Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's hard to be lighthearted and funny when a Japanese city of one million lies in ruins from a tsunami, and people sling bombs back and forth in Libya. If I let disasters rule my blog though, I would always be writing doom and gloom because tsunamis are a terrible fact of life, and people aren't going to stop slinging bombs at each other any time soon. So life goes on, and all I can do is hope that someone is smart enough to deal with these tragedies.

The disaster in Japan captured my attention because I have a friend that lives in Sendai with his family. I emailed a mutual friend on the other side of the island, and she was unable to contact him because all services had been disrupted by the quake. Google person finder had no information on his whereabouts as of this morning. Only messages from friends and family asking him to contact them. Not good.

About two o'clock this afternoon I received word that he and his family have been located. They are staying in a community centre because their home was damaged, but they are all safe. He had been near the beach fifteen minutes before the quake, but was out of the danger area when the tsunami struck. Thousands of others were not so fortunate, and I'm sure the toll will rise.

If you want to help with donations, here is a website that links to various aid organizations. The Japanese are resilient, resourceful, and as well prepared as any nation I know of, but some forces of nature are just unstoppable.

On the home front, the CAFC's Government Relations Week starts on the 21st, and the CAFC will be promoting the $3000 volunteer firefighter tax credit, among other things. If you haven't done your part and taken two minutes to click your support, there's no time like the present.

I doubt that M-635, the parliamentary motion in support of volunteer firefighters, will be on the CAFC promotions agenda, but you never know. The firefighting world has been ominously silent on this topic, and as far as I can tell, has not put much official support behind it. My attempts to spread the word like a wildfire in a snowless spring have been about as effective as a wet match on seaweed. MP Rafferty did another press release on the motion last Friday, but the media did not pick up on it. MP Brian Jean did not respond to my email asking for his support of the motion. He is perhaps more concerned about a possible spring election than throwing support behind a motion tabled by an opposing party.

The worst part is being ignored. If MP Jean, or the OAFC, or the CAFC would come out and say they think M-635 is a lousy idea, I would at least be able to make fun of them for being so daft. But I don't know if they think it's a lousy idea. For all I know, they don't think about it at all.

Interestingly enough, the IAFF did take notice. In my March 1 post, I was doubtful that their letter to MP Rafferty asking for similar federal support was good news for the volunteer effort. The IAFF represents career firefighters, and has not always had friendly relations with the volunteer side of the service. It was suggested to me recently though, that the fact that the IAFF wrote a letter should be considered as good news. We at least got their attention for a few minutes. That's more than I can say for any other fire service organization.

On the positive side of things, you can still support the motion by writing your MP. It only takes three minutes.

On another positive note, Dave Caroll may bring his Everyday Heroes tour to Thunder Bay. He's the United Breaks Guitars guy. If you haven't seen his trilogy of videos yet, you've missed an important part of Canadian cultural history. I spoke with one of his agents on Friday, and there is a chance we can arrange for a tour stop in Thunder Bay, possibly in the fall. You can read about the tour, and how to contact Dave's organization here.

You may remember me jesting about M-635 going viral. Dave harnessed the power of social networking, and whether intentionally or not, created a customer service tsunami that got the attention of the world.

Time to take lessons on virtually viral tsunami creation.

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