I Was Only Obeying Orders!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

That is a great quote from writer George Bernard Shaw, and boy is it true. Throughout history weak, stupid and sometimes just plain evil men (and women) have sought to defend their actions by hiding behind the word “duty”. I have news for them, not only does it not work, it makes them look even stupider and pathetic.

Usually I try to make this blog entertaining and amusing. But from time to time I also like to remind everyone that it also has a serious side as well. The following is a good example of the morons and idiots that should have no place in decent society let alone holding down important jobs. This lot of idiots might not have cost this poor man his life, but they certainly tripped over their “duty” and their precious “regulations” in order to avoid trying to save him.

If you are angry when you read this, well, you should be! And you should realize that the longer we say nothing and do nothing about people like these the more and more incidents will happen. Fight against stupidity and bureaucracy, or it might be you, or someone you know, who is their next victim.

Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, in Britain is just an ordinary park in an ordinary town. It has a little boating lake, which is only three-and-a-half feet deep, and used for model boats. People go there to watch them or to relax and enjoy the open space and the fresh air. Simon Burgess was one of them.

One day in March last year, 41 year old Simon went to the park to feed the ducks at the lake. While he was doing so, the plastic bag he was carrying blew into the water and he waded into the lake to retrieve it. Just then he suffered a seizure and fell, unconscious, face down into the water.

A lady, Mrs Hughes, who was walking beside the lake with her two-year-old grandson saw he was in danger and immediately dialed 999. She watched the Gosport fire crew arrive soon after.

But when they arrived they did nothing, just waited on the bank of the lake, showing little sign of activity. Others also arrived, and soon there were no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer standing around looking at the body of Simon Burgess in the shallow lake. He lay floating there face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

The reason?

Even though they could all swim (and they didn’t even need to, the water was only about three feet deep), the first fire crew to arrive had not been “trained“ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes, and instead of actually finding out if he was alive or dead, this bunch of morons decided to wait for “specialists” to arrive to retrieve the body.

Idiot-in-charge, fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls, who had arrived at the scene within five minutes, told the inquest into the death, that he had refused to try to rescue Mr Burgess because his crew’s “Level 1” training only allowed them to go in the water up to their ankles. In other words, they were only allowed to walk through puddles – and they had to be trained even to be able to do that??? (Pleeeeeze!!!)

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said all its firefighters were trained to “Level 1”, which includes “general water safety awareness and basic land-based rescue techniques”. To comply with the guidelines, they had to wait for a specialist water rescue team to arrive.

Mr Nicholls said these “specialist” officers were “Level 2-trained”, meaning they could “go in chest- high”. Only those who had completed the “Level 3” course would be allowed to swim, however.

A Defra spokeswoman explained: “Our guidance is only ever to be used by the emergency services in response to a flood. This is because floods by their very nature are highly unpredictable, unlike existing bodies of water. Our guidance should never be used in any other instance.”

The police weren’t much better. Even though one of the police officers at the scene, PC Tony Jones, told the inquest that he volunteered to go in, he was “strongly advised” not to by Mr Nicholls. The PC also told the inquest that Mr Nicholls refused to let him borrow his lifejacket.

Then PC Jones was told by his control room that “under no circumstances” should he attempt a rescue.

Asked to explain that decision, Hampshire Police said yesterday: “The fire service were already there and they were recovering a body.”  The decision to downgrade the incident from a rescue to a ‘body retrieval situation’ reflected the confusion over submersion victims.

A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right “protective” clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Despite the safety rules, those at the scene could have entered the water under Health and Safety Executive guidelines that exempt 999 workers from prosecution if they perform acts of heroism. This follows Lord Young’s report, Common Sense, Common Safety, which called for an end to ‘senseless’ rules and regulations.

Last night, Fire Minister Bob Neill said: “Health and safety rules should be there to save lives, not put them at risk.” He added that the Government would review existing guidance and take into account lessons learnt from recent incidents.

I have news for Fire Minister Bob Neill and the rest of the world’s bureaucrats, they won’t learn any lessons from this incident other than to enact more unnecessary stupid legislation, for other stupid jobsworth morons to misinterpret. The answer to too many regulations is less regulations, not even more regulations to regulate the already unnecessary regulations!

In my world, Simon Burgess may not have survived either, but he would have been given every chance to, and people like Tony Nicholls would be out of work faster than Donald Trump could say “You’re Fired”!

The Dail Mail newspaper carried the story. If you want to read more go to:
Daily Mail Link, Simon Burgess Story

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