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'Handcuffed by policy': Fire crews watch man die

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsWSB47, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    This is reminiscent of the firemen standing by watching a house burn down and I know the same old same old political spin will most likely take over but I don't care if it was policy or not. I know that if I worked for the fire or police dept. I would not have stood by and watch that guy do that. No one in the crowd did anything either. What the heck is wrong with people today?



     
  2. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    "This just strikes me as not just a problem with funding, but a problem with the culture of what's going on in our city, that no one would take the time and help this drowning man," Alameda resident Adam Gillitt told KGO.

    Nuff said.
     
  3. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey


    I know it's tempting to blame it on the fire department - or the bystanders....It's also easy to say, "I wouldn't have stood by...." but the truth is the blame, if there is blame to be placed, belongs squarely on the budget cuts which were made.

    This sentence here sums it all up -The previous policy was implemented after budget cuts forced the department to discontinue water rescue training and stop maintaining wetsuits and other rescue gear, D'Orazi said Tuesday

    We have no idea what the water conditions were like - or how big the man was or how strong or how determined he was. Let's not overlook the fact that the man's own family was present and they did nothing, either. I'd think there was a damn good reason for that, wouldn't you? Letting your own family member drown is even harder to do than letting a stranger drown, isn't it?

    I've been there - I've been part of a water rescue trying to bring in a suicidal person. They fight you - they are every bit as likely to pull you under as you are to pull them out - maybe more so since they are unconcerned with anyone's safety, including their own. If their own life doesn't matter to them you can be darn sure that your's doesn't either.

    Plus, if the water's cold, and you have no wet suit or other protection, you are placing yourself in grave danger....something we are all taught, first thing, that you are NOT supposed to do. You do so and you not only jeopardize your own life but the lives of every coworker on the scene with you. It is Rule #1 in rescue work - make sure the scene is secure before entering. A suicidal man in frigid water with an undertow - and a rescue team without wet suits, protective gear or water rescue training - this is NOT a secure scene.....this is the perfect set up for black arm bands, badge hoods and a fire department funeral.

    I vote "not their fault," on this one - this is not similar to the house which burnt down several months ago - those firemen had the proper equipement, the proper training and the scene did not pose an unnecessary risk to them. This one did.

    This is unfortunate, this is sad and this is a direct result of not having the right gear or the right training.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  4. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    Says the man that was on scene and also did nothing to help the man... the Irony is rich in this quote.

    My honest opinion, he decided to take his own life, and he did. Why is this the rescue personnel fault? Swim at your own risk, when you try to take your own life, you just may succeed.
     
  5. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Police Kill Man Trying To Commit Suicide
     
  6. khayos

    khayos In the Starting Line-Up

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    Shocker: people trying to commit suicide sometimes succeed!
     
  7. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    If the conditions were such that a rescue was unlikely or extremely dangerous then I would agree. We don't know that it was or wasn't and I will concede that it was at least somewhat dangerous and possibly quite a bit more. There have been many stories and accounts of rescues that went above the technical call of duty(by both pros and citizens) and I can remember footage of citizens jumping into icy waters to save a girl and other passengers going under in a plane crash that went short of a runway and landed at a bridge(for the life of me I can't remember the bridge).
    None of them had cold weather gear. I'm not trying to dictate that people should be required to be heroic. I don't want to judge but I can't help but thinking in days past that some would have attempted to save this guy.
     
  8. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    I think part of it is the situation. Clearly some people realized what was going on, but I have to think most did not. An adult is in water, not screaming for help, etc. -- would you think to go in and "save" him?

    otoh, if I'm out at the beach and see a little girl get swept off a jetty, I'm going to go in and try to get her, as I'm sure many other people would
     
  9. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    The situation undoubtedly played a big part in the crowd, police and firefighters reaction. But is rescue off the table because the guy threatened suicide? Yeah he did it to himself and I would feel a lot worse if a little girl drowned but this part of the story has been eating away at me.

    Was he looking for help one last time and when it didn't come he gave into his demons?
     
  10. chicowalker

    chicowalker Pro Bowl Player

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    I wasn't even referring to the suicide aspect of it, actually.

    I was referring to the fact that it's an adult man in water as opposed to somebody less capable who clearly is in trouble. I just skimmed the article, but it's not even clear to me what would lead a passerby to conclude he was in trouble.

    (I'm not referring to the police /firemen because of the reasons others have already put forth re. dangers, as opposed to policy. Maybe the suicide angle did impact them, I don't know.)
     
  11. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Possibly....and just as possibly he was screaming obscenities and threatening to drown anyone who attempted to come near him.

    I really, honestly, cannot understand why no one is outraged that this municipality sends it's rescue squads out into the world this unprepared. Obviously they are a town which is located near water - which means they are going to get water rescue type calls - to deny them water gear and protective clothing due to "budget cuts" is the height of disdain, not only for the welfare of their own employees but also for the health and safety of their entire town, any one of which may need rescuing at some point in time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  12. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    Maybe the report is playing up an angle and withed some facts. I really hope you're right because it's hard for me to fathom the alternative. Life and death situations are not the time to protest or play chicken with budgets. Clearly proper funding is a necessity and it would be as if not more wrong to dare or require rescuers to work in more dangerous situations(that could be made less dangerous) as it would be for rescuers to refuse because of policy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  13. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Was that San Franfreakshow? Maybe if they weren't paying for illegals by way of their sanctuary status they'd have the funds to buy a couple of cold water suits. Just sayin...

    If the guy wanted to end his life, so be it. While I personally wish people wouldn't do so, I think all free adult human beings do have the right to.

    I don't know the specifics about SF's financial problems, but generally speaking, most municipalities are broke. When you're broke, cuts have to be made. It could be that the place in question looked at the money needed to maintain water rescue, versus the actual amount of water rescues in recent years, and determined it wasn't an efficient use of resources. I'm guessing here. The point is that you can't always protect or account for everything, and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made.
     
  14. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    The way I read it was that they rewrote the policy in 2009 saying that there would be no more water rescues because there was no longer any protective gear, equipment or training being provided. There wasn't any protesting going on - the town had already cut the budget, done away with the training and equipment and policy was written that they didn't perform water rescues any longer.

    Interim Alameda Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi said that due to 2009 budget cuts his crews did not have the training or cold-water gear to go into the water.

    As for police, they didn't have the gear for the cold water and couldn't risk being pulled under.

    "Certainly this was tragic, but police officers are tasked with ensuring public safety, including the safety of personnel who are sent to try to resolve these kinds of situations," Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said.



    The town has since revised their policy - and their budget. A day late for this guy, however.

    A man drowned off Crown Beach Monday while fire crews and police stood by watching helplessly as rules and regulations prevented them from getting into the water. Now, the city plans to recertify firefighters for water rescues.

    Before, Alameda police and fire had to rely on the U.S. Coast Guard for water rescues. It was that way for two years, since budget cuts forced the city's fire boat out of the water and land-based water rescues along with it.

    The mayor and fire chief now say the rescue program will be reinstated and the city will spend the $20,000 to $40,000 to certify 16 firefighters in land-based water rescue tactics.

    Gilmore said the first responders are devastated about what happened Monday. Being forced to stand and do nothing was against their instincts
    .


    Alameda agrees to reinstate water rescue training after man drowns at Crown Beach | abc7news.com
     
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    Nope, sorry, Alameda. San Francisco takes care of it's own.


    The San Francisco Fire Department is one of the few in the Bay Area that certifies some of its personnel for water rescues. The department's spokeswoman says about 300 firefighters are certified. They are needed about once a week to help someone in the bay or ocean. Water rescue crews are equipped with boats, wet suits, paddle boards and other gear.
     
  16. wistahpatsfan

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    #75 Jersey

    It is a direct result of many things. While some blame can be placed there, the government budget cuts are not the sole reason this happened. The man trying to kill himself in the water was the main reason. The people standing idly by- including those in uniform- are another reason. Anybody could have done something, but for a variety of reasons and excuses, chose to do nothing.

    Everyone has a choice. The suicidee could have taken his meds that day. Any one or two of the rescue personnel could have said, "Screw the policy. I'm going in!" And any of the bystanders could have helped them.
     
  17. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #24 Jersey

    And any one of them could have died trying.....

    I did hear on the news earlier that the man who drowned weighed 270 pounds....that right there would be a deterrent for many people....not because they don't like overweight people but because you always weigh your chances of survival and success when you are faced with a dangerous situation - the fact is, the more someone outweighs you the more likely it is that you will A) not succeed in rescuing them and B) you will die trying.

    One of the reasons people will jump in a river or lake to save a drowning child is because they instinctively know that that child poses little danger to themselves - even if the kid fights them (and drowning people fight - even the ones who want to be saved) they can be easily overpowered and quickly dragged to safety.....not so a 270 pound man who's intent on killing himself.

    Plus, there's something about crowd mentality that prevents individuals from acting alone. Chances are if one or two people had come across this man drowning one of them would have done something and the other would have assisted......when there is a crowd of people the individuals who make up the crowd wait for someone else to "do something," and if one of them does not - the rest will not act, either. No one wants to be the first one or the only one. Numerous studies back this up.

    For all we know the cops and firefighters were keeping people out of the water in order to assure that no one else lost their life in what they knew was going to be a futile attempt. It seems they were waiting for the Coast Guard who were the ones responsible for water rescues - but the water was too shallow for their boat and their one helicopter was tied up in use some place else. Maybe they thought they'd show up in time.

    Maybe lots of things - but I blame no one for not attempting what would have, most likely, been a disasterous attempt at a rescue without the proper training and equipment.
     
  18. Holy Diver

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    #80 Jersey

    Alameda is the poster town for what happens when right wing policy and the real real world shake out.


    This goes WAY back to 1978 and Prop 13 (for thos eof you NON Cali people who believe this is a liberal haven) This has everything to do with property taxes, and the super majority it takes to raise them.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)


    This proposition has been slowly destroying Alameda for years. The High Schools can't afford sports, or musicm, and get cleaned by a single janitor every OTHER day.

    California's Budget Crisis: The Effects of Prop 13 - TIME




    what a wonderful land we live in, that produces twice the world's weapons, six times the worlds wars, screws the poor and gives breaks to rich people.



    we should all be so proud of what we have become. The A-holes of the planet Earth.
     

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