Thursday, November 22, 2012

Regulating relief

Via Glenn Reynolds, New York's regulators are going after the relief workers providing food to people displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

Bobby Eustace, an 11-year veteran with the city's fire department tells that on Sunday he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder 27 in the Bronx were issued a notice of violation for not maintaining restaurant standards in a tent set up in Breezy Point, Queens, to feed victims and first responders.

“It’s just a little ridiculous. The inspector came up and asked if we were wearing hairnets. I told him, ‘We have helmets. This is a disaster area,’” Eustace told “Then he asked is we had gloves and thermometers [for food]. I said, “Yeah, we have rectal and oral. Which one do you want?’ He wasn’t amused.”

Eustace says that the Health Department worker then checked off a list of violations at the relief tent, including not having an HVAC system and fire extinguisher.

The health department said that its purpose was to educate relief workers, not cite them for violations, but regulatory inspectors are not, as a subspecies, known for nuance. Their natural inclination is to intimidate people who are trying to, you know, do something.

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