I can always count on my friend Christina Randall, Wildfire Mitigation Administrator with the City of Colorado Springs Fire Department for a jaw dropping mitigation story, and last Friday, she didn't disappoint. As I hungrily munched on egg rolls and wonton soup at lunch, she casually mentioned a recent milestone framed around some trivia; their eleven-month cumulative neighborhood chipping equaled the weight of 17,482 second graders (the vision of my seven-year-old niece Julia and more than 17,000 of her friends, was more than I could wrap my mind around). As you can imagine, I nearly choked on the wonton I'd just taken a bite of.
With a smirk the size of Pikes Peak (the 14,115 foot mountain to the west of where we were having lunch), Christina laughed and said while recently working on a monthly report for Fire Marshal Brett Lacey, she found their year-to-date neighborhood chipping at 3,418 homes, totaled a whopping 568 tons. Out of curiosity, she'd done a quick Internet search to see what things weigh in at 500 tons, and to her amazement found a graphic that provided many unusual bragging rights for the fire marshal's office. Those diverse comparisons included:
- 17,482 second graders
- 12 humpback whales
- 1 jetliner at takeoff
- 285 SUV’s
- 22 motor homes
- 100,000 ten pound bowling balls
In reality, the number of second graders could be significantly increased since CSFD's actual total was 68 tons more than the point of reference used in the graphic. So, in an attempt to help a friend get it correct, I dusted off my calculator and those unaccounted for 68 tons, not included in the graphic, increases the number of students (on average a second grader weighs 65 pounds) by 2,092, for a total of 19,574 second graders. Now that's something that should be part of the Guinness World Records.
After completing that calculation, I picked up the phone and called Santa to ask how many reindeer are equivalent to 568 tons and the jolly old guy told me to let Christina know that 3,786 reindeer bulls (average weight of 300 pounds) would be very close to that weight. That provides another visual we can all comprehend as we close out the year!
If you have a phenomenal example of a mitigation project send it our way, and let’s see how high the bar can go in 2014. Who knows, next year there may be a project that equals the weight of every second grader in the U.S.