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Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Budget 

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Old 06-01-2011, 06:59 PM
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Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Budget

‘Handcuffed by policy,’ fire and police crews watch man drown
By Zachary Roth



An apparently suicidal man waded into San Francisco Bay on Monday, stood up to his neck, and waited. As the man drowned, police, fire crews, and others watched idly from the shore.

Why? Officials blamed a departmental policy, stemming from budget cuts, that prevented them from jumping in to save him.

Fifty-year-old Raymond Zack spent nearly an hour in the water before drowning. A crowd of about 75 people, in addition to first responders, watched from the beach in Alameda across the bay from San Francisco as Zack inched farther and farther away, sometimes glancing back, a witness told the San Jose Mercury News. "The next thing he was floating face down."

A volunteer eventually pulled Zack's lifeless body from the Bay.

Mike D'Orazi of the Alameda Fire Department said that, due to 2009 budget cuts, his crews lacked the training and gear to enter the water. And a Coast Guard boat couldn't access the area because the water was too shallow.

"The incident yesterday was deeply regrettable," D'Orazi said Tuesday. "But I can also see it from our firefighters' perspective. They're standing there wanting to do something, but they are handcuffed by policy at that point."

Alameda Police Lt. Sean Lynch also suggested his men did the right thing. "He was engaged in a deliberate act of taking his own life," Lynch told the Mercury News. "We did not know whether he was violent, whether drugs were involved. It's not a situation of a typical rescue."

But at a City Council hearing Tuesday night, some locals expressed outrage that Zack was left to die. "This just strikes me as not just a problem with funding, but a problem with the culture of what's going on in our city, that no one would take the time and help this drowning man," said one resident, Adam Gillitt.

The city said it would spend up to $40,000 to certify 16 firefighters in land-based water rescues.

One witness to the event told a local news station that Zack was looking at people on the shore. "We expected to see at some point that there would be a concern for him," said another.

(Paul Sakuma/AP)

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Old 06-02-2011, 07:35 PM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

So what they are saying is, "All the previous training the taxpayers paid for was wasted on us. We don't remember shit. Only witches float in water."

As well as," We gotta look out for ourselves first. you don't pay us to put our lives on the line. Who do you think we are? We're Firefighters and Police officers; not Fire rescue and cops!"


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Old 06-02-2011, 07:38 PM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

the focus should be on the moron who killed himself.

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Old 06-03-2011, 04:11 AM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

heroes die young is all im gonna say

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Old 06-03-2011, 04:49 AM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

disrespectful cop. just another example of the police having no concern for the safety of anyone but themselves

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Old 06-03-2011, 08:01 AM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

First people have to die before action is taken by government.
Now we have to wait till kids drown and then suddenly there's a budget to buy proper gear and boats for shallow water

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Old 06-03-2011, 09:31 AM
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Re: Fire and Police Crews Watch Man Drown...lacked Training in Water Rescue Due to Bu

They were throwing the idea of laying off 300 firefighters here to save on money. They didn't but I can only imagine what the HFD is going to be lacking due to budget cuts.

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