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Originally posted by westcoast
Okay, when I first saw this story I got pretty ticked off and agreed with everyone calling these responders cowards. I am an EMT/Firefighter and would NEVER hesitate to step in and try to save someones life.
But then, I looked more closely at the story and thought about it. I was also a dispatcher and teach first responders.
FIRST: Whenever there is a suicide attempt, the police go in first while fire/ems stage to make sure that the 'scene is secure'. This was a suicide attempt. The man was trying to kill himself, he did not 'need' rescuing, he needed someone to gain physical control over him and drag him to shore against his will.
SECOND: He was 150 yards from the shore. Think about that. A football field is 100 yards. Could YOU swim the length of one-and-a-half football fields in cold water and not need rescuing yourself?
THIRD: Once you crossed that 150 yards of cold water, you now have a suicidal man you have to fight with (in cold, deep water) not knowing how big, how crazy or violent he was. You don't even know if he might have a weapon.
FOURTH: IF you were able to gain control over him without being drowned yourself, you would then have to drage his sorry butt back another 150 yards to shore.
I don't know about you, but unless you were an olympic level swimmer with some very specific training you wouldn't have a chance in hell of even attempting this and come out alive.
So while on the surface of the story, especially given the headline, it is easy to judge, after thinking about this I don't see what they could have possibly done from the shore without specialized equipment and training. This would have HAD to be done from a boat where you could maintain control without being in the water and vulnerable.
No. This isn't a case of cowards. This is a case of a man who chose to end his life and an emergency department that apparantly was not equiped or trained for a water rescue. If there is any place for blame, it is on the man who chose these actions and the admin that failed to be prepared to react to it. I am quite certain that those heros standing on the shore that night will suffer nightmares for the inablility to act, as is their nature.