Thursday, August 4, 2011

FOMC- Working Together Works Best/ Challenge Coin

I started off this week learning about the fire protection systems at both Fort Mchenry and Hampton. I worked together with some of the other law enforcement officers to prepare for the fire protection condition assessment. We gathered all needed documents together and made a copy of each, just in case the fire engineers from EBL desired a copy to look at. The documents we gathered consisted of the maps of both parks and where the fire hydrants were located on the parks. FOMC has a service wide contract with EBL to do condition assessments of the buildings.

My Chief Ranger had a BBQ at his home on Thursday and invited the law enforcement and administration division, the two divisions he takes care of, and myself. The BBQ was great. It offered a nice time for everyone to bond out of the gray and green uniform. Towards the end of the BBQ my chief told his team that we have been doing an awesome job all summer and he is grateful to have each one of us working with him. To show us just how proud he is to have us on his team, he presented each of us with a light blue FOMC & HAMP Visitor and Resource Protection polo and a challenge coin! I know that challenge coins are not just given away carelessly, so it was a great honor to receive it from my chief. It shows that hard work really does pay off in the end. It reminds and encourages me to continue the legacy of the National Park Service.

On August 1st, Don Sweet, the ProRanger Philadelphia Program Manager, arrived at Fort Mchenry. My chief and I welcomed Mr. Sweet and his lovely wife Victoria, walked them around the park, and briefed them on the history of the park. The beautiful sunny day was absolutely perfect for pictures! While walking around the fort, the quiet morning quickly turned into an exciting one for Mr. Sweet and his wife.

While walking on the pavement, we heard a car engine roar and immediately turned our heads towards the sound. It was then that we saw a young white male speeding down the road towards the main gate. With the 15 mph speed limit, this posed an immediate problem. My chief ranger instinctively shouted for the driver to slow down.The young man did in fact slow down only to see who was calling out, noticed it was being directed at him, then completely disregarded the ranger, rev-ed his engine and drove off. We were shocked at his utter disrespect for authority, but it did not stop there. We were astounded to find him driving back through the main gate five minutes later! My chief ranger walked over, called for back up, proceeded to ask the young man to pull over and called dispatch. The young man was not very compliant, and was lucky to be leaving with a written warning. As he was exiting the park, one of our rangers followed behind him in the Tahoe to ensure he was exiting the park. It was not until shortly after he exited did we find his copy of his written warning on the ground and realized he had thrown his written warning out the window! If we had seen it immediately, he would have been stopped again, but this time with a ticket for littering. After this incident, we have not seen him return to the park. After this interruption, we finished our walk around with Mr. Sweet and his wife, took a few more pictures, and said our farewells.

I ended my week by working with another ranger to develop an Incident Command System (ICS) for Defender's Day on September 10, 2011. It was a long and in depth process, but we put our heads together to come up with and write out a detailed list of the day's events. After that, we developed a clear chain of command and wrote out each person's role from the moment they arrive on scene until the time they are relieved. This allows everyone to be aware of where they are stationed at and what their individual roles are during the event. This helps ensure there is no confusion and the event runs smoothly. As a visual reference, we also used a map, like the one located on the left, and mapped out where everything, from the rope lines and checkpoints to the event areas, will be located at. This helps identify locations where all the activity will be taking place.

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