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Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 11, Issue 16 HEALTH AND SAFETY
August 7, 2007

unsub Info at the bottom...regular issue coming up after this issue of:


WE GET QUESTIONS...and we are here to pony up some answers about Health 
and Safety at the event, to help you with your playa planning. It's a 
JRS Special Edition: Health and Safety in BRC, brought to you by the 
Emergency Services Department of Black Rock City. There's info here for 
everyone, so take a peek!

Some helpful advice from our friends at the Nevada Highway Patrol
Health & Safety Section at
Health & Safety Q and A
Build your own street sign - Adopt an Intersection
Frequency coordination: Are you using high power radios on the playa?
Emergency contact on playa
"911" Service in Black Rock City - New for 2007!
Join us in B.E.D.
Bureau of Health Protection Services on playa
Diabetics: Dispose of your needles safely

Some helpful advice from our friends at the Nevada Highway Patrol

Every year the NHP helps hundreds of burners who get stranded or 
otherwise experience problems on the road to and from the event. At a 
recent meeting they let us know some super-helpful tips to avoid the 
most common problems that burners experience while on the road:

1) Fill your gas tank BEFORE heading out on 447. Turns out lots of 
people run out of gas on the way to or from the event. Its a long way 
and there are few gas stations between Gerlach and the rest of the 
civilized world... fuel up when you have the chance...and do it on the 
way IN. When the lines get long on the way out, folks apparently get 
tempted to try to "make it" to Fernley/Wadsworth, and end up running 
out. Keep it topped off.

2) The shoulders of 447 and the other rural highways have *very* soft 
shoulders and the chance of getting stuck is much higher than you 
expect, especially in the soft sands around Pyramid Lake. Only pull over 
if you absolutely have to, and if at all possible only pull over on 
fully developed gravel shoulders. This is especially important because...

3) ...the wait for tow trucks can be very long (think hours and hours). 
Sitting on the side of the road is a major bummer so please be careful.

4) Be sure any loads on your roof rack or trailers are tied down 
properly. This especially applies at the end of the event on the way 
home, when you may be tired and less careful about how you load and tie 
down. Taking a couple of extra minutes to tie down your load is a lot 
easier than scurrying about on the highway trying to pick up your gear 
while playing real life "Frogger" with the oncoming traffic. (More tips 
on securing your load for Exodus at

Health & Safety Section at

Are you aware there is a Health and Safety section of the Burning Man
web site?

Here you can read FAQs and information about a variety of topics, including:
Fuel and hazardous materials storage
Playa health and safety tips from the Nevada State Health Division
Playa foot
Rebar safety
Medic Alert bracelets
Sober on the playa
Playa Fires: Health Risk?
Playa first aid kit advice

...and, of course:
How to gift food at Burning Man: Obtaining a "Temporary Food 
Establishment Permit" from the Nevada State Health Division and
sharing food safely!

Check it out and be edified.

Health and Safety Q and A

Q: What do I do if I get hurt or sick on the playa?
A: We hope, of course, that you won't get sick or hurt...but being 
radically self-reliant also means remembering to bring a first aid kit 
and self-treating yourself and your campmates for minor first aid needs. 
Should your illness or injury be more severe than you can manage without 
help, there are Emergency Services medical stations on the 3:00 and 9:00 
plazas, and behind the Center Cafe at 6:00. Look for the neon blue cross 
on top of the buildings. These stations are staffed by emergency health 
are providers (doctors, nurses, medics, etc.) many donate their time and 
medical expertise as their gift to the community.

Q: What if they can't manage my problem?
A: If the on-site medical providers feel that you have a medical 
emergency that requires a higher level of care than can be provided on 
the playa, you may need to visit a hospital in Reno. Depending on the 
seriousness of your condition, that can be accomplished by either 
getting a ride from a friend, or being transported by an ambulance or 
helicopter. Remember to bring your ID, insurance card, cell phone, 
ticket stub, and wallet when you go, so you can take care of yourself 
accordingly. Also, note that if you get transported by ambulance or 
helicopter, you'll need to arrange for a friend to pick you up after 
your care. There are no shuttles from the hospitals back to the playa.

Q: Is there a clinic in Gerlach?
A: The Gerlach Medical Center <> is open 
Monday through Friday, 8 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 5 PM. The Gerlach Medical 
Center is a family medicine clinic offering limited urgent care, 
laboratory, x-ray, and women's health services.

Q: How much does it cost to see a doctor in Gerlach?
A: An average doctor visit usually costs between $100 and $300, plus the 
cost of any laboratory tests, x-rays, and prescriptions you may need. 
The clinic accepts insurance as well as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, 
traveller's checks, personal checks (with identification) or cash.

Q: Where can I get a prescription filled?
A: It's best to bring adequate supplies that you need to the playa. 
Should you need to get a prescription refilled, though, the closest 
pharmacies are in Fernley or Reno. The Gerlach Medical Clinic has a
"closed pharmacy", meaning they can only fill prescriptions written by 
their physicians during a visit to the clinic...not refills of your 
existing scrip.

Adopt-an-intersection in Black Rock City

As you might have noticed, people like to steal the street signs from 
BRC on Sunday on their way out of the city. While this may be a cool 
souvenir for some, it causes havoc for the medical units, fire trucks, 
Black Rock Rangers and other resources, obfuscating the location of 
those who need help in an emergency.

So how can you, as a participant, make a difference?
We'd really implore everyone, as a best-case-scenario, to leave the 
street signs where they are on your way out of the city. These beautiful 
signs are designed to be used in Black Rock City as part of our 
infrastructure -- not to be ready-made souvenirs. It is truly imperative 
that they stay up until at least daylight on Monday morning, and we're 
not trying to give permission to steal them (there are still folks 
working to take the infrastructure down, and yes, we'd like to know 
where we're going in an emergency, too). Obviously not everyone is 
guilty of stealing a street sign, but there will always be those that we are asking some of you wonderful and awesome burners to 
help by adopting an intersection.
The idea was inspired at last year's event when spontaneously 
participants improvised street signs to make it possible to navigate the 
city in absence of the originals. Using some cardboard, a marker, and 
some duct tape, it's possible to make a legible replacement with just a 
little effort if you find a sign that's missing. It will not only help 
all the emergency responders but it will also be of great help to your 
fellow citizens of Black Rock City. It's a small thing that makes a big 

Frequency coordination: Are you using high power radios on the playa?

Are you planning on using high power radio applications (greater than 5 
watts) on the playa? ESD coordinates spectrum and systems to alleviate 
and proactively avoid interference  between various projects on-playa 
and the Burning Man radio infrastructure.
Please note that in general,  we do not coordinate AM or FM broadcast 
radio, WiFi, HAM, FRS (aka Talkabouts), GMRS, BRS, MURS, CB, or RC 
bands. However, if you are planning a high power radio application in 
any of these bands, please let us know so we can isolate the signal in 
the RF noisefloor in case of interference.
Please contact ESD Communications via email at 911(at) if 
you have questions or to register your frequency.

Emergency contact on playa FAQ

Q: What if friends or family at home need to reach me for an emergency?
A: Unfortunately, given the nature of the event, finding a participant 
on the playa is usually quite challenging. Cell phones don't work, and 
people don't generally have satellite phones. There is only limited 
Internet access, and it can be spotty. Now add the fact that addresses 
on the playa are inexact even if you _do_ know where you're camping 
ahead of time, and finding a person's camp can become very difficult. 
Preparation will help you stay in touch in an emergency.

Q: How can friends or family send me a message?
A: Emergency messages should be sent to 911(at) . The 
message will be passed to the Black Rock Rangers, who if they have the 
extra resources will attempt to deliver it. We will also make the 
message available at Playa Info in Center Camp, so if you're awaiting 
news or expecting emergency transmissions, you might want to plan to 
check in each day.

Q: What details should be included in an emergency message?
A: The message should include first and last name, as well as any known 
nickname that you might go by around camp. It should also include the 
name of your theme camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.), and 
its location if known, along with your vehicle make/license plate and 
any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, "camp 
has a 20 foot inflatable duck," etc.)

A: What can prevent me from getting the message?
A: Just a few of the variables that can get in the way: your camp 
relocates, or nobody's ever in camp when we come seek you out;  your 
camp spot is obscured from view by other camps; the 20 foot inflatable 
duck deflates due to a leak; there are three camps with 20-foot 
inflatable ducks, and none of the neighbors know anyone named "Chris" 
because you have been introducing yourself all week as "Captain 
Underpants, Lord of the Duck People!" You get the picture.
In other words, you're heading to the middle of the desert, and there is 
no guarantee that we'll be able to deliver a message in an emergency; 
it's important to weigh that before you leave home. If you are awaiting 
news, you can actively check in at Playa Info, and in truly dire 
circumstances, you can take the bus into Gerlach to use the pay phone there.

"911" Service in Black Rock City

In recent years Burning Man as an event and as a community has grown, 
and the Emergency Services Department (ESD, for more info check out: ) has developed in tandem with Black 
Rock City in providing 911 services such as EMS, fire, mental health, 
and emergency communications. One service that ESD hasn't offered in the 
past is a remote way for theme camps, art projects, and participants to 
get help, but now we are able to participate in such an option.

While all the conventional ways to get help are still available (know 
your local Ranger or where the nearest Emergency Services Station is, 
for example), we wanted to enhance safety by providing an option for 
those who might have a specific concern or for those who just want be 
helpful to others in their neighborhood. Starting this year, the ESD 
will test a new method to call for emergency or Ranger assistance, by 
monitoring the license-free MURS (Multi User Radio Service) radio band.

MURS is a service similar to FRS (the frequencies that Motorola 
Talkabouts and similar radios use). As radio users can tell you, FRS is 
extremely overcrowded and in use by thousands of participants on the 
playa. FRS radios are also not powerful enough to effectively 
communicate throughout Black Rock City. MURS, in contrast, is currently 
not in common usage and operates at a higher power so it can communicate 
across the entire playa.

We hope that with the introduction of this "911" channel before MURS use 
becomes widespread will set the expectation that this channel will be 
for emergency use only. You will need to purchase your own MURS radio to 
contact 911, but its other 4 channels can also be used by you and other 
MURS radio owners. Large camps or villages might also choose to make one 
part of their group planning efforts and store it in a public way for 
neighborhood emergency use.

Why do I want one of these when my FRS radio works just fine?

* If you're part of a large theme camp it could be a good investment to 
have a MURS radio around  to call 911 for your group, especially if you 
have members who have known health issues or the risk of injury is of 
special concern.

* Large art projects working out on the open playa will be able to get 
help faster.

* Camps that are on the outer-rings of the city and are far from a 
Ranger outpost or Emergency Services station don't have to send runners 
for help when an emergency arises.

* The other 4 channels on MURS can be a great alternative to crowded FRS 
channels, especially if your camp has an art-car or event-wide project 
they want to coordinate.
* Emergency Services Dispatch cannot be reached on an FRS radio.

Calling 911

FOR ALL MURS USERS: we ask that all Burning Man participants respect 
that channel 5 will be used as a 911 channel only. While the other 
channels are fine for use as an alternative to FRS, we want to stress 
that channel 5 on MURS please be kept open for emergencies and not used 
for any other purpose.

Set your MURS radio to channel 5, code 11 (154.600 / CTCSS 97.4) to 
reach Black Rock City Emergency Services Dispatch. Using any other 
"privacy codes" on channel 5 will interfere with 911. Instead please 
choose channels 1-4 for personal use and share this information with new 
MURS users you meet.

If you have further questions or need help in finding a source for 
radios, please email for more information.

A partial list of compatible models:

Dakota Alert MURS portable (operational controls just like common FRS 
radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $89

Fostek MURS Radio (set-up is easy with just a few switches to set 
internally) $94
Motorola XV100 Business band radio (operational controls just like 
common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $189

(the list of suggested models in no way endorses them over other brands 
or compatible model radios)

Join us in B.E.D.

The Bureau of Erotic Discourse is seeking B.E.D. Buddies...come peek 
under our sheets!
Remember the signs in the porto-potties last year talking about 
preventing sexual assault? That was us! Remember the 'How to Get Laid at 
Burning Man' workshop last year? That was us too! Maybe you got a sassy 
button from us talking about how 'No Means No'? Great news! We're back 
with our sex-positive message for 2007, and B.E.D. needs YOU (and you 
too, hot stuff!) to help us. If you're gonna have sex at Burning Man, we 
want it to be incredible, consensual, hair-raising, amazing, consensual, 
hot, thrilling CONSENSUAL sex.

Get into B.E.D. at and check out 
who we are and how you can help! Be the first in your camp to own B.E.D. 
gear and show your support in two vital ways: you help fund our efforts 
and you also show the citizens of BRC that you care about preventing 
sexual assault in our fair city. See you in B.E.D.!"

Bureau of Health Protection Services on playa

For 10 years now a couple of very dedicated and positive members of 
Nevada State Health Division have been inspecting the Cafe and other 
theme camps that have large kitchens or gift food on the playa to make 
sure you stay healthy on the playa. This year they will be at Playa Info 
in the mornings from 9am to 10am, Monday through Friday of the event, so 
if you have any questions or need to pick up your permit feel free to 
drop by and chat with them. They also explore the event looking for 
kitchens to inspect and to give advice. Their goal is prevent problems 
so if you see them thank them and take their advice on food handling 
safety... they know their stuff!

Diabetics: Dispose of your needles safely

Diabetics: please don't put your used needles in the porta potties. 
Dropping your sharps into the porta potties, besides the obvious 
violation of the mantra "if it wasn't in your body..." is a public 
health hazard to the sanitation workers who have to deal with them 
further down the sanitation process. Please instead dispose of them 
safely in a sharps container at any of the three medical clinics on 
playa (center camp, 3 & Coral Reef, or 9 & Coral Reef). That way you get 
two bonus karma points for the price of one!

{Soundtrack to this JRS: C'mon, you already knew I'm that kind of dork: 
"Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. Duh.}

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