SAR crews debrief after rescuing two adults and a child from a boat crash on Harrison Lake. (Dave Harder/Contributed) [Kent Harrison Search and Rescue KHSAR Echo Island Harrison Lake boat crash Sunday August 4 2019 BC Day Long Weekend]

LETTER: Locals are the first response

Harrison resident John Allen writes about 911 telling locals to stay away from emergency situations

(Re: “Two taken to hospital after midnight boat crash on Harrison Lake,” AHO, Aug. 8 2019)

Local response from SAR was great. Response from 911-dispatch was atrocious and outrageous.

Marcella and her guests at Elfinlau saw the boat coming and heard the crash, and the screams and the cries for help. Before heading over to save them, they called 911. 911 ordered them NOT to go to the scene where people were injured and possibly dying. They (foolishly in my opinion) followed this order and sat there for an hour waiting for SAR to arrive. I can only imagine how distressed the victims were during this time.

We local people know the lake and our boats better than 911. We, the civilians nearby, are the first responders but get treated like idiots by the uniforms. Many of us have better medical and rescue skills, too.

People can die from 30 minutes immersion in Harrison Lake. To order Good Samaritans NOT to help people in distress is bordering on criminal conduct. The first “golden hour” is the most critical period in any such emergency. It is not possible for the uniforms to mobilize and arrive during that period .

If this accident had resulted in a fatality, we’d have a coroner’s inquiry. As it is, it will be swept under the rug.

-John Allen, Harrison Hot Springs

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