Volunteering at ESD

No matter your skills or interests, there's a way for you to participate in the creation and manifestation of Black Rock City, both at the event and year-round.

Volunteering at ESD

Postby emt740 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:45 pm

I've never been to a burn and to be honest I might not attend a burn unless to volunteer at ESD. I'm used to working 12-16 hour shifts as an EMT in California. I'm excited to meet new people and experience BM and I was curious if anyone had experience at ESD, if it's a good idea to volunteer as someone who's main reason is to be there for EMS and any other suggestions?
Thanks much everybody!
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby trilobyte » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:59 pm

Personally, I don't think it's a good idea for a person to become heavily committed to volunteering for anything during their first year on the playa. The playa's a weird and freaky place. Aside from it being a harsh, high altitude desert environment that can take some getting used to all on its own, it's a bizarre and crazy place that can take some time getting acclimated to. Time can be a strange and difficult thing to keep track of, and through no fault of your own you could end up being completely unreliable. Or the struggles you go through in order to meet your commitments could negatively affect your experience.

In my first year on the playa, my campmates explained it as a sort of pay-it-forward scheme. Your first year on the playa is a gift. Come out to the event with as few commitments and as few expectations as you can possibly have. Once you're in Black Rock City, go nuts! Have fun! And if you're feeling the desire (and have the energy), volunteer. There are numerous walk-up volunteering options within Black Rock City, if not with a camp near where you camp, then come to the Volunteer Resource Center (next to playa info at Center Camp). If you connect with the event and choose to come back after that, then go nuts and participate and volunteer as much as you care to (and pay it forward for future new burner campmates).

However, if you are planning on purchasing tickets and making plans to come out to Burning Man and want to volunteer anyways, go here to find out more and register to volunteer with emergency services.
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby emt740 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:36 pm

What I'm running into is the fact that I'm not looking to have the Burning Man experience. I'd love to be there, experience the strange and freaky place that is the playa, but from the ESD, public safety perspective. Does it make more sense to work with HGH? Or volunteer at ESD?
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby trilobyte » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:51 pm

It doesn't make any sense for you to even be there under those circumstances. To the best of my understanding, Burning Man is not having any trouble finding highly trained doctors, nurses, and EMT's who are interested in participating in the event and working shifts.
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby emt740 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:03 pm

That sounds accurate. Thanks for the advice!
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby Savannah » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:20 am

I volunteer for ESD and I love it. It's one of my top experiences on the playa.

However, most of us discourage biting off more than one can chew the first year, and (in keeping with that) Volunteer Coordinators might not give you a whole lot of hours. Being overworked is not a very good way to spend a first Burn. First Burns tend to involve a particularly uneven use of time, and difficulties with acclimation. With subsequent Burns, people start to learn how they function out there.

If you do decide to volunteer for ESD, try just 1 or 2 shifts. If you get out there and are doing fine with shifts you've registered for, you can often add an additional shift once you're out there, particularly on Burn weekend.

emt740 wrote:What I'm running into is the fact that I'm not looking to have the Burning Man experience. I'd love to be there, experience the strange and freaky place that is the playa, but from the ESD, public safety perspective. Does it make more sense to work with HGH? Or volunteer at ESD?


HGH has advanced life support, are near Center Camp and they're paid workers; ESD still has MDs, RNs, EMTs etc (but they have very basic equipment) at stations 9 and 3, and they are volunteers. I can't rightly say what it's like to work for HGH--I've not worked for them, but I have admired their operation from a doorway a dozen times. It's impressive.

If you're not really looking to have the "Burning Man experience", you might consider leaving a spot for an EMT for who does. :)

Also--you kinda will end up getting some Burning Man on you. So . . . don't go unless you want Burning Man under your nails.

Welcome to the board. :)
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby emt740 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:10 am

Hey Thanks Y'all! That was the exact advice I came here for! I think I'll just let go of the EMS side of things and let loose. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna stick with it and just enjoy my first burn!
Thanks and have a safe year!
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby MyDearFriend » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:36 am

emt740 wrote:Hey Thanks Y'all! That was the exact advice I came here for! I think I'll just let go of the EMS side of things and let loose. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna stick with it and just enjoy my first burn!
Thanks and have a safe year!


HA!!!! I know it from your first post: you ARE coming to the Burn to Burn, so... do it. Sign up for 3 eight-hour shifts at one of the Med Stations. You will find a temporary refuge there as you resume the illusion of being a Person Who Knows What He Is Doing :lol: :lol: :lol: and you will also experience the joy of practicing your vocation with an open heart. It is very different out there.
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:40 pm

EMTs are crazy to begin with. There's that adrenaline thing that goes on. All I can say is that Scott was recruited as a blue dot ranger, and the emergency medical experience was the center of his burn. There I other things I could say, but I wont.
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Re: Volunteering at ESD

Postby Savannah » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:33 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:
emt740 wrote:Hey Thanks Y'all! That was the exact advice I came here for! I think I'll just let go of the EMS side of things and let loose. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna stick with it and just enjoy my first burn!
Thanks and have a safe year!


HA!!!! I know it from your first post: you ARE coming to the Burn to Burn, so... do it. Sign up for 3 eight-hour shifts at one of the Med Stations. You will find a temporary refuge there as you resume the illusion of being a Person Who Knows What He Is Doing :lol: :lol: :lol: and you will also experience the joy of practicing your vocation with an open heart. It is very different out there.


Clarification/Addendum: MyDearFriend is absolutely correct; ESD allows three eight-hour shifts even your first year. If ESD thinks it's not too much for most personnel, clearly it isn't. (They are a very well-organized department, and if that wasn't working out, they wouldn't do it.)

And as Fishy says, EMTs are crazy, so. ;)
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