• The Low Down

Sorry, you are not in my jurisdiction, I cannot rescue you

The Editor,


I was appalled to read in the last edition of the Low Down that two Chelsea firefighters had been disciplined after conducting a successful life-saving rescue in the Gatineau Park (Chelsea firefighters benched after park rescue, Low Down, Nov. 24 edition).


I don’t doubt that the municipality’s Director general has a pile of books, rules, regulations, bylaws, insurance liability contracts, etc… to support his suspension of the two (volunteer) firefighters. Oops, sorry, in bureaucratic lingo, they were not “suspended”, just forbidden to respond to emergency calls or enter the fire-hall.


However, I can’t help thinking that there could have been a more measured response to an action that very possibly saved a life, but also a positive reflection on the responsiveness and ability of the municipal firefighters. Maybe just a quiet reminder of the rules of engagement?


Is the message that, in a critical situation, you shouldn’t bother attempting a rescue if the emergency is outside of your territory? Even if you are the only responder on-site?


Personally, if I am ever in a life-threatening situation, I would prefer to see John Pomeroy arriving with his experience, training in rescue techniques and willingness to help rather than somebody pondering if they might be disciplined for breaking an administrative rule.


Yan Huckendubler

Chelsea, QC