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AFTERBURN REPORT 2005

Safety Committee

The Safety Committee divides its time and focus between proactive and reactive safety measures. Reactive activity continues as part of the committee᾿s role since its inception in 2002 to respond to accidents or safety issues as they emerge, including investigation and mitigation of hazards and reviews of process and procedure for safety improvements. The committee’s proactive activity is detailed in this report. For more on the history and the organizational development of the Safety Committee, please see the 2002 AfterBurn report.


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Proactive efforts during 2005 included the joint Emergency First Responder program of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Emergency Services Department (ESD). This program started in 2004 when the ESD began organizing training for DPW staff to become Emergency First Responders. This 40-hour advanced first-aid class improved basic life support response time for DPW and other on-playa staff before and after the event. In 2005, the training extended to another group of approximately 20 DPW staff members. Since the certification is valid for only 2 years, in 2006 the focus will be on recertifying those already in the program. Also new for 2005, the Safety Committee organized free first-aid and CPR classes in San Francisco for Burning Man staff and volunteers. In response to the success of the CPR training program, which started in 2004, the ESD will continue to gift these classes as part of preparing staff to be self-reliant not only on the playa, but also year-round.

Additional proactive efforts included a review of emergency procedures for the Black Rock Station work ranch, including an audible warning system, a hazard map, and fuel storage safety. All these efforts were on-going in 2005, with continuing improvements and updates planned for 2006.


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Plans for 2006 also include implementation of DPW operator safety orientations and on-site safety reviews in the industry-standard “tailgate” format. Additional plans call for implementation of a video safety program to supplement the on-site training and experience of DPW staff and volunteers. This program is expected to mix content generated specifically for Burning Man with safety videos available off the shelf. These efforts will be monitored actively by the newly formed DPW safety-subcommittee, which will meet weekly and as needed for reactive safety needs before and after the event, when the DPW is at its most active operational level.

Additional OSHA compliance and a related self-review process are also planned for implementation in 2006.

Submitted by,
Joseph Pred End of page

Click here to read the 2004 Safety Committee report