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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 10/4/2005 8:36:28 PM EDT
FEMA Suspends Phoenix Rescuers Over Arms

The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 4, 2005; 11:20 PM

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team has been suspended by a federal agency because it brought armed police officers for protection on hurricane relief missions.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's conduct code prohibits urban search-and-rescue teams from having guns.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called the reaction from FEMA "stunning, unbelievable, bewildering and outrageous."

Phoenix's team included four police officers who were deputized as U.S. marshals when they participated in relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

The team was credited with plucking more than 400 Katrina survivors from rooftops and freeway overpasses in flooded sections of New Orleans.

Phoenix officials are threatening to refuse deployments in the future or possibly pull out of the federal agency altogether unless the rules are changed to allow teams to bring their own security, even if that means police with guns.

Phoenix police were added to the team about a year ago, and officials say they are essential to protecting firefighters and FEMA's $1.4 million worth of equipment.

Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan said his department also is questioning the federal agency's ability to manage working conditions, security and communications.

"We have an obligation to provide the safest environment as we can," Khan said.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said he was dismayed by the suspension because the setup with the police officers seemed ideal.

"We think this was a model," he said. "We think all rescue teams should have armed escorts wherever they go, and we think this is something they should adopt nationwide."

FEMA relies on 28 elite teams like the Phoenix group to perform specialized rescue operations immediately after terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

According to the mayor, FEMA officials advised the team to bring U.S. marshals along on the initial trip.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, firefighters faced deployment to areas plagued by looting and lawlessness. Twice, Phoenix's team was confronted by law enforcement officers who refused to let them pass through their communities and told them to "get out or get shot," Gordon said.

Officials told the Phoenix team on Sept. 26 that their help was no longer needed after members of the group were seen embarking on a helicopter flight with a loaded shotgun while helping with the aftermath of Rita.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 9:13:51 PM EDT
This is absolute lunacy.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 1:26:47 AM EDT
This is what happens when someone tries to inject a common-sense solution to a problem. Especially if ti makes the .gov people look bad.
I.E. the Phx. unit brought their own security,for good reasons, FEMA didn't do this with other units,
so the Phx. unit get a turd swandwich from FEMA, for being more prepared then them.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 7:16:50 AM EDT
A suggested response from our team....

"No problem. We're sure you guys will figure this one out on your own, We're going home. Oh, and by the way, good luck!"
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 7:34:27 AM EDT

I'm proud that the Phoenix rescue teams did the right thing. Going into rescue/dangerous situations unprepared just means you're more than likely going to end up part of the problem.

Our guys were smart enough to know they needed protection.
Our guys were smart enough to act on it.
Our guys were smart enough to get the Phoenix PD deputized US marshalls to make it all legal.

So basically FEMA is saying US Marshalls aren't allowed to go in armed? What a load of shit.

It's too bad these guys are already home, we should have gotten people together to give them a hero's welcome coming back. They deserve it.

Link Posted: 10/5/2005 7:53:05 AM EDT
It is sad that in the face of all that is happening FEMA has the time ans resources to make this an issue. The people of NO are the ones that lose in the end.
Link Posted: 10/6/2005 11:36:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/6/2005 11:42:47 AM EDT
Fuck FEMA if they dont like it.

"You are going to be safe? WE CANT HAVE THAT!"
Link Posted: 10/6/2005 6:42:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bad_Aim:
Fuck FEMA ..."

Link Posted: 10/7/2005 5:22:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bad_Aim:
Fuck FEMA if they dont like it.

"You are going to be safe? WE CANT HAVE THAT!"

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