Taking the Hard (or Soft) Pass

 

Does It Happen More Often Than You Think?

On the weekend, the Washington Post had yet another story regarding the recent death of Medric Mills after DCFD’s 15 Truck took a “pass” on turning out to help him.

15 Truck took the “hard pass” meaning they were in quarters and those in need came to them.

The Hard Pass is gutsy and “in your face.”

Effectively saying no when you are standing right there takes gravitas, of a sort.

What about the much more common “soft pass” when exactly the same thing happens but the fire company is a moving target and the only thing between them and a pass is professional integrity?

My Soft Pass

Rescue Squad 1

Rescue Squad 1

I was once part of a crew that took a “soft pass” on a cardiac arrest.

The rig was a heavy rescue, a GMC Brigadier with the box mounted behind the cab.  Communication between the officer and driver in the cab and the firefighters in the box was via an intercom.

We were returning from a run when an engine, ambulance and medic were dispatched for a person in cardiac arrest.  We were sitting at a traffic light, literally across the street from the dispatch address.  All we had to do was go straight ahead instead of turning left and we would be there.

We turned left.

I hit the intercom and asked the obvious, if were taking in the cardiac arrest, only to be ignored. (It was getting on toward dinnertime.)

(Like many, being first in (by a country mile) to a cardiac arrest isn’t high on my list of fun things to do.)

Still, I was furious but obviously not part of the “up front” clique where wisdom rules between the driver and the officer.

Fire Me?

Had our soft pass become public what would have happened?  Would I have been subject to punishment, even being fired?

Did I do enough?

I have told the story on a number of occasions over the years, I suppose to continue to vent my frustration.

For the record, we were all white, male and paid to do a job that didn’t get done that day.

 

 

1 Comment

  • Glenn says:

    I was probably somewhere in the senior chain of command when this occurred. Wish I had known. No punishment would have occurred as I am sure you recall; instead a thank you for speaking up from yours truly. I always very much appreciated hearing the “hard truth” from you Eric. I have often said if departments cannot do the little things right they are apt not to achieve the big things. This occurrence is not a little thing, however, is an example of the root cause of the demise of an organization. No cause and effect, then it must be OK.

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FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
David R. Anders
Schaitberger MDA Shakedown: “Unprecedented”
Have you heard the saying that it is like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip. Eric, you may be squeezing a beet thinking the red juice is blood. You are looking dumber by the day. A lot more than me keep asking you where is the beef?
2015-09-04 02:20:52
Eric Lamar
Schaitberger MDA Shakedown: “Unprecedented”
Dano--Thank you for failing, completely, to address the issue of the IAFF shaking down the MDA. Quite a feat on your part. E
2015-09-04 01:35:52
Eric Lamar
Schaitberger MDA Shakedown: “Unprecedented”
Marv, Who luvs ya? But, wake up and smell the coffee. Do you have any idea how the trial board system works? The DVPs decide whether or not the charges go forward. Yes, Marv--those DVPs, the same ones he owns. The IAFF is far beyond internal reform. The calvary is now required. xoxo--Eric
2015-09-04 01:34:16
Dan
Schaitberger MDA Shakedown: “Unprecedented”
two major charity watchdogs, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and CharityWatch, say that charities shouldn’t spend more than 35 cents for every dollar they raise. Put another way, the charities should receive at least 65 percent of the take. Looks like IAFF is getting about 5% . Seems like they are doing just fine! Stop…
2015-09-04 00:53:50
Marvin Wilson
Schaitberger MDA Shakedown: “Unprecedented”
This has been reported by Vinnie Bollon several years ago. It was published in the Firefighter magazine. Do y'all not read. Do some research and you will see that this has been happening. I agree with Dave Anders, put up or shut up!! File charges if you have the evidence and make yourself ethical eric.
2015-09-03 22:05:09
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