Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Lack of a Rescue

This is what we know.  Out in Alameda, California over the Memorial Day weekend....some guy walked up on the beach....and then walked straight into the Ocean.  The intent was to drown himself.  He was successful but not from drowning.  It was cold enough....that when he finally was pulled out....he had hypothermia.  He died at the hospital.

The curious thing is that numerous people were around on the beach to watch this.  They called 911.  The Fire Department arrived but they had been decertified from participating in a water rescue (they actually had orders not to get into the water).  The policy had been to call the Coast Guard, which they did.  But the location was not deep enough for their vessel to operate.  The guy eventually dragged to the shore.

Folks got hostile over the next couple of days over the lack of a rescue.  They asked reasons for the Fire Department's decertification.  The comeback from the city is that this was policy but they've now agreed to give the chief fireman at the scene the option of doing something.  The firemen though....will likely ask to be trained....thus bringing back into focus the cost of this training which is one of the problems that started the policy in the first place.

So far, after an hour of searching for the number of times that the firemen had been called out in Alameda for water rescues....I've been unable to find past occurrences.

Frankly, if this was the one and only time that such a rescue was required....I might question the necessity of paying for extra training or worrying about future events.  This isn't exactly a preferred method of suicide.  And the curious that the city merely said the chief firemen at the scene could make his own decision...which means he still might decide not to rescue the guy.  Full circle, if you ask me.  Only in America.