Saturday, July 23, 2011

Department Head Cuts through the Red Tape

The Encinitas Fire and Marine Safety Department head appears to have slashed his department's red tape and taken no bureaucratic prisoners.

Trying to intercede on the rumors that our city's lifeguards have been short-changed and verify that the department has stopped wasting tax dollars on the silly documentation of training incidents, the following the email was sent to the city one week ago. There has been zero response or acknowledgment. We all know what that means!

Chief Muir
Chief Muir,

Steve Meiche gave me the attached reports about a recent lifeguard dive training accident. Several sources confirm that one of your lifeguards was involved in a training incident, which resulted in the lifeguard being transported to the UCSD hyperbaric unit. This seems to conflict with the relaxed effort to document the incident as demonstrated in the attachment.

Given the potential serious nature of this event, I am very concerned that the stories are correct and that the attachments represent the entirety of the records related to this incident. I hope my concerns are needless.

Shallow Documentation
Are there more records? If there are more records, were those given to Meiche (and thus either Meiche [or the city] is holding out)?

General Management Questions
Are public safety dive instructors present when Encinitas Lifeguards are dive training? If not, why not?
Have the lifeguards requested more resources for training?

Questions About the Attached Forms
When did you first review these reports?
Do you consider the responses in these reports adequate? If not, what action did you take to have them improved? [a follow up will be, why haven't they been improved?]

The Lifeguard's Report
The lifeguard does not explain why the incident occurred. The section on how the incident could be prevented is left blank. Why is that acceptable?

The lifeguard does not indicate if the incident was preventable because that section is left completely blank, as is the department head's signature line. Why are these left blank?

The type of injury was noted as N/A, but the other report indicates that medical treatment was provided. Is this inconsistent?

The report is dated 4/20. Under what conditions was this report filled out by the lifeguard?. Was it after the lifeguard had been evaluated, treated, and discharged, or before?

The Supervisor's Report
The date the employee returned to work was left blank. Why is it blank and is this acceptable?

When was the lifeguard discharged from UCSD and when did the lifeguard return to work?

The supervisor indicates that this incident was preventable, thus there must have been a cause that could be avoided in the future. The supervisor does not indicate the cause of the incident, where it says to include the cause of the incident. Is this acceptable?

The supervisor does not give any lessons learned by saying how the incident could be avoided in the future. Is that acceptable?

There are zero witnesses noted on the form. Was this lifeguard training solo?

Misc Questions
Who cuts the check to pay UCSD for treatment? Does the lifeguard have to use his insurance or does the city pay? What was the cost of treatment/evaluation?

How was the lifeguard transported to UCSD? [One source in the city says it was by helicopter and another denies that.]

Read the reports yourself:

The Lifegaurd's Report

The Supervisor's Report
We all read the comments on this blog that the Los Angeles Fire Department was lame, but they look super cool and can look busy writing reports.

Those LA guys waste truckloads of taxpayer time writing professionalistic jumbo like this diving incident report just to look cool. Dude, over-da-top, they document lessons learned even when nobody got hurt.

On the positive side, we are happy to report that the City of Encinitas doesn't waste time on writing reports nobody is going to read anyways or waste their time answering questions from the public.


  1. why the hell were lifeguard even doing diving training. What a waste of taxpayers money. Pathetic.

  2. This is a very touchy and serious subject, and I hope the readers of this blog appreciate magnitude of it.

    In managing a first responder organization, training is one of the biggest responsibilities of its manager. In doing so, proper acknowledgment and documentation of serious accidents or near misses is imperative. No one expects these things not to happen, but accountability is required.

    Was there a required CAL OSHA accident report made?
    If so, it should be public record and released.
    If not our Fire Chief is putting the city (us tax payers) at an enormous liability.

    The current released documentation is unacceptable.

    I would like to quote the philosopher George Santayana.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    If these life threatening mistakes are not properly investigated and documented they will simply be repeated.

  3. It would be nice if the lifeguards were all nice lookin' ladies like in that excellent tv show, Baywatch (LA wins again!). It would also be nice if they had big sunscreen dispensers attached to their lifeguard stands. Skin cancer will be the death of most beach goers, not drowning.

  4. Awesome comments HH. I couldn't agree more. Give us some value for our money.

  5. I ain't got no comment.

    Just like the big chief and the good doc.

  6. Are there any physical fitness standards for fire chiefs?

  7. You just need a masters degree and friends on the council to give you the job.

  8. We don't need no stinking fitness.

  9. The interesting aspect of this issue is that based on these two documents the city is flat out violating state labor laws and OSHA requirements for occupational related injury and illness.

    The City can be fined and the injured employee can and should sue the city if there was negligence involved. From what I heard there was.

    There is enormous liability on the taxpayer because of poor management practices.

  10. Gee wiz I for one have been so worried about this osha/lifeguard paperwork stuff that I haven't been able to sleep... come election time I'm going to vote out the incumbents.

  11. Steve,

    If citizens don't give a crap about dumping $6 million on a fire mcmansion to sleep 3 people at night and house some trucks, they surely will not care about some paperwork which will get the city sued. What could have $6 million done for the Hall property or the Leucadia Streetscape? I can tell you a whole lot more good for the citizens. But the council doesn't care and they get support by the unions. See- thats the way it works.

  12. Ed has the pertinent question, why are lifeguards doing diving training. As part of our sheriffs contract we have use of search and rescue that includes a dive team. Why aren't we using this service we already pay for instead of paying again for a duplicative service with our city lifeguards?

  13. Maybe he was just diving at lunch, and that was the problem?

  14. Money doesn't have any value its a need. Can you tell if Money doesn't grow on trees then why do bank has Branches.

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