View Full Version : Lifeguard fired for saving drowning man

07-05-2012, 10:39 AM
A lifeguard who left his section of a Florida beach to help save a man from drowning has been given the sack.

Tomas Lopez, 21, was patrolling part of Hallandale Beach north of Miami when he was told that a swimmer was in trouble in an unguarded area of the beach.

"I wasn't going to say no," the lifeguard said.

But his bosses said he had broken company rules and could have put other swimmers at risk. At least two colleagues have resigned in protest.

"We have liability issues and can't go out of the protected area," Susan Ellis of lifeguard provider Jeff Ellis and Associates told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

She added that the stretch of Hallandale Beach that Mr Lopez was supposed to be patrolling on Monday was being protected by other lifeguards who were on the phone to emergency operators at the time.

Mr Lopez, four months in the job, ran some distance to help the swimmer who had already been pulled out of the water by other beachgoers.

He and an off-duty nurse then helped the man until paramedics arrived to take him to hospital. The unidentified swimmer is said to be in intensive care.

Mr Lopez has no regrets about losing his $8.25-an-hour (5.30; 6.60 euros) job.

"I think it's ridiculous, honestly, that a sign is what separates someone from being safe and not safe," Mr Lopez told CBS television.

A colleague, on finding out that he had been fired, said he radioed his manager to cover the beach for him and promptly quit.


07-05-2012, 10:47 AM
Sadly though this is what the world has come to. People are so sue happy now if someone had drowned on his section of the beach they could have sued the lifeguard for not being where he was supposed to be. Do I agree with that? No. But it happens.

Then you have beaches with no lifeguards and yet no one can sue if someone drowns. My dad jumped into a river fully clothed to save a kid in Kamloops back when we lived there. Everyone stood by watching the kid get swept down river and my dad was the only who jumped in. Yet legally if the kid had drowned after my dad tried to save him, the kid's family could have sued my father.

It's all a bunch of BS...

07-05-2012, 11:34 AM
Contrast that to the story from the UK a few months ago where emergency services wouldn't rescue a man who had a seizure from a pond that was waist-deep, because they weren't trained to.

The man drowned.


Government regulations don't make our lives better.

Rory McCanuck
07-05-2012, 02:35 PM
Not to unfairly pick on the Brits, but the social engineering has worked
very well there. Permits for any and everything, and you need a hard-hat
and Hi-Viz green vest to do it.
Sad, really.

Firing someone for doing their job, but on the wrong side of a line, is pretty
slimy. Especially when that job is rescuing and saving a life. I can't see this
helping with Jeff Ellis and Ass. sales.