The Alameda Fire Department did not have ‘slashed’ budget cuts to the water rescue program. The only reason the AFD Water Rescue program was suspended was because the firefighters themselves did not keep up their training.
Read it for yourself:
–2009 AFD Memo stating the AFD Water Rescue program was TEMPORARILY suspended because the firefighters had not kept their water rescue certification up to date. The WR program was to be reinstated in 30-45 days….not be defunct for years: http://www.sendspace.com/file/ftw4bp
–Current City of Alameda Budget that includes 8 to 10 water rescues by the AFD per year: http://www.scribd.com/doc/57089850/2010-11-Budget-Department-Budgets-Excerpt
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… Continue reading