Sunday, December 5, 2010


I've participated in lots of extrications, some orthodoxly correct, others heretically unconventional. I haven't yet rescued anyone from a car stuck in a tree, like these resourceful Pennsylvania firefighters did. And I hope I never have to. Fortunately the odds are against cars getting stuck in trees in our response area, unless of course, the flying car becomes commercially viable.

There are myriads of ways for people to get into trouble, which makes emergency calls as unpredictable as an Upsala autumn. To make matters worse, new ways are invented at a much faster rate than we can prepare. To help cope with this trend toward unpredictability, we establish Operational Guidelines, which are basic ground rules for response. OG's give us a semi solid base on which to stand in the quicksand of emergency scene chaos. Wear your protective gear. Don't freelance. Use only these specific knots, tied this particular way. We follow our OG's religiously. Sort of.

Safety is the number one reason to stick to the guidelines. The more dangerous the operation, the more pre-established rules there will be governing the response. Like these guys that dangle from helicopters. I'm only guessing, but they probably have a couple libraries full of OG's to learn before strapping on that harness.

Litigious witch hunting lawyers are another reason to stick to the OG straight and narrow. But in spite of all these incentives, we occasionally get ourselves into fixes that are not covered by any rule book. So if you ever travel across Canada in a flying car, do us a favour. Stay away from trees, at least between Raith and English River. I'd hate to think of all the rules we'd break getting you out.

1 comment:

  1. I bet she was glad the tree was there--the fall would have been a lot more difficult to survive if she'd hit the ground, eh? But the story reminds me of Charlotte's Web, where Charlotte tells the story of an aunt of hers who once caught a fish in her web after she'd built over a little brook.


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