Tuesday night a call dropped in the evening. The original version was a 911 call and was that there was a suicidal person that jumped off the causeway. The caller wasn’t specific about the exact area. The dispatchers called Fire, EMS, Police, and Beach Patrol (Galveston Marine Response) who all headed that way. Fire and Police grabbed their boats and we brought a jet ski and headed to Payco Marina at the base of the causeway. One of the fire trucks went to the top of the causeway to get an aerial view.
New information came in that the incident involved a car being driven into the water. Nobody found anything during an initial search. Then, another person reported that the event actually happened at the Texas City “Y” area and wasn’t in Galveston at all. Finally, everyone got confirmation there was a car in the water at the base of the north side of the railroad bridge. The Fire Department made the area first and reported that there wasn’t anyone in the water.
We all deal with many calls of this type throughout the year. The dispatchers do an excellent job of sorting through varied and sometimes conflicting reports and getting the pertinent information to the first responder agencies. But many times very different information comes in from different sources. Well meaning people aren’t aware of where they are when they see an event. It’s also not uncommon for people to call in an “emergency” as a hoax and sit and watch from somewhere nearby as we all scramble around trying to save lives. Tuesday night was an example of how professionally and unemotionally our local heroes work a call, putting aside emotions that could interfere with clear decision making. Trying to focus on that person in need and the shortest path to helping him/her, as opposed to letting ego or frustration interfere with the process.
You see these heroes every day and don’t realize it. Our military, police, fire, lifeguards, EMS, medical personnel, etc live among us. When someone chokes on food in a restaurant they are the person who calmly puts down their fork, walks over, and calmly clears the airway. When you see a wreck, they are the person who puts aside their own needs, stops their car, and helps.
There are many opportunities to join their ranks. One that’s coming up soon is our spring Lifeguard Academy which starts March 12th and finishes March 20th. There is another one in May. Those who pass the swim, interview, and drug screen will go through an intense experience that includes a high level of medical training, water rescue techniques, lifeguard training, tourist relations, surf swimming techniques, and a whole lot of physical training. For the few that pass through this crucible, some will work a season and others may make it a lifetime. But they join the ranks of our first responders permanently.
The United States Lifesaving Association has a slogan:
“Lifeguards for Life”