Filed under: Politics | Tags: Being Responsible, Bureaucracy, Political Correctness
This was a post from Small Dead Animals, a Canadian blog.
Reported in the U.K. Daily Mail:
41-year-old Simon Burgess was feeding swans in a shallow pond in Walpole Park in Gosport, England last year when he suffered an epileptic seizure and fell unconscious into the water. Twenty-five emergency personnel arrived on scene but Burgess remained floating face down, twenty-five feet from shore, for over half an hour after the first responders arrived.
Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
The tragic incident made headlines around the world, held up as a shocking example of ludicrously risk-averse Britain. And it prompted a coroner to demand that fire, police and ambulance services improve training to prevent a repeat.
The paper discovered that:
- The ‘ankle-deep’ rule was meant for fast-flowing water and is taken from guidelines drawn up to deal with floods.
- Other rescue agencies believe people can survive submerged for much longer than ten minutes – some will still try resuscitation at 90 minutes.
- The incident happened despite a previous reassurance from the Health and Safety Executive that firefighters would not face prosecution if they performed acts of heroism that break rules.
- Mr Burgess could have been reached within two minutes of emergency crews arriving at the scene – as proved by our reporter who went into the lake and waded 25ft to the spot where his body had been floating.