Retired Oakland Firefighter weighs in

Daniel Lisker, retired lieutenant with 16 years on the OFD, weighs in over at the Contra Costa Times, article here.

The Raymond Zack Event falls into the LOW RISK with HIGH REWARD category. A no-brainer.  Quotes from Lisker’s article (bolds mine):

“Situations fall into four classifications according to risk to personnel and probable outcome of the situation: Low risk, low reward; low risk, high reward; high risk, low reward; and high risk, high reward.

From the video of this sad scenario that I saw, this man was about 100-150 yards offshore in about 4-5.5 feet of water. This was not a water rescue; this was a case of wading out to the man, communicating with him and walking him back to the beach. This was not a man treading water in the Oakland-Alameda estuary, where danger to personnel is great. At Crown Beach you can wade out for 200 yards and still be knee-deep in water.

A police officer or a firefighter could have done this…   …; maybe both if they were frightened. For any incident commander this situation falls into the category of low risk, high reward. End of story. This man died because of the negligence and incompetence of the Alameda Fire Department.”

This is, then, the FIRST EVER case of ASSISTED SUICIDE in the State of California.  Hey, we can start new city marketing to attract people here to end their lives!  We won’t respond! We won’t interfere! Come to Alameda and end your lives; our first resaponders will watch. 

“It is very upsetting that they are hiding behind lack of training and budget cuts. If they were so concerned about the safety of their firefighters, they could have walked across the street to Big Five Sporting Goods and purchased a $20 flotation device. What was needed in this situation was common sense, which apparently none of the professionals possessed.”

Or cajones.  The AFD, btw, has their very own 10-foot rescue board hanging at Station One. They didn’t even need to go to Big Five. Hell, they could have borrowed a board from all the kite- and sail-boarders on the water that day!

“Some will support the firefighters, claiming that they lacked training and risked violating policy. However, a firefighter takes an oath to protect life and property. It trumps policies. There are never policies for all situations. You need to have common sense.”

THANK YOU LISKER! and NO DUH!  Where is our city leadership? Why didn’t AFD Chief D’Orazi make the “tough” call to send the firefighters out into the water? Moreover, why didn’t his manager, Interim City Manager Lisa Goldman, make the call and order D’Orazi to send them out?!?!

“The incident commander should be demoted. You certainly would not want to have this person making life-and-death decisions after this fatal mistake. The city of Alameda will be sued for millions of dollars, rightfully so.”

Just add another lawsuit to the bevy already facing our nearly bankrupt city. Why does NO ONE down at city hall GET that the AFD needs to be well-run?!?   Failure after major failure, year after year, and no one fixes anything?!

“I feel terrible for…for this depressed man who lost his life for no explainable reason. The worst part is the image of him turning around, looking back, as if to say, “Don’t you care.” He just wanted someone to care.”

Finally, a first responder who GETS that Raymond Zack’s efforts were NOT an efficient suicide attempt!  What is wrong with our AFD and APD that they could not assess the situation accurately? The way the APD assessed it, you’d think Zack was a terrorist!  Obviously, self-consideration and punitive (to Alameda residents) interpretation/application of the protocols trump morality and duty.


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

3 responses to “Retired Oakland Firefighter weighs in

  • SO

    The Raymond Lisker post article was great. I hope that each of the firemen read it. I think that most firefighters seem to have that union mentality of all or nothing. Or they are bullied by the union into agreeing with them. Teachers unions have the same mentality. It is rather disgusting. I am a former public school teacher who just resigned. I honestly can’t stand the CA teacher union, the leaders seem to care more about themselves than the students. Teachers are not allowed to help students in certain situation because of union rules. I suspect the firemen have this same mentality. It is disgusting, to say the least.

  • Denise Lai

    SO: agreed; this seems to be one of the primary problems in Alameda. Did you see the East Bay Express Article on this? Titled “Are Alameda’s Firefighters too Powerful to be Reformed?”, it’s here:

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