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Here’s
the scene. It was an overcast day in southern England last March.
That is to say, a normal day in southern England.

Attempting
to retrieve something that had blown into the water, 41-year old
Simon Burgess slipped and fell into a 3 1/2 foot-deep pond. He then
suffered a seizure. His body, lying motionless and face down in
the water, was spotted at 12:15pm by a witness who immediately called
999 emergency services (like 911).

Within five
minutes, emergency crews began arriving. Then more. Then more. 36-minutes
after the initial phone call, no fewer than 25 emergency workers
were at the scene. They brought out a state of the art emergency
medical tent, resuscitation equipment, several fire engines, ambulances,
and specialty dive gear.

For more than
thirty minutes, emergency crews set up a complex operations center.
Fire fighters positioned their trucks. Police officers cordoned
off the area for crowd control. Water Support Unit officers donned
protective gear and checked the pond for underwater hazards.

Yet with all
of this commotion, nobody bothered to fetch Mr. Burgess. For 36-minutes,
he floated in the center of the pond, face down, while dozens of
first responders scurried about with their ‘make work’
projects.

Why? Because
they hadn’t been ‘trained and certified’ by their
various government agencies to enter water that was more than ankle
deep. According to the UK’s Daily
Mail
,

“When
a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. 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.”

And so, the
emergency crews stood by waiting until a specialty team arrived,
donned protective gear, and waded into the waist-deep water (at
maximum depth) to retrieve Mr. Burgess. Needless to say, doctors
formally pronounced him dead by the time his body arrived to the
hospital, roughly 90-minutes after he fell in the lake.

Following public
outcry over how Britain’s impotent bureaucracy could manage
to cost a man his life, the government held a formal investigation
into the matter a few weeks ago. As expected, public service workers
and politicians closed ranks, defending their decisions on the ground
and claiming that they were only ‘doing their jobs’ and
following the rules.

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