2016 The Scandals: Further Details

We have a number of updates on this year’s scandals.

The biggest one appears to be the Hooligan Attacks on White Ocean during the White Party. This has been picked up by all the usual EDM rags like Market WatchBusiness Insider, New York PostThe Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent, Russia Today.

It was front and center on the Drudge Report today – the #1 news site in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 7.26.36 AM

Of course, all these highly paid professional media outlets are just re-hashing the same story by the Reno Gazette Journal’s Burning Man beat reporter Jenny Kane. You could read 200 of them, and not get any different information or context.

Fortunately Burners.Me is here for free to fill you in with further details.

A Burner returning from the Playa informed us that the camp structure that collapsed was part of The Lost Hotel. They were notorious for their involvement building the Mega-Bucks Board Director camp Caravancicle, home of sherpa whistleblower Beth Lillie.

2014 lost hotel courtyard

The Lost Hotel courtyard, 2014

Photo: Lost Hotel/Facebook

2014. Lost Hotel is in the middle; Caravancicle’s camp is to the right. Both use canvas cube hotel rooms from a company reportedly financed by JT    Photo: Lost Hotel/Facebook

This is one hell of a coincidence. Two major incidents at Burning Man in two days – and they both relate to the two most notorious plug-n-play camps? Meanwhile, class war instigator Danger Ranger’s latest thing is high-profile homelessness

Who benefits from these two attacks? They seem to promote “traditional values of Burning Man” (ie. romanticized reminiscing of the Cacophony Society), at the expense of the BMorg 2.0 Flysalen vision of “advance your career with acid and networking”. The vandals don’t respect the “newer” Burning Man values like the Ten Principles – in particular, Leave No Trace, Civic Responsibility, and Radical Inclusion.

It seems like whoever did these attacks approached the job like a military operation. To pull this off without getting caught required detailed knowledge of the camp layout and movements. Some have said “that shows it must be an inside job”, because who but someone camping there would know this? This assumes that sparkle ponies flying in on private jets and paying $10k+ for hotel rooms get involved in the nitty-gritty of camp logistics. Most people staying in Fancy Camps at Burning Man would have no idea which lines are the main generator lines, which tanks are the fresh water, which trailers are the food storage, or how to obtain and operate glue guns. Each camp must provide a great deal of this type of information to the BMorg placement team, including number of people in camp, art cars, and diagrams of the camp layout.

The sabotage (or remarkably coincidental accident?) of the Lost Hotel seems to have dangerously backfired. Six people were injured, one so badly they had to be airlifted out – the media are not saying “to Reno”, which suggests the injuries were extremely severe and a specialist was required.

Should we kill people over the Ten Principles now that Decommodification is an LLC?  Is that how Burning Man makes the world a better place? Perhaps this is why the Satanists wanted a Jonestown segment when they launched their theme camp idea in 1996.

Plug-n-play has got out of control in recent years, ever since BMorg made a movie complaining about it called Spark. They moved almost immediately from throwing Playa)'(Skool under the bus for having RVs in their camp to promoting bus tour packages and concierge culture. We’ve seen the escalation of executive luxury from Chip Conley’s catered celebration camp to Billionaire’s Row with wristband-only cocktail bars and $54,000 a “head” swinger camps. Burning Man’s own airline now offers a VIP helicopter taxi service. Even the cops are cashing in, with BLM-branded art installations, multi-million dollar air-conditioned compounds and helicopter joyrides for their families to lavish dinners. We’ve had a War on EDM which saw long-time participants given the cold shoulder and resulted in the creation of a DMZ. And all of this is happening while Reno becomes the latest tax haven for oligarchs fleeing the Panama Papers scandal.

2016 police bull

No Chocotacos? Then we demand Art!

A little bird told me the reason why the cops love ChocoTacos so much.

It seems that a few years ago they came up with quite a successful undercover sting. Someone would roll into camp with an ice cream cart full of treats. They would hand them out to everyone who wanted one. The natural response from many Burner camps would be “thanks, can I offer you something?” The phony ice creamer would then ask for drugs (the scam would also work if the narc was under 21 and wanted an alcoholic beverage). The ice creamer would then leave the camp, which (if they were generous enough to gift something to the Burner) would mysteriously be raided by rangers and dogs a few minutes later.

Given that last year there were more than 600 citations which start at $525 each, it sounds like the Chocotacos are a solid investment for the people of Pershing County, even if they have to buy their own instead of getting them comped by Burners. We heard this year that the police could not provide adequate personnel to an active shooter situation elsewhere in Pershing, because everyone was too busy ogling titties writing cannabis citations at Burning Man.


We have had a comment from the Onceler about last year’s near-fatal medical situation, which sounds reasonably informed:

THE MONIQUE ROSE KETAMINE INCIDENT

The actors: Monique Rose (Paramedic HGH, Winnemucca, Deputy Pershing County Sheriff, Pershing County), Pat Songer (EMS Manager, HGH Winnemucca), Jim Parrish (CEO HGH, Winnemucca), Pershing County Sheriff’s Dept., Dr. Charles Stringham (Medical Director HGH, Winnemucca)

Incident: Deputy Monique Rose is trained as a paramedic and employed by Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca, NV who was deputized by Pershing County Sheriff’s Dept. supposedly dual role capacity at Burning Man 2015. Deputy Rose administered a lethal dose of Ketamine to a 110 lb. intoxicated female who was resisting arrest. The woman in custody went into respiratory failure twice and had to be resuscitated twice by medical personnel on scene and at the hospital. Luckily the patient lived.

Questions: First, Ketamine is not indicated in any form to subdue a noncompliant individual. Second, what was the determined does and route of administration? Did the individual have an IV in place? Third, where was Pat Songer (Supervisor) when this event occurred? Next, where did Deputy Rose get the Ketamine from, was she carrying her own narcotics working as a Deputy? Lastly, under which physician’s license was Deputy Rose operating under?

If Deputy Rose was operating under Dr. Charles Stringham (Medical Director of HGH, Winnemucca) than Dr. Stringham’s license should be reviewed to see if he allowed Deputy Rose to administer a drug, which has no indications for the event. Pat Songer also needs to accept accountability and responsibility for a paramedic who works under him who acted reckless, is dangerous, and almost killed a Burning Man participant. Finally, Jim Parrish CEO of Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca needs to answer for the actions of Dr. Stringham, Pat Songer, and Deputy Monique Rose as to how what if any corrective, administrative, or loss of employment occurred.

It is clear Deputy Rose actions were reckless and criminal in nature and should never be allowed to practice medicine again. If she is still employed by Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, NV than Pat Songer, Dr.Charles Stringham, and Jim Parrish are shielding her. Furthermore, she should never be allowed to function in any medical or civil capacity at a Burning Man event ever again.

In closing, Humboldt General Hospital, Winnemucca, NV used to have the contract for medical services at Burning Man and lost the contract two years ago to CrowdRx. Perhaps the powers at be were aware of the reckless, dangerous, arrogant actions of the paramedics who work under his leadership and wanted to avoid any such events…. Too bad Burning Man participants didn’t.

Wait a minute…“lost the contract two years ago to CrowdRX”. That’s my information too. So why isn’t this 2015 incident CrowdRX’s responsibility? What was anybody from Humboldt General doing there in 2015, after BMOrg publicly ditched them months before? Why does CrowdRX take over, somebody nearly dies, and immediately it’s the fault of the people no longer involved?

I don’t really get why Onceler wants to hate on all Burning Man participants for the incompetence of medical personnel. But, I do understand why many of the locals harbor resentment to Burning Man for all the trash they get dumped with – so maybe it’s related to that – “all Burners are bad because of this one Burner”. Or, perhaps this person has a hidden agenda…you’ll notice that in the list of “the actors” in their tale, nobody from CrowdRX or BMOrg is involved in any way. So where the hell were they, when their rivals are running around the festival injecting ketamine into disgruntled Burners?


Anyone needs a lawyer as a result of their Transformative Experience, call Lawyers For Burners.

It didn’t take long for video of The Man burning to be uploaded to YouTube. The big “O” ring surrounding The Man stayed intact right to the end, then fell as one piece into the flames (25:42).

Finally, we have some info on White Ocean and tantalizing nuggets of further stories from Anonymous Burner. Anybody hear about any of these?

These folks hire a different camp producer every year and stiff everyone that works for them.

Given the sabotage that happened to the camp, it has all the fingerprints of someone who knows camp infrastructure.

Putting rotten meat in the A/C units, bullion cubes in the water tanks they didn’t drain, cutting generator cables without frying, glue for door locks.

This wasn’t a spontaneous vandal attack or class warfare. IMHO, they stiffed the wrong individuals, someone who knows how to mess a camp up.

I wasn’t going this year but a generous friend gifted me a ticket and a seat on a plane for a 48 hour rock star tour that started yesterday at noon.

Still gathering the unpublished stories on this year’s event. Why did the chef for first camp leave early? She bailed, and she has done this for years

DMV shenanigans, why the Man didn’t spin, what was up with that small head and skinny arms? He looked like he was born with the Zika virus

BLM to Review Chocotacos, if BM Lifts Their Safety Game [Updates]

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Yesterday Burning Man bigwigs and BLM bigwigs got together to discuss Chocotacogate. According to the information leaked (by BMOrg?) to Jenny Kane at the RGJ: the BLM wanted $1 million+ in extra funding to build them the Blue Pit, an off-site VIP compound with 8 double rooms for visiting dignitaries; and this is all coming from one person, BLM special agent Dan Love.

Image: Burn.Life

Image: Burn.Life

This information – blasted widely around the world – was later quietly corrected by Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham in a radio interview on NPR, who said that actually, the BLM were just asking to increase the Infrastructure part of the budget from $600,000 to $1 million. This includes walkie talkies and other safety equipment. Part of this increase was to pay for expanded medical facilities, and only some was to provide VIP accommodation. The VIP component was coming from the highest levels of the Department of Interior, who naturally wanted to visit the event after all the media and lobbying campaigns by BMOrg. The request for food was the same as last year’s, which was met without complaint by BMOrg.

Still, the global media ran with the RGJ story, putting egg on the faces of the BLM. Some politicians were stirred to pile onto the story, including Harry Reid and Mark Amodei.

Yesterday, on the day of the meeting BLM’s Nevada Director Neil Kornze wrote a column for the RGJ, saying:

Many have read stories in recent days about a proposed lavish encampment for Bureau of Land Management employees working at the Burning Man festival that is held annually on public lands in the Nevada desert. These reports painted a troubling portrait of government employees seeking VIP accommodations and outlandish provisions. Like you, I was surprised and upset by much of what I read.

I have directed my team to take a top-to-bottom look at exactly what is needed to properly support BLM employees that have oversight responsibility for this enormous public event in a remote corner of Nevada. Our revised proposal will include only what is essential for our core operational needs for providing appropriate health, safety, and environmental safeguards on the playa. That is our commitment.

And while we undertake that review, we are also working to address critical safety and health issues at Burning Man. Over the past five years, the Burning Man event has nearly doubled in size. What was once a loosely organized gathering of a few thousand like-minded individuals is now an instant metropolis hosting 75,000 attendees, volunteers, and staff in one of the most remote corners of the American west. At its peak, Burning Man is the sixth largest city in Nevada, complete with a busy airport. Attendees come to the playa from around the world with their own ideas of what Burning Man is and ought to be.

This rapid evolution has dramatically increased the complexity of the BLM’s and Black Rock City LLC’s management responsibilities, and in recent years a series of incidents have made it clear that improvements need to be made. Last year, a total of 2,880 patients were treated for medical issues, including 71 drug overdoses, 67 trauma incidents, and 30 cases of alcohol poisoning. Tragically, a woman was killed last year when she was run over by an art car. Incidents of burglary, battery, and sexual assault have risen as the event has grown, and the BLM has also responded to flooding, aviation accidents, and out-of-control fires in recent years.

In March, the BLM raised twenty critical health, safety, and environmental issues with event organizers, including ensuring that on-site medical services are adequate to serve the vast population of Black Rock City. To date, Black Rock City LLC has only acknowledged seven of these important issues and has provided adequate plans and updates for just two.

In the coming days, the BLM will make an important course correction regarding what is needed to support our teams that are on the ground during the Burning Man event. It will also be necessary for the organizers of Burning Man to come to the table as serious partners in addressing the concerns that were identified for them months ago. We look forward to further dialogue on these issues. Our priority is to make sure that all burners come home safe and healthy.

[Source: RGJ]

Yesterday’s meeting was the first time BMOrg had met with BLM’s acting State Director John Ruhs.

From the Reno Gazette Journal:

Present at the meeting Wednesday from Burning Man were founder Larry Harvey; Marnee Benson, political affairs manager; Rosalie Barnes, agency relations and regulatory affairs manager; Ray Allen, attorney; and Goodell…For BLM, Ruhs was present along with Winnemucca district manager Gene Seidlitz, Nevada-Utah special agent in charge Dan Love and acting assistant state director Ann DeBlasi from Washington, D.C.

…the meeting centered on safety and security concerns, which have been repeatedly brought up in BLM statements to media. 

Rather than review the points of contention in documents obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal in June, Burning Man and BLM officials discussed some of the failures and successes of working together in years past.

It sounds like the meeting ended on a positive note, but didn’t go quite the way BMorg were expecting.

“There’s a lot of heat on everyone at the moment,” Goodell said after the 90-minute meeting. “The intention of the meeting probably changed in the past 24 hours.”

“We agreed to collaborate on what we can accomplish this year, and we looked back. We looked at the present and the past,” Goodell said. “We pointed out that there’s been a 40 percent increase in the event population and a 244 percent increase in cost for the permit,”

“This was a good meeting and an opportunity to discuss our mutual interests in coming up with a plan to support Burning Man, which is a truly unique cultural event on Public Lands. We are working to come up with a plan that is cost efficient and ensures public health and safety,” Ruhs said. “We are going to do all we can to make this year’s event a success. I am confident that BLM and BRC will be able to work together to address safety and environmental concerns.”

[Source: RGJ]

The meeting discussed 20 medical and safety issues. Only 2 have been resolved, and only 7 have even been acknowledged by BMOrg. The gates open in 50 days.

From the Las Vegas Review Journal‘s Washington DC bureau:

WASHINGTON – A month and a half before the scheduled start of this year’s desert festival, organizers of the annual Burning Man in Northern Nevada have yet to resolve more than 15 health and safety issues stemming from last year’s event, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Officials from the BLM and the Burning Man organization were meeting Wednesday in Reno to discuss outstanding issues in advance of the Aug. 30-Sept. 7 festival in the Black Rock Desert.

The federal agency has yet to issue a permit for the event. John Ruhs, the BLM acting Nevada state director, said all conditions raised in a post-event review last year must be addressed for the BLM to allow this year’s event to proceed.

Ruhs stopped short of saying the BLM might shut down Burning Man, expressing confidence an agreement could be worked out.

“We have a long ways to go yet but I’m pretty confident we will as always be able to address issues together and get to a good place with them,” Ruhs said in an interview.

But the agency took the unusual step of making public a letter listing the outstanding health and safety issues. Of 20 compiled following the 2014 festival, the BLM said 18 remain to be resolved including improvements to its medical program, transportation management and security surrounding the festival’s signature burn events.

“Last year, a total of 2,880 patients were treated for medical issues, including 71 drug overdoses, 67 trauma incidents and 30 cases of alcohol poisoning,” Ruhs said in the letter to the government affairs director of Black Rock City, LLC, the nonprofit that runs the festival. In addition, a woman from Wyoming was killed when she fell beneath a moving bus…

BLM officials on Wednesday denied they were in a tit-for-tat with Burning Man. The agency’s letter though makes a connection…

“We are now taking a top to bottom look at exactly what is needed,” Ruhs said, adding “While the BLM revises its statement of work, dialogue must also continue on a wide array of health, safety and environmental concerns raised by the BLM earlier this year.”

[Source: Las Vegas Review Journal]

Read the original letter from the BLM to BMOrg, outlining the concerns after last year’s event.

The 20 Safety, Health and Security Issues and Concerns are:

  1. BRC Medical Program
  2. BRC Fire, Rescue, Hazmat Programs
  3. Fatality Medical Response and On-Scene Management
  4. Transportation Management
  5. Art Project Management
  6. Security and Safety Plan for Scheduled Burn Events
  7. Sanitation Management
  8. Early Arrival Program
  9. D-Lot Design and Management
  10. Fuel Storage Management
  11. Deployment of Medical Resources
  12. Placement of Emergency Vehicles at the Airport
  13. Highway 34 Road Conditions
  14. Population Tracking and Reporting Program
  15. BRC Event Table of Organization
  16. BRC Event Management Program Description
  17. Participant Evacuation Contingency Plan
  18. Significant Incident Reporting
  19. Art Car operations
  20. Illicit narcotics

Time precludes me from going into much detail on this letter now, it warrants a post in itself as it reveals interesting details on a number of events last year, such as the art car fatality and Embrace burn. One thing in particular really jumped out:

Screenshot 2015-07-09 11.58.38

The letter makes frequent references to the 2014 HGH After Action Report (AAR). If anyone has a copy of that report, please send it in. It seems that HGH raised some concerns, these concerns went to the BLM who then raised them with BMOrg – who then fired HGH.

Did BMOrg try to scapegoat HGH here? Did they think that just ditching HGH would resolve the issues, since HGH are mentioned in many of them? Perhaps they didn’t like HGH giving the Feds a list of headaches problems to fix.

The number of patients being thrown around, 2,880, is very different from what has been reported in previous years. BMOrg’s own 2014 Afterburn report said there were 6,100 medical patients last year – more than double the number the government are using. The difference may be in this magic word “treated” – this year, there will be much less treatment provided on-site by CrowdRX.

This morning I have received an Anonymous tip-off, from someone with inside information about the medical discussions. Treat this as an unconfirmed rumor, but I trust the source.

It seems that, as usual, there is much more to the story than what we’re being told.

To recap, BMOrg ditched local providers Humboldt General, who have supported the event for the last 5 years; they replaced them with festival specialist CrowdRX, who have never done a remote location event except for one Phish concert in the 90’s. The official unofficial message seems to be “nothing will change, CrowdRX will just hire all the same people as last year”.

One thing the source revealed is that BMOrg have recently filed a public information request for Pat Songer’s records of HGH’s care at the previous years Burns. It doesn’t look like there’s going to be much continuity between medical services at Burning Man between 2014 and 2015, it’s a brave new world now.

The bombshell revelation from this source is to do with off-Playa medical treatment.

In previous years, your Burning Man ticket purchased you Medical Insurance at the event. If anything happened to you at Burning Man, even if you didn’t have insurance yourself, theirs would take care of your treatment.

In the past with HGH, all care was covered, on-Playa and transport off. If anything happened to you at Burning Man and you needed to be taken to a hospital, an HGH ambulance would take you to the nearest hospital (Reno). Humboldt’s plan was to treat everything they possibly could on-site at Black Rock City.

Image: American Med Flight

Image: American Med Flight

Now, if anything happens, you’ll have to be taken outside the event to a Default world hospital – most likely, still Reno/Sparks. By air. There will be no medical ground transportation for medical emergencies, the plan is air transport only. Fixed wing, no helicopters.

The price for an airlift with American Med Flight is $30,000.

The rumor is that certain members of the Org are getting a better rate if they become injured and need transport. This seems to approach the idea of “kickbacks”. There may also be issues of local county permitting, in relation to this business.

Screenshot 2015-07-09 12.24.26

This comment is from Anonymous Burner. We have no specific information on this arrangement.

Of course none of this should be a problem, since Obamacare means every person in the United States now has medical insurance. Someone else will pay! Oh, but what about the 20% of Burners from other countries? Hopefully they got travel insurance.

American Med Flight are offering a Burning Man insurance package. For only $25, if you do need their services, you won’t pay more than $7,500.

Towards the end of 2013, a former DPW manager blew the whistle on safety issues, then BMOrg lost their respected Emergency Services Director, Joseph Pred. Chaos seems to have ensued, with 18 major issues unresolved less than 2 months before the gates open. Let’s hope BMOrg can sort this out – in the circumstances, perhaps sticking with their existing partner HGH should be re-considered.


 

[Update 7/9/15 1:25pm]

Thanks to A Balanced Perspective for alerting us to the latest RGJ story, in which BMOrg say they have already responded to many of the BLMs concerns and there are a lot of falsehoods in the report. Keep reading for my comments.

[Update 7/9/15 4:47pm]

Someone Who Knows has given us this update:

HGH transported to Reno, just like REMSA did, not to Winnemucca. Careflight has been offering low cost membership that helps cover the whirly bird ride for years. That being said, fixed wing is actually a safer, more reliable option than helicopter in the black rock playa conditions and I highly doubt CrowdRX will not have ambulances

They sound like they do know. And I agree – surely there will be ambulances. Surely there will be helicopters. Coming soon.

[Update 7/9/15 5:30pm]

Francisco Ceballos from Humboldt General Hospital created a pro-active presentation last year, on what could be done to prevent injuries at Burning Man. One of their suggestions was to communicate with Burners via Burners.Me! Perhaps that may have led to their downfall…

Screenshot 2015-07-09 17.29.35

Francisco was right: we would be happy to share any information that could improve the safety and wellbeing of Burners.

[Update 7/9/15 6:30pm]

BMOrg have claimed that they sent a response to BLM addressing all 20 concerns in April. We call on them to share their documentation with all Burners, not just chosen journalists at the RGJ. Why are the “After Action Reports” not part of the “After Burn Reports”?

In April, Burning Man submitted a 40-page working document that addressed “every single point” that the BLM made, according to Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell…

Burning Man’s own assessment, which is put together in collaboration with various county, state and federal agencies, including the BLM, contradicts many of the BLM’s findings. According to the Burning Man’s series of “after action reports,” the BLM’s assessment has a number of inaccuracies, including:

All appropriate HAZMAT procedures were followed during the handling of bodily fluids following the fatal accident.

Emergency medical services vehicles were available at all times during the event, though Humboldt General Hospital did report a sustained 11 minutes during which time five of eight vehicles were dispatched and three were “idle.” Burning Man organizers are uncertain as to why the idle vehicles were not available for use during those 11 minutes.

Vehicles were not stranded during the delay, but instead were parked on the side of the road. Burning Man organizers at the time told participants that they had the option of going home, though most decided to wait until the weather and conditions improved.

Pyrotechnic effects, which usually include fireworks or explosive displays, are not allowed on art cars, though Burning Man does allow flame effects, which are automated fire features.

Burning Man also took issue with Kornze’s statement Wednesday that the San Francisco-based nonprofit had not addressed enough of the agency’s concerns, saying Burning Man staff have been working with a number of agencies to improve its operations.

Burning Man created a new emergency operations chief position, according to Graham, and hired a new medical services management provider, replacing Humboldt General Hospital.

[Source: RGJ]

Here’s what Acting Nevada State Director John Ruhs told them:

Screenshot 2015-07-09 18.28.12
13 items are still open. Item #20 is quite probably irresolvable, the BLM might as well drop it. BMOrg should cave to everything else, if they can sell 10,000 more tickets.
The BLM note in their letter that 13,545 people entered the event before it started with Early Access passes. Before the event opened, there were many people bicycling around sight-seeing and partying. Tut-tut!

 

CrowdRX Now Hiring 120 Licensed Nevadans

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burning-man-ambulance_11219452

CrowdRX have already received 300 applications for the positions. 3 medical directors have been appointed. CrowdRX will have as many as 10 ambulances and 2 planes at the event “during peak times”, with one of the planes and a helicopter on standby.

From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Although Burning Man outsourced medical support services management to a Pennsylvania-based company for this year’s event, the company intends to hire as many Silver State employees as it can.

Nevadan applicants who have experience working at the weeklong event in the Black Rock Desert will be considered before those who are inexperienced at Burning Man and are out-of-state, according to Andrew Bazos, CrowdRx board chairman… 

CrowdRx’s blueprint for managing medical support services will be very similar to Humboldt General Hospital’s and the company likely will hire nearly 100 percent Nevadans that have worked the event before, according to Bazos.

Already, CrowdRx has hired three medical directors for this year’s event.

The three directors include: emergency medicine physician Dr. Jeffrey Westin, formerly of Las Vegas and recent Reno transplant; University of Nevada, Las Vegas Chairman of Emergency Medicine Dr. Dale Carrison; and Dr. Eric Salk, medical director for CrowdRx, of Connecticut.

CrowdRx needs experienced employees given the extreme conditions of the Black Rock Desert, its isolation and the unique layout and organization of the annual event, Bazos said.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel out there,” he said…

“The comprehensive medical operation requires a large number of temporary staff. Physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs and non-clinical support staff treat nearly 3,000 injured and ill event participants. Given the complexity of the medical operation at Burning Man, CrowdRx is currently recruiting potential employees to staff the 2015 event,” the website said.

Interesting that CrowdRX thinks they only need to deal with “nearly 3,000” patients, when according to BMOrg 6,100 patients required medical treatment last year. And this year is likely to be even bigger than last year.

CrowdRx is asking that only applicants with current unrestricted state licensure/certification apply.

Medical staff treated more than 6,100 patients in 2014, according to Burning Man’s 2014 Afterburn report. The majority of incidents involved people with minor injuries, such as scrapes and burns, as well as dehydration.

Note this, plane owners thinking about flying their own aircraft out there for a week:

CrowdRx will have a maximum of 10 ambulances and two airplanes on the playa during peak demand times, though one of the airplanes will be on-call at times.

A helicopter also will be on call, though it will not be on-site unless required because of the helicopter’s vulnerability to damage in such an extreme environment.

Shifts will be longer, but fewer. This is to prevent medical staff wandering off, and getting lost in the Carnival of Smoke and Mirrors.

One of the changes that medical staff will notice this year is that they will be working fewer, longer shifts, as opposed to more shifters for shorter periods of time.

“In the past, people have done a shift and wandered off,” Bazos said.

With longer shifts, staff will be able to work their shifts and then spend the remainder of the time enjoying the event without the concern about a quick return to their post.

BMOrg, as usual, have decided to be less than transparent:

Burning Man has decided not to discuss the rest of the contract in detail.

Burning Man officials in April said that the contract amount would likely be in the same ballpark as the $455,000 contract that it had with Humboldt General Hospital, according to the 2014 Afterburn Report provided by Burning Man. Burning Man officials also would not disclose the length of the contract with CrowdRx.

Read the full article at the Reno Gazette Journal.

Previous coverage of the changes to the Medical team from Burners.Me:

Humboldt General Reveals Details of Medical Split

BMOrg, Humboldt cut contract early

Local Medics Ditched for Festival Specialists – Permit Now In Jeopardy?

crowdrx_small_web

hgh winnemucca

Last month we brought the news that BMOrg had cut out early from their half-million dollar annual contract with Humboldt General Hospital. Now we know why: they have ditched the local medical facility for CrowdRX, who specialize in providing medical services to festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo.

From the Reno Gazette-Journal, Burning Man Chooses New Medical Provider, BLM Concerned:

Burning Man has chosen a new, out-of-state medical support services provider to care for patients after considering the public health and safety concerns expressed by the Bureau of Land Management following last year’s Burn.

While glad to see that Burning Man is taking the initiative to make changes to address the BLM’s concerns, the concerns are not gone.

“I’m somewhat apprehensive with a new medical provider coming on with only four months before implementation,” said Gene Seidlitz, district manager for the BLM office based out of Winnemucca.

It’s a big deal that the BLM are apprehensive, because with just a few months to go until the start of the event, the Special Recreation Permit has still not been approved. It’s on Seidlitz’ desk, but he’s not signing…yet.

The BLM will not issue a special recreation permit to Burning Man until all concerns pertaining to public health and safety are addressed within the contract with CrowdRx, the new provider, Seidlitz said.

Burning Man has some time, as the permit is usually issued in June, according to Seidlitz.

“They have a permit in front of me, but it’s unsigned,” he said.

The BLM report addressing public health and safety during the 2014 Burning Man was not immediately available Wednesday for review. Seidlitz said it covered issues like the poor portable toilet sanitation and the lack of communication between Burning Man’s own emergency support staff and staff employed by the medical support services provider

No big deal, at least BMOrg have locked in the new provider…right? Wrong.

On Wednesday, Burning Man announced that it reached an agreement with CrowdRx, but no contract is in place since all of the “numbers” still have to be figured out, according to Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham. Officials have not revealed the contract amount or if it will be a one-year or multi-year contract.

What do they need to do to figure this out? Haven’t they been doing it for 30 years? What happens if they can’t negotiate a fair contract (something BMOrg are not exactly renowned for)?

hgh ems

Humboldt General Hospital spokesman Pat Songer said that while the hospital won’t suffer financially from the loss of the contract, it is a disappointing blow to the local community.

“It’s disappointing that Burning Man chose to work with an out-of-state company that’s unlicensed in Nevada. It’s disappointing for the state of Nevada,” Songer said. “They’re not licensed to provide ambulance services, they’re not licensed as a hospital in Nevada.”

BM CEO Marian Goodell is not concerned.

CrowdRx currently serves nearly 20,000 events nationwide, including a variety of musical festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo. Other clients include major athletic events, including the U.S. Open and various all-star major league events.

“CrowdRx has an excellent reputation for providing medical support for large public events across the country,” said Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell. “We’re looking forward to working with them now and into the future as Burning Man evolves and grows.”

Large public events across the country, huh? Is that where Burning Man is evolving and growing to?

Last year more than 4500 emergency calls were processed and over 6100 patients were treated medically, almost 10% of the total population. Black Rock City may have less crime than other places, but it sure seems to have more injuries and accidents. Most of the treatment was for dehydration, scrapes and cuts, or intoxication/overdose.

CrowdRX do not have any ambulance facilities in the area, and HGH won’t be making theirs available to the rival that cut their lunch. It doesn’t sound like CrowdRX have been to Burning Man, or really know much about what’s in store for them.

Burning Man will be a different animal for CrowdRx.

“Nevada is a new venture for us. We will look and see what we need,” [CrowdRX’s new president Carl] Monzo said.

The most rural environment the company had worked in its 23 years of experience was a Phish concert held in a rural part of New England in the 1990s, he said.

“When we’re dealing with something like Burning Man, I think we need to double and triple check because it’s not like there’s resources around the corner,” Monzo said. Black Rock City is located about two hours north of Reno in the Black Rock Desert.

It is possible that CrowdRx will reach out to local ambulance and hospital entities for collaboration, according to Monzo. Humboldt General Hospital is not interested in working with CrowdRx, according to Songer, the hospital’s spokesman

So they haven’t even looked to see what they need yet, let alone negotiated a contract – either for a year or multiple years? And they’re just assuming it will be no problem for them to collaborate with the local resources that they just screwed out of a contract? This does not sound very positive.

EMS1 has further details:

“Burning Man is a premier event with an outstanding level of service to its participants,” said CrowdRx President Carl Monzo. “We have decades of experience in live event medical care at large gatherings around the country and are excited to bring those skills to Burning Man.”

BMOrg spokesman Jim Graham is characteristically upbeat:

CrowdRx will be providing essentially the same services that Humboldt General Hospital did, though perhaps on a larger scale. Basic first aid will be available in more locations, according to Graham, and a central clinic will provide for more serious needs, such as broken bones, detoxication and dehydration…While Burning Man would like to make it as viable as possible for participants to stay on the playa while being treated, Graham said critical injuries will be treated at the nearest hospital to the playa: Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. [Source]

What has triggered this? There was a rumor last year that EPA had to be called to the site due to a biohazard problem that was so serious they were considering shutting the event down. I have not been able to substantiate that rumor, perhaps someone else can…or suggest another reason why BMOrg would ditch a local service provider who by all accounts has provided excellent service for the last four years.

In the comments at RGJ, RT insists there were no problems on the turf of “Poopervisor” Robbi Dobbs:

RT: Why on earth would they say that the porta potti service was anything other than exceptional? The trucks come by and powerwash them. They service each of the units 4 times a day. There are well over 1,000 units and they are overseen by the very efficient staff and volunteers on potti patrol. (Led by Robbi Dobbs the Poopervisor), Nearby camps, (Potti friends), stock the paper as needed and zip-tie the ones with accidents inside. Our camp, Sporks Are For Pussys, vowed to keep them clean and stocked but the USS crew did such an excellent job that we barely got a chance to do anything extra. Why was that in their article on medical services anyway?

Is this about health and safety concerns? Politics? Trying to maximize how far their tax-exempt dollars go? Or part of the strategic vision of Burning Man’s expansion over the next century?

From Reddit, we get some speculation about the case “for” the switch:

neil801:

Based on some experiences in 2014 and in talking with a number of friends and acquaintances:

Yellow Shirts, Medical staff at 3:00 & 9:00 = awesome!

Blue shirts, Humboldt = awful!

I speculate this was so because Yellow shirts are Burners, are passionate volunteers, and are experienced medical professionals in the default world. While blue shirts are paid individuals just going through another day at the office. I’m optimistic that CrowdRX will do a good job due to their festival experience – they might just ‘get’ Burning Man. Good-bye and good riddance to shitty Humboldt.

luvmuppet:

…the RGJ is pretty clueless on this one too. CrowdRX is basically providing stuff, but a lot of the very same people are going to be there anyway. HGH hired from all over the place, this isn’t going to be any different. In fact it might be better.. There were a lot of first timers that HGH had hired that were there for the money only. As in, had no ties to anything burner whatsoever, never been to the event, etc. were only there for one shift and that’s it. Rumor is that crowdrx is wanting to help hire on many of the ESD folks for a few shifts. So, in a sense, CrowdRX would be providing a WAY better service by bringing on veteran burners instead of putting an ad on Facebook/JEMS (HGH did this!) and hiring random people.

Burner Claire Gilles has been the lead nurse at Burning Man with HGH for the last several years. She has  raised her concerns with the BLM, and encourages the rest of us to do the same:

To whom it may concern,
I am very concerned about the BM. Org choice of new medical management for Burning Man 2015. I am an emergency room RN in Reno and I have volunteered for the last several years with HGH at Burning man as their lead RN. This new medical Management company is and will not be prepared to treat the high volume of critical patients that this event produces on a daily bases. They are unable to provide critical care or acute cardiac and trauma life support , not do they possess the transport equipment or staff to transport these patients off of the playa . Which means they will be utilizing 40-50 percent of our local EMS . When our local EMS is out of service running extended time transports back and forth between the Event they are unable to provide care in our community and our community will suffer for it. Because Crowd RX is not able to care for critically ill patients they will be transporting off playa significantly more people, this will add additional strain to our ER ‘s and hospitals ( which are already at max capacity ). Burning man takes place during an extremely busy time for Reno and sparks , the Rib cook off and our annual motor cycle jamboree to name just two. HGH provided consistently excellent , swift and skilled care not only on site but also managed transports for the patients that needed to be moved to a higher level of care . HGH is able to provide Critical care management on site, and frequently able to even treat and discharge some of these patients back to their playa homes. The staff at ramparts even managed to make sure their discharged patients had follow up care while at the Burn. Because HGH is local and respected within Northern Nevada they had the ability to connect with critical care air services and local physicians outside of Black rock city. They even provided limited medications for patients on a daily bases while on playa . Due to their proximity to Gerlach , HGH was able to restock any supplies and medications daily and maintain consistent quality care and service. HGH is local and loved and understands not only the needs of black rock city but of the hospital systems in Reno and sparks and was able to provide excellent care without overwhelming our local ER’s and staff. I ask you as a native Nevadan , a long time Burner and a medical professional to restrict Crowd RX from providing care for this event. The residents of Black rock city and Reno, sparks, Fernely and Fallon deserve better…

I’d like to add one more item to ponder with regards to the new Medical management at Burning Man. Crowd RX is an out of state corporation. They are providing care at Burning man simply to make a profit. Do they care about the reputation of Nevada ? Our local economy thrives on tourism. Who better to provide care for tens of thousands of guests in our state than the people who live and take pride in Nevada. Why should we allow an outside agency with no experience and no ties to our community be paid to provide what will likely be poor care for the biggest annual revenue generating event in Northern Nevada? Keep Health care at the burn Local! Support HGH and tell BLM Nevadans should be taking care of our welcomed Guests !! Because we quite frankly do it better and we want them to return to their homes across the U.S. and the globe enthusiastic praise for this great state!

This is contact info the BLM who will be determining if Crowd RX meets the expectations needed for safe care during this event. Please email or call with your opinion! 

Winnemucca District Office
5100 East Winnemucca Blvd.
Winnemucca, NV 89445
Phone: 775-623-1500
Fax: 775-623-1503
Email: wfoweb@blm.gov
Office hours: 7:30 am-4:30 pm, M-F