In fact, doesn't even look like it rained 1 drop in downtown. Chief Bob calls us all together and we meet in the middle of I-10. The F.E.M.A rep that rode with us, is now on his cell phone making a call to the O.E.P. offices in Baton Rouge. This part of I-10 were on, is one of a handfull of places where you can get a cellphone signal. While Chief Bob is making decisions on our plan of action, I'm busy snappin pic's of downtown. The radio's are still jumping with cry's of help. We hear shit like this, 'Officer's trap in high water', 'Blocks of the city are on fire', 'people lying dead in the streets...' etc. From where we stand, for the most part, N.O. looks ok, at least downtown does anyway. We do see huge coulds of black smoke coming up from around the city. We're starting to feel for our brother N.O. Firefighters. What are they dealing with, what conditions are these guys in? FINALLY, the F.E.M.A. rep gets off the phone and informs Chief Bob of the situation he heard from the other F.E.M.A./local authorities, in and around the N.O. area. We got the news we didn't really want. GO TO THE SUPERDOME. Alot of people are hurt inside, plus other locals are begining to show up, and there is no EMS available for anyone down there. Ok, looks like our day is gonna become a cluster.

    We load up, and make our way into downtown. Again, we have to travel out of the way, because all the trees in downtown are rooted up and lyin in the middle of the streets. There's parts of building, and broken glass everywhere. We finally make our way to the superdome. We're on La Salle st, I think, can't really remember, but this street runs down the backside of the superdome, between the dome and the arena where the N.O. Hornets play basketball. We get out and begin to investigate what's going on inside and around the dome. 1 thing we do see, is alot of people/locals, walking around hurt, but there is NO ONE down there helping them. Keep in mind, all of New Orleans resources are tied up, but the thing I can't understand is that, if the city officals knew all these people we're gonna evac to the dome, why was there no EMS setup? Guess that decision isn't for me to understand or even question. Some of us go inside to have a look at the dome itself. Remember, we heard that the roof was gone. We get inside and find 1000's of people/locals, sitting in the stands. I MEAN 1000's, 10's of thousands of people are inside. But guess what, THE ROOF IS STILL INTACT, with the exceptions of 4 medium size holes in the very upper part of the structure. Debris is lying on the field where these sections of the roof fell in, but thank god no one was on the field when this shit came down. Also inside, we find a handfull on Louisiana National Guard on scene. They are trying to provide some type of medical help to these people, but they just didn't have the resources to provide effective EMS to them. But, we're about to change all of that!!!!
    Last edited by Hurricane Halen; 09.13.05 at 09:13 AM.
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  2. #2
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:30 AM
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    Inside the dome, the conditons are awful. The smell is nothing I've smelled before in my life. People are pissing off of the 2nd level balcony, down into the sets on level 1. Some people are fighting. You name it, and it's prolly happening inside. It was then I stopped to realize we're gonna be overrun by injuried, plus our safety was at stake. Back outside, our group, along with these other medic's from the private ambulance companies, that came down with us, are trying to come up with a game plan to help these people. We reported back to Chief Bob about the conditions inside the dome. Everyone is ok, and the roof is intact. So, we're not gonna have to rescue anyone from inside.

    Outside, it's around 5pm or so. The sky's are clear, and there's a cool wind blowing outside. Hard to believe that a Cat 5 storm just hammered this city. We get our resources together, our medical equipment, and we are now in the beginning stages of setting up a medical triage area for the dome. As this operation is in progress, more and more LA National Guard are trickling in. Good, they're bringing a few medic's, and security of us and the people inside/around the dome. Finally, the 1 star General of this guard unit meets with Chief Bob and the other local/state officals that are with us. He asked what we needed from them. Chief Bob said we need cots for all of the injuried, and more medic's, if he had any. This Gen made things happen. Within the hour, Duce 1/2 army trucks starting showing up with cots and more personal. By now, we have 200 plus LA Nat Guard with us. Along with them, we had 3 doctor's 30 more medic's, and 1 flight Surgon with the U.S.A.F. The Gen. inform Chief Bob, that the Guard was picking up alot of "Walking Wounded" patients around the city, and loading them into their trucks to bring to us. Plus, he stated that Charity Hospital was being evac'd with critical patients, and they too, we're coming to the dome. Our day was about to get outta head, and quick. Plus, the radio traffic was just incredible coming from N.O.P.D. and N.O.F.D. Lots of shit going down inside the city.

    6:30pm is about the time the City of New Orleans changed forever. 1 frantic radio call came into N.O.P.D dispatch, by an officer stating that the Levee near Univ of New Orleans had collasped. He stated that he was running away in his squad car, and that a wall of water was quickly flooding everything around this area. He basically said that conditions were gonna be really bad, in a matter of minutes for this part of town. We pretty much stopped what we were doing to find out how close we were gonna be to all of this water coming in. State Police trooper said that we were a good ways away from this area. In a matter of minutes, Army Blackhawks, US Coast Guard, and Medic Vac helicopters where flying in the sky's over N.O. It's like they came outta no where. Alot of things were happening quick in and around us. Our first army trucks were beginning to show up with patients. We quickly off-loaded these people. Most of them had minor injuries. We began our triage of them, finding out what type of injuries they had, and then had the LA Nat Guard escort them inside the dome, where all the cots were now set up. Inside there, we, along with the other medic's with us, and the LA Guard, would begin treatment. Truck after truck, after truck were showing up. We we're now being overrun by patients, plus we had patients coming down from the stands inside the dome with minor complaints. Some had major complaints. We were treating everything from cuts, to people having Chest Pains, we had patients having strokes, you name it, we had it hitting us all at once. Plus, now we have water coming at us from some direction. The flight surgon wanted 3 Blackhawks and 3 medic vac helicopters, strictly for the Superdome patients. With in 30 minutes we had these helicopters at our desposal. They landed on the 2nd level catwalk, and on a part of I-10 that runs very close to the dome.

    A couple of hours into this operation, the influx of army trucks, loaded down with patients, was non-stop. Still no water anywhere around us. But, we had heard horror stories, about the flooding going on inside N.O. around the lake. Around 8-9pm, another report from a US Coast Guard helicopter, stated that they had found another breach in the Levee on the NorthWest side of N.O. They stated that the breach was prolly 50-100 ft across. Also, they witnessed alot of people being washed away, and rescue op's needed to be effect for this section of town. People were clining to trees, homes, street signs, whatever they could to survive. The N.O.F.D. were evacuating their guys out of the way of the rushing water that was coming inside the city. We continued to work, wondering about our own safety, and really wondering what was happening on the outside of the city. We kept hearing reports of large numbers of people being swept away by the rushing water. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?? WE HAVE A 2 PART DISATER UNFOLDING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES. You had the storm, and hours later your having a major flash flood. This was catching people off guard, because the one's that survived the storm, are now being wash away.

    Our work continues...... still no water at the dome. But, we got flooded with more and more and more, patients. The helicopters we had slated for us, are now flying the more serious of patients to Baton Rouge, or anywhere they could get them too. All the hospitals around New Orleans are useless. The city is black with no power, and we hear most of the generators at the hospital within the city, are inop, due to damage or water. Our radio's continue to crack with calls of help for people trapped inside their homes, but who is New Orleans PD or FD gonna send??? There's no one to help them. The US Coast Guard/Army are trying to pluck as many people from the flood as they can, in the dark of night, which within its self, is a DANGEROUS operation.

    By now, it's 1am, and the first signs of water are slowly making their way up La Salle St. It's not rushing at all, but slowly creeping up and filling the streets up. Within an hour or so, the water is as high as the curbs. Our work continues. The army is non-stop with trucks and patients. By this time, the most critical of patients are now arriving from Charity Hospital. We find patients that were in ICU, who were on ventilator machines. But now, army medic's are having to breath for these patients with Bag Valve Mask. We off load them and take them to the "Blue" area of Triage. It is at this very moment, I would be taking part in something I thought I'd never have to do as a firefighter/Medic. At the Doctor's request, we were told that if we didn't have the personal/resources to keep these vent patients alive, we had to "LET THEM GO". Our helicopters are now gone, and we dont' know when they'll be back. These "Vent" patients came to the Blue staging area's of Triage, and these RN's would ask us if we would "Bag" them, so they could take a break. These poor RN's had been bagging these patients for hours, to keep them alive. We advised these RN's to step back, and "WE" (SHREVEPORT FIRE DEPARTMENT) disconnect all of their oxygen and throw these Bag Valve Mask on the floor. These RN's are looking at us, and we're looking at them. We tell them the hardcore facts about how this operation is being run here at the dome. We can't save everyone. Our goal is to save the people who have a "CHANCE" of living. The critical's they brought us, were not gonna survive on their own, outside of a hospital setting. After a few minutes, and some crying, the RN's understood our mission. You guys have to understand, we as firefighters, don't usually judge a patient's condition. Our true job is to "TRY" to save anyone and everyone. We are not hear as firefighters to, "PLAY GOD" and pick and choose who lives and dies, but that was our roll on this day. And this roll we got stuck with, would play out a few more times before sunrise tuesday morning. And I got to tell you all, for me personally, THIS HAS BEEN A HARD PILL FOR ME TO SWALLOW, esp since I got home thrusday a week ago. Hell, us doing this at all, has been hard on everyone in my group. But, we as firefighters deal with it, and move on. We have too............Playing God with people's lives would get worse for Bravo Team wensday, as most of you will read about very soon.
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  3. #3
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:30 AM
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    4am or so, we hear another frantic report of more levee breaks around N.O. The water at the dome is knee deep by now, and we are really starting to question how high this water is gonna get here. We have all of our trucks sitting in this shit, and if it gets much deeper, we're gonna flood our transportation out. But, we gotta keep working to save/treat people. Shortly after the 4am hour, we hear a MAYDAY call from a Police officer that had gotten word that at Mercy/Lindy Boggs medical center was being hit by a large amount of water, and that patients, Nurse's and Doctor's were drowning inside the hospital. We are just awe struck by what we're hearing. We can't do anything for them, but pray. Things inside the city must be scary. We really have no way of knowing, because the only news we get is by what N.O.P.D and F.D., reports. Lot's of fires are burning, and we can see them from our location. New Orleans is offically a disaster area.

    Our work condition's around the dome are unhealthy now. We have water, extrememly hurt/sick people, and there's no way in hell to keep the conditions sanitary at all. The sun is up now, and the silver lining in this whole feasco is about to happen. A army truck has pulled up, which has been non-stop since monday evening, with a load of more patients. Myself and Capt Carl Mann, lower the tail gate down to begin checkin patients for injuries, so we can get them to the right triage area's of the dome. By now, we don't even look at faces anymore. We just focus on injuries. But, the one time this entire morning I look up to see a face, I'm looking into the eye's of Fat's Domino. And I reconize him, almost immediatly. I tell him, "Your Fat's Domino, right?" He respones, "Hey son, how ya doing??" Holy shit, it's Fat's. I say, "I'm fine sir, how are you feeling?", He tells me that he's has some minor cuts to his legs, when he was escaping the floods of the lower 9th ward, where he lives. We escort him and his family/friends from the truck and take him inside for treatment. The whole time, I'm looking at my guys going, "FATS DOMINO", but I'm doing this under my breath. Fat's is so grateful to us being here, and just goes on and on for everything we're doing for the people of New Orleans. He can't seem to fathom that we came all the way down from Shreveport to be here, but we explain why we are, and it brings a smile to his face. He ask, if there was anyway possible for him to get to Oshner's Hospital, because he has some family members there. We advise him that Osher's is surrounded by water, and the likeyhood of him getting there is not good. He understood that. He asked if he could sign any autographs or take pictures, and we were like, "Sure you can". It was such a honor treating this musical legend. Me, Chris, and Wynn had our pic made with him. He thanked us all again for our efforts, and then he was escorted inside the superdome. Last I saw of him that morning.

    Around 10am tues morning, we're in thigh deep water behind the dome, and word just came about another breach in the Levee system, that would prolly bring another 5 feet of water to our side of town. Once this information was offical, and we knew that the Levee did indeed breach, the order was given for us to evacuate the Superdome. We had to get our trucks out of the water, or we were gonna be sitting ducks, ourselves. Chief Bob informed the Flight Surg on scene with us, that all medical op's were now in the La Nat Guard's hands. The Guard took over op's and help move people inside the dome, to a higher level inside. If 5 more feet of water was coming our way, the inside of the dome, the field area, would be taking on water by then. The dome sorta sits on a hill, so, it was out of the water for the most part, but that would change shortly.

    We got our equimpent loaded, and hurried our way thru this water, and got back up on I-10, where we stopped to make sure everyone was with us. We didn't want to leave any of our crew behind. By now, we had been up almost 30 hours straight, no sleep, not much to eat. We had triaged by ourselves, almost 8,000 to 10,000 people, maybe less, maybe more. God only knows.
    The decision was made that we had to head back to Baton Rouge. Our group was spent. Tempers were on edge, we were wet, soaked to the bone, to be exact, tired, hungry and ready to sleep. We left N.O. the same way we came in, all backroads. And we left N.O. thinking we were the first in to give some aid/help to these people, and we all knew we were 1st in, being a major part of a history making event for this country.

    Once we got back to Baton Rouge later that afternoon, we all showered, some of us caught a quick nap, and we all met up around 6pm to head out to eat. We discussed the days events, and aired out any fustrations, complaints about what we did, and how things could have been handled different. It was at this paticular bar and grill, that I realized that a bond between 24 firefighters was growing by the second. We were all good friends coming into this, but we were growing into a large, close nit family. Lots of laughs, and a few tears were shared around that table in this bar and grill in Baton Rouge La. After a couple of hours, and several drinks later, we headed back to the O.E.P. campus, for 1 more debrief and some sleep.

    Wensday morning..............will be the day we would like to forget. By far, it was gonna be our worst day, esp for my team on Bravo.

    HH


    **Highlights not Mentioned for Monday/Tues**

    While at the Superdome, around 7pm or so, someone committed suicide inside the dome, by jumping from the 2nd level down to the 1st level seats. Not sure why, but we saw the LA Nat Guard covering him up with a sheet. Some of those guys witness the jump.

    Remember this place: Mercy/Linday Boggs Hospital. This place will play a major roll for my team on Wensday. And remember the part about us having to, 'play God', with people's lives....this too will be a major part of what we did wensday at Mercy Hospital. This story just get more fucked up, the longer we were in N.O.

    Once we were back in Baton Rouge, tuesday afternoon, we got word that the inside of the dome, did indeed flood, floating some of the artifical turf in the end-zone. But no one lost their life due to flooding inside the dome.

    The landscape of downtown N.O. changed drastically from Monday evening, before we entered the city, until the time we left, late tues morning. No water monday on the streets, water.......deep water everywhere Tues morning. Very Strange.

    HH
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  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High Hurricane Halen's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 10:30 AM
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    GUESS I FUBAR'D THE THREAD TO THIS INSTALLMENT.

    THIS SHOULD READ, KATRINA DAY 2, PART 2.


    D'oh

    HH
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk onefootoutthedoor's Avatar
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    Maybe one of the mods can fix it for you. I know you've heard it alot already, but what you're doing is very admirable. The fact that you can put your experience here this soon is amazing. Thanks man.

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing! vh_chick's Avatar
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    09.05.15 @ 07:55 AM
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    God bless you and your team, HH.

    Shari
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk fast98dodge's Avatar
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    Thanks again for posting your amazing experiences...
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  8. #8
    Sinner's Swing! racefan8's Avatar
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    Stunning.
    Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
    Compassion is the basis of all morality.
    The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    Thank you.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  10. #10
    Hot For Teacher riddick's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 08:29 PM
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    What a amasing story of heroism, well done to you and your team HH, you should really write a book about your experiences.

    Scott.

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    I can't seem to put into words what I felt reading this. I don't understand how cruel some of the people were to each other during the aftermath of this storm. Your team and you and the bravery you have shown is more of what is needed at times like this. It's really a shame that the news crew didn't focus more on the wonderful people like you instead of everything that was wrong. While I know we need to know what needs to be fixed when things are going wrong, we needed with a storm like this to hear of the people like you that give more hope. We show enough of a negative face to the world, why can't the press focus a little more on what the best of our people?
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    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    07.30.17 @ 08:59 PM
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    Here is the pic of Fats Domino that HH was kind enough to send me. I beleive that is Hurricane Halen to the right of Fats.

    Hurricane Halen and Fats Domino
    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing! Sunya's Avatar
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    Thanks LLFHS. I never realized Fats was so short. Ok dumb question. Which right? Fats right side as we look at the photo or his real right?
    "Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of Congress... But I repeat myself."
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    Atomic Punk stilleddiesangel's Avatar
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    08.25.17 @ 05:45 PM
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    This is getting harder and harder to read and to take in. Facing the reality of the situation from someone like you HH, is gut wrenchingly heartbreaking, especially beginning to know the god awful, but necessary, choices that had to be made.

    Both you and all your collegues are amazing individuals.
    ****Texas - Home Of My Heart****

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Incredible job HH. It's bringing tears to my eyes just reading it. I can't imagine having to make those decisions.

 

 

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