California Chief Makes Policy Change After Firefighters, Police Officers Watched Man Drown - News - @ JEMS.com


California Chief Makes Policy Change After Firefighters, Police Officers Watched Man Drown

Interim Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi directed staff to create a rescue policy after crew watched man drown


 
 

SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press | | Tuesday, May 31, 2011


VIDEOS

Multimedia Thumb

Policy Change After California Drowning

Firefighters and police officer watched man drown.
more >


Multimedia Thumb

Calif. Fire and Police Watch as Man Drowns

Authorities are now trying to explain why they had no choice but to stand on the shoreline.
more >





SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fire officials will change water rescue policy after crews did not try to save a suicidal man who waded into San Francisco Bay and died after about an hour in the frigid water, authorities said Tuesday.

Alameda Interim Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi called Monday's incident troubling and said he directed staff to write a new policy that would allow commanders at the scene to attempt a water rescue.

The previous policy strictly forbade such attempts. It was implemented after budget cuts forced the department to discontinue water rescue training and stop maintaining wetsuits and other rescue gear, D'Orazi said.

"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," he said. "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."

Fire crews and police watched as the man, identified by authorities only as an Alameda resident in his early 50s, stood up to his neck in the water at Crown Memorial State Beach, witnesses told KGO-TV. His lifeless body was pulled out about an hour later by a swimmer who went in after him.

"We expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him," Gary Barlow told the news station.

Perry Smith, another witness, said the man was visible from the shore and was looking at people.

A police official said the decision to not go in after the man was hard, but officers did not have the gear for the cold water and couldn't risk being pulled under themselves.

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

D'Orazi also said crews may have decided it was too risky to attempt the rescue, even if they had not been shackled by the restrictions on water rescues.

In addition to the new policy, Alameda fire personnel will receive training in water rescues, and rescue equipment will be inspected to make sure it is not damaged, D'Orazi said.

The Coast Guard was called to the scene, but the water was too shallow for a boat, according to Lynch. A Coast Guard helicopter was apparently not immediately available.

There are no lifeguards at the beach, said Isa Polt-Jones, a spokeswoman with the East Bay Regional Park District.

Signs at the park advise swimmers to enter the water at their own risk.



Related Links:


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Policy Change After California Drowning



Calif. Fire and Police Watch as Man Drowns


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, public image, legal issues

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

AMR Crew Rescues Mississippi Driver from Fiery Crash

Rescue during crash in Jackson is caught on video.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Tempe’s Drug Dilemma

Dealing with overdoses.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

I’m a Paramedic

Profile of a Northshore LIJ medic.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Cincinnati Overpass Collapse

Fatal pancake collapse occurs during demolition.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >