On the evening of Tuesday‚ July 20‚ 2010‚ in Mira Mesa at 9:40p.m‚ 2 year-old Bentley Do passed away after choking on his first gum ball. Now‚ many people‚ including firefighters‚ are claiming that his death could have been prevented if emergency responder brownouts did not occur.
90 percent of the time‚ the national response time for firefighters to take action is within five minutes.In this case‚ police officers arrived about five minutes after the 911 call was received and firefighters did not reach the home until another 4 and a half minutes after the officers.Fire officials from the San Diego Fire Department said that due to cut backs to save money‚ “brownouts” may have caused the young child to meet his choking death.
The chief of San Diego’s Fire Rescue Department Javier Mainar‚ feels brownouts have negatively impacted firefighters to be able to respond earlier to trauma. But it is undecided if firefighters would have been able to save little Bently even if they arrived sooner.
Bentley’s grief-struck family struggle to comprehend the postponed arrival of help.
Bentley’s cousin Du Le says they were told to wait by the dispatcher. Meanwhile‚ only a block away‚ on New Salem Street‚ they nervously looked across the street at the fire station and wondered why help had still not arrived.
Mainer says the Mira Mesa Station 38 was attending to another trauma call in another district in Station 44. Station 44 happened to be called out to take care of abandoned waste material in the neighborhood of Nestor. The use of brownouts have been introduced to close a $178 million budget gap. Firefighters from one station fill in for firefighters from another station who take unpaid time off. In other words‚ San Diego has fewer firefighters covering the same area and they may have to travel further for emergencies.
This loss is especially tragic. It is immensely painful to lose a loved one‚ but to have that person be your child or a young friend and relative in the early stages of their life. The senselessness of the loss is made all the worse when the loss is caused or contributed to by budget cutbacks. No matter how it is spun‚ that loss was caused by putting money over people. Could this loss have been prevented without the brownout? Maybe‚ maybe not. The tragedy of the loss is that we will never know and now a young person is not with us or his family anymore.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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