Nanny State rules let a man drown to protect workers from trying to save him

Discussion in 'Politics' started by tinydancer, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. tinydancer
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    tinydancer Diamond Member

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    Britain is our future unless we stop this crazy crap this side of the ocean. What an insane picture this must have been with all these "ER" and others standing by because of a rule that wouldn't let them go in and rescue a man dying in 3 feet of water.

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    This was Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, on an overcast lunchtime last March when no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer, descended on a 3½ft-deep model boating lake minutes after Simon Burgess, 41, fell into the water when he suffered a seizure. But as an inquest heard last week, he lay floating face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

    The reason? 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.

    Following the inquest, a Mail on Sunday investigation has now 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.

    Mr Burgess had been feeding swans from a plastic bag that blew into the lake. He went in to retrieve it and while he was in the water he had a fit and fell unconscious. Last week, Coroner David Horsley ruled his death was an accident on the balance of probabilities, but said there was a chance, ‘albeit a slim one’, he could have been saved had the emergency services intervened sooner.

    Fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls arrived at the scene within five minutes but refused to try to rescue Mr Burgess because, he told the inquest, his crew’s ‘Level 1’ training only allowed them to go in the water up to their ankles.

    Hampshire Fire and Rescue said all its firefighters were trained to Level 1, which includes ‘general water safety awareness and basic land-based rescue techniques’. To comply with the guidelines, they had to wait for a specialist water rescue team to arrive. Mr Nicholls said these officers were ‘Level 2-trained’, meaning they could ‘go in chest- high’. Only those who had completed the Level 3 course would be allowed to swim, however.

    Although it wasn’t made clear at the inquest, the rule about not entering water more than ankle-high is based entirely on guidelines drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for tackling flood emergencies.

    A Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokesman admitted the service knew the guideline was originally intended as advice to be followed at flood incidents – but the service insists firefighters apply it in ALL water-related incidents.

    Read more: Simon Burgess' body floats in Walpole Park pond as emergency workers stand and watch | Mail Online
     
  2. tinydancer
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    tinydancer Diamond Member

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    I want to make sure I'm in the copyright rules. Is this post ok?
     
  3. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    That wasn't result of any rules. It was the result of someone's stupidity.
     

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