I read a report today on a firefighter who died in the Line of Duty today. The firefighter was in the area when the call came in for a possible drowning. The firefighter got on the radio and told his Chief he was in the area. The firefighter died as a result of his attempted rescue…or did he.
The firefighter was advised to wait for more divers to get to the scene. Instead he got in the water with SCUBA gear that was fair to poor condition. He didn’t have fins on and his gear was not put together properly.
When the other divers arrived, they found him floating in the water.
The firefighter was honored as a hero at the National Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial.
Here is where the story hits a snag. Just days after the memorial took place, NIOSH reports that his blood alcohol level was .25 at the time of his death.
I am certain that the firefighter had the best intentions in the World…but should not have responded.I am sure he was a firefighter just like you or I and would have given himself up in the Line of Duty so another might live…but this was not that incident. I am sure that this firefighter has done heroic things in his 25 years as a firefighter…but this was not one of them.
If you have been drinking or are drunk you are a bystander not a rescuer. If you have been drinking or are drunk you shouldn’t be SCUBA diving in the first place, let alone trying to rescue someone who went under.
It seems as though most near drowning incidents are mitigated by an on scene rescuer who can see the victim or watched them go under. It doesn’t seem that many victims are still viable by the time the SCUBA team gets there…it is usually a recovery incident.
This isn’t as much about being safer as it is smarter. I am fairly certain that had he waited for the team to get there to search the outcome for the victim would have been the same.
Fire Critic Note: I intentionally left out the name of the firefighter and his department because this isn’t about who did it, rather what happened. Use this as a tool to learn.