Lifeguard fired for doing his job

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacNut, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/us/lifeguard-says-he-chose-saving-man-over-saving-job.html
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    Sorry, that's not a "small rule." If someone drowns in his designated area because he's off in an area outside where he's supposed to be working, that's a HUGE problem.

    Kudos to the guy for rescuing someone, but I can understand his employer's position here.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #3
    The fact that they privatized lifeguards is stupid to begin with. A lifeguard's job should be save a person first ask questions later. Had that person died because the lifeguard stayed in his "area" what would the consequences have been.
     
  4. macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #4
    Saw this yesterday, looks like the guy did his job above and beyond to me.

    What are the chances of someone drowning in your zone while you're saving someone in the next zone?


    The chances of 2 separate drownings at the same time so close together is probably extremely low. I think it was a risk worth taking and he did a good job.
     
  5. macrumors 603

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    #5
    I agree. The worst case scenario is that someone still drowns ...it's just a case of on which beach. The best case scenario is that nobody drowns.. as was the case here. Kudos to the lifeguard.
     
  6. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #6
    Sorry, but he only helped get him out of the water, after 2 other guys had brought him close to shore on a boogie board.

    Then a nurse took over until paramedics got there.

    After the fact, his decision doesn't look so good.
     
  7. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    Here is something to think about. If he did nothing and let the guy drown they more than likely would of fired him for not going to help. He would of been made a scapgoat for company policy.
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #8
    Yup, agreed.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    #9
    You don't understand lifeguarding; which is, unfortunately, all too common. Amongst lifeguards, even.

    I can speak as someone who made a career of not only lifeguarding, but also teaching swimming and teaching, examining, and certifying people in lifeguarding, boating, use of AED, use of respiratory support, and first aid. Aquatics was my both my life and my passion.

    That being said there are, of course, different standards in different jurisdictions but there are many common threads, one being that a lifeguard never leaves their zone unattended. Never. One's primary responsibility is to the people in one's zone--be they bathers, spectators, people walking by, whatever. A lifeguard's secondary responsibility is to cover another guard's zone if needed. The article does state that another guard did cover Mr Lopez' zone, and if that cover was called for and a proper confirmation received before Mr Lopez acted then the only thing he did wrong was not following an administrative rule, namely he didn't wait for a supervisor.

    If, however, he left his zone unattended--even for a second--then he should face disciplinary action. I wouldn't go so far as termination, but, were he one of my employees, he would at least get a lecture and possibly some remedial work. (And, FWIW, if one of my candidates did the same thing they would be on track to fail the course. A lifeguard never leaves his zone unattended.)

    "Drowning" means a fatality, so the odds are usually low that this will happen in two zones simultaneously. However, what are the odds that someone could have a near-drowning, become a distressed swimmer, become an injured swimmer, get heat stroke, have a seizure, have a heart attack, or any of the other situations that can also become fatal? Those are very good odds at a public beach on a hot summer's day.
     
  10. chrono1081, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

    macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #10
    I disagree with you completely. If someone is in distress, screw zones. Rescue the person and give them a second chance at life.

    How can anyone argue against that? You'd be highly upset if your child died because a lifeguard stayed in his zone when he could have helped.

    As others said, the chances of someone having trouble in the lifeguards zone at the exact same time is insanely slim. It sounds like a little common sense needs injected into the lifeguarding community.
     
  11. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #11

    A mere coincidence. He had no idea that 2 other guys would reach him first.



    Me too.


    "Well.....he drowned, but at least you stayed in your own zone." *high five*
     
  12. macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I'd be even more upset if my child died because a lifeguard was not doing her job, that is, if she left her zone.

    It's easy to argue against what you (and others) suggest. A lifeguard should never leave his zone. In fact, in many (I'd even go so far as to say most) jurisdictions in the Western world a lifeguard can be charged criminally if someone gets hurt and the lifeguard fails to act; if the lifeguard fails to act because he was not there to act he would probably face prison if someone died.

    And as I said--as a person who has actually been a certified lifeguard working full time, year round, is certified to train, examine, and certify new lifeguards, has held and taught all four of Canada's NLS options (Pool, Water park, Surf, Waterfront), has competed in national and Commonwealth lifeguard competitions, and has contributed to lifeguarding texts--the chances of simultaneously having someone else in trouble on a public beach are quite high, especially on a hot summer's day.
     
  13. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    I knew I would catch grief for my statement, and I still stand by it.

    Hind-sight is rarely wrong, which is why I phrased it the way I did.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #14
    You just contradicted yourself. First you say a lifeguard should do nothing than said they could be arrested for doing nothing.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    Tomorrow

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    #15
    He didn't contradict himself.

    If someone drowns in an area the lifeguard was not hired to protect, and indeed was forbidden from protecting, he has a very defensible legal position against a lawsuit from the deceased's surviving family.

    If someone drowns in an area the lifeguard was hired to protect but the lifeguard was not there protecting it, it's dereliction of duty and very firm grounds for a lawsuit.

    Again, I understand that he saved someone's life, and congratulations to him and a pat on the back and everything - but he left his employer exposed to a potential lawsuit. From the employer's perspective, that's huge.
     
  16. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #16
    In the States, it's the exact same dilemma faced by health-care professionals, when they encounter an accident scene.

    If they help, and the injured dies, they can be sued for millions.

    If they don't, they are, at the very least, dragged through the media as heartless beasts.

    Good luck in finding a happy medium in your most excellent culture.
     
  17. macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

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    #17
    I thought most states have Good Samaritan laws to prevent exactly this?
     
  18. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #18
    I surely hope so, but I'm not up on States' legislation on the matter.
     
  19. macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #19
    You can twist it how you want but morally you're wrong, the life guard was right and kudos to him for ignoring a silly rule and helping someone in need.

    Again, if the person in trouble was your kid I highly doubt you'd get mad that he "left his zone".
     
  20. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    You're almost certainly correct about what is considered "proper" conduct for a lifeguard, as it's your profession, not mine.


    That does not mean I can't find the reasoning slightly reprehensible. Laws and lawsuits usually do not have anything to do with morals and humanity. That wasn't meant to be a criticism of you, or lifeguards as people.
     
  21. macrumors Core

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    #21
    i understand the need to make sure that if a lifeguard is leaving their zone that it needs to be covered. the article states that another lifeguard had indeed covered his zone, although it is vague on specifics, and he helped someone in distress out. However, the company's policy was wrong imo. it seems idiotic to have to wait for a supervisor who could be anywhere in the vicinity before proceeding. hire more lifeguards to patrol then for just this sort of instance.
     
  22. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #22
    And what of the other "zone", where the emergency occurred?

    Has there been a resolution of this question?
     
  23. macrumors 68020

    Mac'nCheese

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    #23
    He called on his radio for backup since he was leaving his chair. That's SOP, leave the chair for any reason, call for backup. Backup was either on its way or he waited for them to get there before he left, I forgot exactly which. (This from an interview I saw with him last night)

    What's the question? Why wasn't it covered or something else? If its: why wasn't it covered: it was part of the "unprotected" area of the beach. You know, the swim at your own risk part. Most beaches I've been to have them. too expensive I guess to cover the whole shore.
     
  24. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #24
    Fair enough. Then let the users beware.

    All the more reason for the lad to hold his post.

    <Puts on hard-hat.>
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Mac'nCheese

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    #25
    The truth is, both parties acted correctly. The lifeguard did the proper, moral thing: tried to help a fellow human being. But the company has rules that has to be followed or more people can get hurt. They had to fire him. Funny thing is he was much more accepting of this then people in this thread.
     

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