According to this story, a rescue worker took action instead of waiting for backup and has now resigned because his superiors investigated him for taking an unnecessary risk. Read the article if you want the details of the rescue; what I really want to talk about is this gem:
A spokesman for the coastguard agency said: "We wish Paul well in his future endeavours and the MCA is very grateful for his past activities and work in the Coastguard Rescue Service.This seems reasonable at first blush, but think for a minute. Their first responsibility is to keep the rescue workers safe? Shouldn't they be more concerned about the people they're trying to rescue? If this girl had died because he waited to take action until he had backup, would they still be patting themselves on the back and telling him he did the right thing? It reminds me of an incident a while back where a child drowned in ten (maybe twelve) feet of water because the only police on scene weren't trained in water rescue. Give me a break! Didn't someone there know how to swim? Wasn't there something someone could have done? There probably was. But everyone sat back and waited for Someone Else to do it.
"However, the MCA is very mindful of health and safety regulations which are in place for very good reasons.
"Above all our responsibility is to maintain the health and welfare of those who we sometimes ask to go out in difficult and challenging conditions to effect rescues.
"The MCA is not looking for dead heroes. As such, we ask our volunteers to risk assess the situations they and the injured or distressed person find themselves in, and to ensure that whatever action they take does not put anyone in further danger.
"We are proud of our safety record and we will seek to maintain the safety of our volunteers, and minimise risk in what can be inherently difficult situations."
This is why England is referred to as "the nanny state." The British government, out of concern for "safety" and "the children," has turned a nation of otherwise capable adults into a giant, helpless preschool. I can guarantee - I would bet my life's savings - that nine times out of ten, this sort of thing would not happen in most parts of America. Once you start believing that the government can do it (whatever 'it' is) better than you can, you start sliding backwards. You become helpless.
Perhaps this man did take an unnecessary risk; perhaps his supervisors were justified in reprimanding him. I wasn't there so I can't know for sure. But where I come from, men and women who take this kind of risk are praised and rewarded for their actions. The press statements go something along the lines of "We want all of our people to stay safe, but he saved this person's life without thought for his own, and we appreciate that." Without thought for his own - now there's a novel concept. I think the British rescue services need a quick reintroduction to it.