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Old 05-06-2011, 13:00   #46
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

It's very sad, and of course the family have my condolences. I don't know why this man wished to take his own life, but (regardless of his intention) it could now be said he gave his life for others, as hopefully now policy will enable rescue services to act to save more lives:

Quote:
and the city has indicated it will reinitiate training and immediately give on-scene commanders more leeway in responses to water distress calls.

The policy changes came one life too late.
http://www.fireengineering.com/index...429590728.html
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Old 05-06-2011, 15:59   #47
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

As you can see, the authorities are more interested in assigning blame than saving a life:


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News is breaking out all over today that the Alameda County Fire Department, which has a water rescue program, has released a statement clarifying that it wasn't involved with the drowning of a 52-year-old man Monday at Robert Crown Memorial Beach, in Alameda, Calif.
The department apparently sent out the release after numerous media reports confused the Alameda County Fire Department with the city of Alameda Fire Department, which just serves the city proper.
A press release sent out by the Alameda Police Department Monday night had said that it asked other agencies, including the Oakland Fire Department, the Alameda County Fire Department, and the East Bay Regional Park Police District for "assistance" getting Raymond Zack out of the water that day.
The county fire department's press release notes that it was never actually asked to "respond" to what appeared to be a suicide attempt by Zack at Crown Beach. But the city of Alameda's Fire Department did call the county department -- as well as a number of other agencies in the area -- "to find out what resources were available," Daren Olson, acting deputy chief of operations for the the Alameda Fire Department says. "The county fire department told us they didn't have a boat in the water and it would take at least 30 minutes to get to us. So we ultimately decided that the Coast Guard, which is closer and already had a boat in the water, would be the appropriate people to ask for assistance."
Unfortunately, the boat sent by the Coast Guard couldn't navigate the shallow waters off the beach and its helicopter was first at another incident and then had to re-fuel before getting to the scene an hour later. The Coast Guard did ask the Oakland Fire Department to send a different kind of boat, but canceled that request once Zack was brought in," Olson says.
By that time a swimmer was already bringing Zack's body back to shore.
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Old 06-06-2011, 16:21   #48
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

I think what I was hoping for in this forum was some discussion of the ethical, social and personal choice issues raised by this event. Richard Spindler of Latitude 38 wrote a good piece on this unfortunate event and asked readers for their opinions. I think that he as an arbitrary of how the conversation must proceed shows how "forums" are so full of misinformation and posturing.

For instance I read a thread about an obvious factory weld on a mast and it was infuriating. The guy bought a modest sailboat and they were suggesting he scuttle the deal.

I expect this post to be deleted.
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Old 06-06-2011, 16:38   #49
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

We were recently stopped at a police checkpoint for a doc inspection. No probable cause and of course we had our papers, as did the other twenty cars in front. Any police officer or Coast guard could have determined the man was possibly breaking some law and invoked an arrest. Was he on drugs or drunk? all or anything would have been a legitimate excuse to go in and drag the man out.
They chose to stand by and watch him drown. That is not just a failing of the forces on hand but a failing of society. We have elected the people that make these decisions and as voters we must carry the responsibility.
In my humble opinion as a failed suicide, he was in need of help and attention not death.
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Old 06-06-2011, 17:49   #50
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

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Originally Posted by Hillbillylad View Post
We were recently stopped at a police checkpoint for a doc inspection. No probable cause and of course we had our papers, as did the other twenty cars in front. Any police officer or Coast guard could have determined the man was possibly breaking some law and invoked an arrest. Was he on drugs or drunk? all or anything would have been a legitimate excuse to go in and drag the man out.
They chose to stand by and watch him drown. That is not just a failing of the forces on hand but a failing of society. We have elected the people that make these decisions and as voters we must carry the responsibility.
In my humble opinion as a failed suicide, he was in need of help and attention not death.
I agree, the source of the failure is within each of us. On this and on many more issues. There are no more 'them' it is all 'we.'
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Old 06-06-2011, 23:27   #51
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

One more well written perspective.

Oakland Tribune My Word: Man died from Alameda firefighter negligence and incompetence - Inside Bay Area
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Old 07-06-2011, 00:13   #52
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

here's the comment without an external link.


Oakland Tribune attribution:



IT IS VERY unfortunate and disgusting that a depressed man lost his life in the water off Crown Beach on Memorial Day because of the lack of appropriate response by the Alameda Fire Department.
I am a retired lieutenant from the Oakland Fire Department. As a lieutenant or captain we serve at an emergency scene as incident commanders until relieved by a battalion chief. We have the responsibility to handle all situations we encounter. We can order all necessary resources.
Situations fall into four classifications according to risk to personnel and probable outcome of the situation: Low risk, low reward; low risk, high reward; high risk, low reward; and high risk, high reward.
From the video of this sad scenario that I saw, this man was about 100-150 yards offshore in about 4-5.5 feet of water. This was not a water rescue; this was a case of wading out to the man, communicating with him and walking him back to the beach. This was not a man treading water in the Oakland-Alameda estuary, where danger to personnel is great. At Crown Beach you can wade out for 200 yards and still be knee-deep in water.
A police officer or a firefighter could have done this; maybe both if they were frightened. For any incident commander this situation falls into the category of low risk, high reward. End of story. This man died because of the negligence and incompetence of the Alameda Fire Department.

It is very upsetting that they are hiding behind lack of training and budget cuts. If they were so concerned about the safety of their firefighters, they could have walked across the street to Big Five Sporting Goods and purchased a $20 flotation device. What was needed in this situation was common sense, which apparently none of the professionals possessed. What would have happened if a jet from Oakland Airport ditched in a similar area and some passengers had injuries, but could not walk to the shore? Would the Fire Department leave them there?
Some will support the firefighters, claiming that they lacked training and risked violating policy. However, a firefighter takes an oath to protect life and property. It trumps policies. There are never policies for all situations. You need to have common sense.
What would happen if a child were in a pool struggling? Would Alameda firefighters not enter the pool for a rescue because they are not trained in water rescue?
One wonders whether police or firefighters tried to establish contact with the man, or whether mental health professionals were called? Or, if the situation seemed so dangerous to them, did they promptly contact the city of Oakland's Swift Water Rescue team? Action should have been taken.
The incident commander should be demoted. You certainly would not want to have this person making life-and-death decisions after this fatal mistake. The city of Alameda will be sued for millions of dollars, rightfully so.
I feel terrible for all those at the beach who experienced this sad loss of human life, for the 20-year-old woman who had to pull him out of the water when he had deceased, because Alameda Fire Department would still not go in, and for this depressed man who lost his life for no explainable reason. The worst part is the image of him turning around, looking back, as if to say, "Don't you care."

He just wanted someone to care.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:47   #53
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

It's not that, as some have said, that Californians are heartless or proof that society is falling apart, it's demonstrated (and unfortunate) human psychology. The bystander effect may be a partial explanation of what occurred (at least for the onlooker's behaviour).

Bystander effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The bystander effect was first demonstrated in the laboratory by John Darley and Bibb Latane in 1968 after they became interested in the topic following the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964.[3] These researchers launched a series of experiments that resulted in one of the strongest and most replicable effects in social psychology. In 12 years they had conducted four dozen experiments, all having the same results. In a typical experiment, the participant is either alone or among a group of other participants or confederates. An emergency situation is then staged. The researchers then measure how long it takes the participants to act, and whether or not they intervene at all. These experiments virtually always find that the presence of others inhibits helping, often by a large margin.[4] In 2008 a study by Mark Levine and Simon Crowther found that increasing group size inhibited intervention in a street violence scenario when bystanders were strangers but encouraged intervention when bystanders were friends. They also found that when gender identity is salient group size encouraged intervention when bystanders and victim shared social category membership. In addition, group size interacted with context-specific norms that both inhibit and encourage helping. The bystander effect is not a generic consequence of increasing group size. When bystanders share group-level psychological relationships, group size can encourage as well as inhibit helping"

Note that this experiment was in response to a case in 1964 (for many forum members the golden childhood years when everyone was strong, heroic, and nice to each other) where multiple people ignored a murder victim's cries for help or later walked/drove past her body. History is replete with examples of similar behaviour.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:39   #54
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

For me, this is a difficult question.
If I knew he was a lucid older person who was in pain and had decided to opt out, I would be forced to wish him well and walk away.
Not knowing, watching an elder acting in a way that appears irrational from the outside looking in, if there was any chance I could get to him and get back, they would have had to arrest me to stop me.
Laws and regulations be darned. I have to lay my head on my pillow at night, and like the person I am sleeping with. Had I stood there and watched, I would not be able to do that.
Peace.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:11   #55
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

Quote:
But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point.
I asked everyone in the crowd. No one saw any handcuffs! Of course, the psychic liability that lawyers and those who write 'rules', were everywhere, binding people's decency and common sense here.
I wonder, had someone gone out to the guy, would the firefighters and police have attempted to stop him or her from endangering themselves?
For each of the people who stood there and watched, I wish them weeks of nightmares about it. They have to live with their failure to save a man's life, all because of a 'policy'.
btw, I'm a former lifeguard.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:24   #56
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

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I have tossed the rules out twice in my 23 years, and got in some serious trouble for doing so.... My career being saved solely because of the negative press the department would have endured for firing me.
Does anyone else see what's wrong here? Rules. Rules that stop someone from doing the right thing. Rules written by CYA bureaucrats who probably aren't able to do the job they're writing the rules for. Rules that put policy over the sanctity of a human life.
The people who should have gotten in trouble over what the poster I've quoted did are the ones who wrote the rules, instead of thinking about what is truly important - saving someone's life.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:46   #57
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

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Originally Posted by canucksailor View Post
Does anyone else see what's wrong here? Rules. Rules that stop someone from doing the right thing. Rules written by CYA bureaucrats who probably aren't able to do the job they're writing the rules for. Rules that put policy over the sanctity of a human life.
The people who should have gotten in trouble over what the poster I've quoted did are the ones who wrote the rules, instead of thinking about what is truly important - saving someone's life.
It's not neccessarily "rules" that are the problem. The USA has a system of justice that has rewarded lawyers very well for bringing lawsuits to the degree that in the recent economic meltdown it was identified as one of the problems, too many people not actually producing anything and yet adding substantially to costs. The system can work very well in providing a way to punish through monetary awards those whose actions harm another. One downside is that the governments, and others know that no good deed goes unpunished. Unless they cross all their T's and dot all their I's they know that an act like saving someones life can turn into a punishing legal battle, one which can cost so much as to cripple an individual, corporation or government financially.

Going in and "rescueing" someone who is in fact acting under their own free will is tantamount to enforcing your will upon theirs. What if he starts fighting back when you are saving him? Are you prepared to deal with that and all it might entail? Once they are unconcious it's likely too late so what are you going to do? Assault them to force them out of the water? Yell platitudes at them? Sunny admonishments of a higher beings love?

It's easy to blame others for inaction from a distance.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:53   #58
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

overlapping jurisdictions cause death and crime. no one will go out to do that which is mebbe someone elses job. as for the good sam act--lol--- is for off duty medical and health care and such personnel to cover them from lawsuits of frivolous nature when they voluntarily save someone. is not for lay personnel. READ IT. also-- good samaritan act has been tested in court and lost. so--- goood luck if yer a dramatist trying not to kill self. ye will die. this is land of the lawsuit--- goood luck and fair winds--may you be free of psychological problems......
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:00   #59
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

Quote:
It's easy to blame others for inaction from a distance.
I have been there, in parallel situations. I have done what was needed to be done when others stood around, at risk to myself. I know I would have been in that water, I would have gone out to that man and, God willing, brought him back in.
As for
Quote:
"rescueing" someone who is in fact acting under their own free will is tantamount to enforcing your will upon theirs
The guy was apparently clinically depressed. That essentially means that he wasn't competent to make his own decisions.
And as for this new wave, self actualization adoration of 'free will' that permits someone to take his life because it's his 'choice': does anyone understand anymore that someone who rejects life isn't necessarily banging away on all eight cylinders?
Or has everyone drunk the kool-aid, because that's what it's sounding like.
Just what in hell is wrong with our society?
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:05   #60
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Re: Water Rescue Failure - SF

I do have great sympathy for anyone who ends up in that situation - but nonetheless my take is that if you are attempting Suicide then you have to accept some risk.........

and the responsibility for the outcome.
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