Friday, August 17, 2007

The call

For those who don't believe that we need to take action to curb the tide of illegal immigration, I offer you this morning's first responder call as a prime example of why this is becoming a problem we must deal with.

At 11:04 AM White Pine Firefighters and First Responders were paged out on a call regarding a 19 year-old female who was pregnant and experiencing chest pains-not contractions, but chest pains. The address was one that most of our guys were familiar with, and one of our First Responders set out in Truck 1 to respond to the call. Upon arriving at the given address, he couldn't find anyone around, so he radioed county dispatch to get a fix on the location. County Dispatch had botched the location of the call to begin with, and at first we shrugged that off because Jeff County Dispatch is not generally known for 100% accuracy, so we have printed Google Maps for situations when we don't know a part of the Fire District by having been there often.

As it turns out, the location was at least partly correct, and dispatch botched it when contacting us partly because the caller spoke in very broken English. Dispatch proceeded to warn our man on the scene that the young lady in question spoke no English at all-the person speaking in broken English would be acting as an interpreter.

For some strange reason, the young lady set out (apparently someone went with her, perhaps to drive her) to Morristown-Hamblen Hospital before the Department arrived on scene-and we got there fast. Hence, aid that may have been life-saving could have been withheld because of this decision. For the sake of this individual's life, I hope and pray they are alright.

The entire incident raises a series of good questions, however. What would have happened if our first responder could not understand the "interpreter?" What if there had not been one? How much knowledge did these folks have of our emergency response system? If they are illegal, they may not have had the knowledge that a fire truck and an ambulance are on the way with help as soon as the call goes out. What if the first responder on scene needed to communicate with the person(s) directly, and had no way to do so?

It is very easy for some people to say "the firefighters need to speak Spanish." This is White Pine, not Nashville or New York or Chicago or Los Angeles. We have a small but well-trained and able corps of first responders and firefighters. Our men and women are volunteers, they give their time and talent to the community to respond in case of an emergency-in many cases, they have taken vacations from work in order to get the training they need. A good number of them come to the station to be on standby on their days off rather than spend time with their families. If there was a requirement made that they had to speak a second language to do the jobs they volunteer for, we wouldn't have a fire department in White Pine at all.

Yet our volunteer emergency personnel are being placed in these situations locally more and more. Our little town has a limited budget and we aren't large enough for a paid department.

The opposition knows that much of this new immigration is illegal in nature, and they have to know the havoc that illegal immigration is wreaking socially, culturally, and even upon our emergency responses in rural America. They don't care-and they don't give a damn about the towns that might be ruined or the lives they might cost on all sides in the process.

The flow has to stop or the social order itself could crumble.

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At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:02:00 PM, Blogger Fabian's straight talk said...

As a firefighter I have encountered this issue before and it can be life threatening to the victim and to the firefighter as well. Good observations David

At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:03:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

What would happen if a firefighter had to respond to a situation where the only person there was deaf and couldn't speak?

Is this the first case in White Pine history of a person taking the initiative and going to the Hospital before emergency services could arrive?

At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:28:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

Of course, because deaf people are somehow stupid and broken, and they're completely unable to communicate. And of course, firefighters are just completely incapable of dealing with the disabled.

I suppose it would be an equally horrible situation if said firefighters encountered a blind person. God forbid it's a blind AND deaf person.

Okay, that's enough sarcasm.

Seriously, what does this have to do with David's topic? Last time I checked, people don't CHOOSE to be deaf. People do, however, CHOOSE to not learn English.

I have no problem with people being multi-lingual. In today's bigger world, it's a plus, really. And I have no problem with people choosing to speak a non-English tongue in their own home. However, I do have a problem with people choosing not to learn English and not being able to properly function outside of the home. And really, it's a tragedy when that refusal leads to an issues when trying to obtain emergency services.

English doesn't need to be made our "official" language from a legal standpoint, but everyone who is a permanent resident of the United States ought to know it.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 2:44:00 PM, Blogger Aunt B said...

I'm sorry. Didn't Oatney himself say that the man on the phone spoke broken English? Doesn't that imply that he's therefore making some attempt to learn English?

Good-ness, if I had any inkling that that was the attitude of the people coming to "help" me, I might have taken off for the hospital before they got there, too.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 3:35:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...


So, it is only a hindrance to the firefighters when the person's lack of ability to communicate well is not due to a disability? If its dangerous for a firefighter or cop to have to help someone with whom they can't communicate, why would it matter if they "chose" not to be able to communicate, or if they were born without the ability to communicate?

Also, should we not allow tourists to come to our Country unless they can speak English?

At Friday, August 17, 2007 3:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they were deaf and couldn't talk they could right what they need. They also have phones that communicate by type.

At Friday, August 17, 2007 4:44:00 PM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Ahh, I see, so deaf people running from their houses in the middle of the night always carry a pen and pad of paper around, eh?

At Friday, August 17, 2007 11:23:00 PM, Blogger Donna Locke said...

Somehow middle-class Americans woke up one day and found themselves responsible for the entire world -- and especially for the irresponsible who won't take responsibility in their own countries. What a legacy we are leaving to our children.

At Saturday, August 18, 2007 3:44:00 AM, Blogger Matt Daley said...


As a disabled person, I take personal offense to your use of disability to defend that which David so eloquently spoke out about.

And yes, there's a world of difference between not being able to communicate due to choice and not being able to communicate effectively due to life events.

Factually, it's not all that difficult to train emergency responders to communicate with and otherwise be prepared for persons with disabilities, and it can be done in relatively short order.

On the other hand, preparing for language barriers can be much more time consuming and costly. And one can never be too sure what barriers one will run into. Today, it may be Spanish. Tomorrow, it could be Vietnamese.

Why should first responders have to go through that time and expense? Shouldn't it be he responsibility of those who choose to come to this country permanently to learn the primary language of the land?

Do you think residents of Germany are well-received if they can't speak German? Or in Russia if they can't speak Russian? I dare say you won't get a favorable response in Mexico without being able to speak a little Spanish, either.

Maybe if people exercised a bit of personal responsibility here and there, things would be a lot better for everyone.

Oops...sorry, I said bad words. "Personal responsibility" is an evil term, I know. I'll try not to use it again.

At Monday, August 20, 2007 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Fabian's straight talk said...

Good Lord too many people have no clue and missed David's point all together. Hopefully B and others will wake up soon.

At Monday, August 20, 2007 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Joe Powell said...

i have to wonder what information you have which shows those calling in for aid were "illegal immigrants." seems a jump to that belief was required, perhaps based on the 'broken English' or the location of the call.


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