"Gadget et al bleat on and on about health and safety and not being able to change a wheel on their motors, let alone for the despised MOP (Muppet Outside Police). Such ‘rules’ were around 30 years ago. We changed wheel for stranded people because we we were not such c***s as not to. Our two fingers went up to management, not the public. If the job was going to reprimand or sack us for doing it, then we lumped the uniform in a black bag and went back on the tools. We just couldn’t stand being the kind of toad who jobsworthed."Today, that attitude is far, far away:
A man died after firefighters refused to rescue him from a frozen lake, an inquest heard yesterday.Good grief!
Philip Surridge screamed ‘help me, please don’t let me die’ as he struggled in the water. But a fire crew sent to the scene wouldn’t go to his aid because they were not trained in water rescues.
A passer by, however, did his best. Luckily, there were no police around to stop him. But he was thwarted not just by the firemen’s refusal to join in, but their refusal to help anyone else do their job for them:
Mr Smith told the inquest: ‘I was getting very frustrated and angry with the fire crew. I felt the fire crew weren’t doing enough.
‘When I went to tie the rope around me my hands were too cold. I asked the firefighter to help. He said “I can’t. I just can’t” .’No doubt he was too afraid to help this brave soul tie the rope because he feared being sued if anything went wrong, while Mr Smith was doing the job he had deemed too dangerous...
Of course, when suitably-trained men arrived, it was too much, too late:
By the time three boats and six specialist water rescue officers arrived soon afterwards, Mr Surridge had disappeared beneath the surface.Are they ashamed of their behaviour? Are they holding their manhoods cheap now, for their lack of courage?
Reader, they are not.
The ‘proper procedures’ were followed, and so all is right with the world:
Crew manager Kevin Brown told the inquest he ordered his men not to enter the water as they only had ‘basic water awareness training’.
He said: ‘I decided it was inappropriate to go into the water because of temperatures and weather conditions and the fact that if someone had gone in, we only had a fire kit on with tracksuits and t-shirts underneath.’Mr Smith didn’t even have that. Didn’t let it stop him, did it?
Will they do anything different in future?
Philip Pells, Northamptonshire fire and rescue service’s head of operations, told Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember that fire crews would follow the same policy if a similar situation arose in the future.You do realise, Mr Pells, that this isn’t standing your service in good stead as you prepare to strike on the busiest day (potentially) of the year?
That you’ll be relying on the image of ‘brave firemen ill-treated by an uncaring government’ that now looks to be, well, untrue?
Recording an accidental verdict on both men, Mrs Pember warned it was ‘quite frankly not worth the risk to human life’ of going into water to save animals.Well, yes. But people do, indeed, think nothing of risking their lives for others.
They haven’t been trained out of it, you see.
And this is not an isolated example, either. Recently, in the 7/7 inquests, we heard how a fire crew would not venture into the tunnels until a member of the Underground staff officially told them the current was off. This was in spite of an exasperated police officer actually standing on the live rail to show them that it was off !