Uit de notulen van de Shreveport gemeenteraad van 22 maart

Bron : http://www.shreveportla.gov/ccmin/32cm2011.htm#P4_71


Chief Crawford: Mr. Mayor, Council the gentlemen that you see with me and that are so sharply dressed in military-styled are actually Belgium firefighters that have been visiting with our department. You may have seen on the news for almost a week now, and they have been a great addition to say the least. Their training has shown in their not only visits to the station, they’ve actually gone out on calls with us and they’ve been able to witness some of our operational procedures and are hoping to take something back. One of the great testaments to the fire department and the City of Shreveport frankly is the fact that these gentlemen have chose cities like Dallas and Atlanta and some of the other major cities of America to visit, where they try to go to find those departments that are on the cutting edge, where they can really learn something and take back with them to be able to do their job better. And of all the cities in America, they chose Shreveport, Louisiana to come to. And I think that speaks volumes for our fire department, the brave men and women who put their lives on the line each day and our city as a whole the support that this council and the previous councils, this administration and previous administrations have given the department to be not only Class I fire department, the busiest fire department in Louisiana, which is something that garnered their attention. And so the leader of this group is a gentleman named Paul Vanlook, and I’m going to let him come up and address the Council, and send some messages from his country and maybe speak a little bit about his visit here and how much he’s enjoyed it.

Councilman O. Jenkins: Before he starts let me say, I don’t speak any Dutch, but - - - (The Chairman speaking in French welcomed the Dutch firefighters - - - unable to translate)

Chief Vanlook: As you know Belgium is a very small country, but half of us speak Dutch and the other half speaks French. And everybody when they’re 10 years old, they will learn to speak the other language from the country, so most are bi-lingual or three or four languages.

Chief Crawford: Could you answer him in what he said?

Chief Vanlook: (Responded to Councilman O. Jenkins’ good-natured remarks, in French, unable to translate)

Ms. Johnson: Translation?

Mayor Glover: Mr. Chairman, Bea is mad at both of y’all.

Councilman O. Jenkins: I think that’s because she has to keep notes of what we’re saying. So she’s going to have a little trouble writing that down.

Councilman Webb: I know you’ll be getting a phone call next week.

Chief Vanlook: But when I contacted Chief Crawford about a year ago, I got a quick reply from him, that he would look into our request. I called the Chief’s office, and I gave him a little more information about our organization, the fire reserves. Within two weeks, we got the final approval from him, and we started working on getting this group together to come over here. There was little hesitation about going to Shreveport because it was a little bit unknown, the northern part of Louisiana. We could look up the statistics on the website for the fire department, we could Google the internet and find some interesting information, but realizing that Shreveport may have been a little bit of a gray area on the tourist landscape. When we arrived last Wednesday, we were brought to the different fire stations and were assigned there to ride along with them, and we immediately noticed the diversity of what we saw here in the city. Just like probably every tourist that goes through the city on I-20 or I-49. The difference was that we were no ordinary visitors. We got to stay in the fire stations, and we could start our exchange of ideas and information. Then both firefighters could ask questions. Where was Belgium, how great was our fire station, why did we come here, what kind of equipment did we have? Well, they didn’t stop asking questions, and we talked for the last five days exchanging information that they could (inaudible). They gave us the chance to look behind the scene of a well-organized, well-equipped and very motivated fire department. The guys in the fire stations are proud to show that everything they do over there, they are proud to serve the neighborhood in which their station is, and they showed us that brotherhood in the fire service is not some (inaudible). So we as new found friends were accepted in the station, not as a bunch of strange talking foreigners from abroad, but were there to help without (inaudible) and guys that come over to help need to be fed very well. The southern hospitality will be in our stomach for the next couple of days, but will be in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Chief Crawford, Chief Sanders, members of the Shreveport Fire Department, thank you very much for having us over here and for the friends that we got in the last week, and I hope to meet you one day in European continent.

Councilman O. Jenkins: Thank you, that was great.

Councilman Webb: Chief Crawford, before you step away, I wanted to make a comment if I may. I think it’s great that they came. Kinda reminds me of like a firefighters convention. Like us elected officials sometimes go to conventions and pick up new ideas from other cities, and I’m sure this is been a learning experience for them, and I’m going to want a full report on what we learned from them, and maybe we can - - - y’all can go to Belgium.

Chief Crawford: When I get back from Belgium, I’ll give you that report.

Councilman Webb: Maybe y’all can learn some new ideas over there, because I know there’s bound to be some things that are going to make Shreveport a better fire department because of their visits.

Chief Crawford: Well one of the things that we’re looking into interestingly enough is this helmet that they use over there. Kind of a Darth Vader looking helmet, but it’s pretty much standard wear among European fire departments that deflect the heat, maybe somewhat better than what we use. So this is just one of those things that like you’re talking about, that maybe we can use and learn over here.

Mayor Glover: Mr. Chairman and members of the Council, I won’t outshine Chairman Jenkins by putting my French skills on display and I certainly won’t embarrass him by polishing off my Belgianeese…..Dutch, more appropriately. But I am delighted to be able to join these members of the City Council and all of the citizens of Shreveport in expressing our appreciation for you all coming to be able to share with us here in Shreveport and bringing with you your experience, your perspective form your native land, and sharing it with our firefighters, and also giving us an opportunity to be able to share a little bit about how we do fire service here in this corner of Northwest Louisiana as well. Chief as you mentioned you all have had a chance to be able to not only serve at the various fire stations, but you’ve also had a chance to be able to sample some of the Shreveport, Louisiana cuisine, and the one thing I want to tell you is that I’m glad that you all aren’t staying any longer than a week, because this is what happens when you eat too much Shreveport, Louisiana cooking. So, you guys will be leaving just in time, but on behalf of the City of Shreveport, on behalf of the Shreveport Fire Department, I want to present to you all a copy of the yearbook of the Shreveport Fire Department. It contains the history of this department, images of firefighters, both working and at leisure interacting, rescuing, saving, and it gives you a chance to be able to carry back some history, some memories, and hopefully something that you can look back on very fondly in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. So thank you all again for your time and for your service, and we look to hopefully, as Councilman Webb mentioned, to one day have an opportunity for our folks to get a chance to come and learn from you all just as you all have given us a chance to learn from you all hear. So thank you all again, take care, and God bless you.

Chief Vanlook: The mayors of our different cities - - - actually we present seven cities in Belgium, some of them have given us small tokens to give to you also to thank the City of Shreveport for having us. This is the shield of our city, Newport. It’s a coast city in Belgium. This is a whole bunch of pictures of us, and when you have time, you have to look at it.

Mayor Glover: Alright, thank you. Can you read that Mr. Chairman?

Councilman O. Jenkins: From here, I may have to borrow Councilman Webb’s glasses here, and get a good look at that thing from here.

Chief Vanlook: Our mayor of our village sent us with a flag of our village.

Mayor Glover: Thank you so much. Alright, and we have a flag here for you all as well. Chief, can we present that to this group as well?

Chief Crawford: Sure.

Mayor Glover: On behalf of the Shreveport Fire Department, City of Shreveport and the members of the City Council, it is our great pleasure to present to you this Shreveport Fire Department Flag for you all to take home and hopefully get a chance to (inaudible).

Chief Vanlook: I’d like to give special thanks to Chief Crawford for having us here. He is a leader of a very well organized, very motivated department, so I want to thank him, but I want to also thank all of the Shreveport firefighters.

Mayor Glover: Before you all take your seats, I need somebody to show us how this works.

Chief Crawford: We need somebody with a smaller head.

Councilman O. Jenkins: I was going to say, before we really needing emergency services (inaudible) that’s what we were worried about.

Mayor Glover: And that Councilwoman there is going to take a picture of us.

Chief Vanlook: It’s like an American fire helmet. If you for example have to work on a car crash or something where you have to protect your eyes, you were not able to put on safety goggles, we have those in there already. So we just have to flip them down and we are protected. And for example we have to detect a fire on the outside, where we have not put our breathing apparatus on yet, we can enter the fire closer by closing this heat protecting shield which I can see through, but you won’t see my shinning face. So we can get closer to the fire. Now if we have to put on our breathing apparatus, we just taken this face mask, we push it against our face, and it has two metal hooks that will flip into those (inaudible) here, and it’s attached to my face, and I can get in and start working the fire. Our battalion chiefs have the silver one, the firefighters have a yellow/orange one that glows in the dark.

Mayor Glover and Councilman O. Jenkins: Thank you.

Councilman Corbin: Do you think that with (inaudible) that maybe Council could get helmets like that?

Mayor Glover: That may not be such a bad idea. We may be able to get some britches like that as well. Thank you Chief. Thank you all. And Chief, we will await your further directions.

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