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Switzerland tells slightly tipsy volunteer firefighters: Cheers!

27 Oct

An interesting development:

Switzerland is easing an alcohol ban for volunteer firefighters and other emergency workers using heavy vehicles, saying it had led to staffing shortages when crises demanded quick action, especially in smaller towns lacking professional personnel.

Starting on Jan. 1, slightly tipsy volunteer firefighters and off-duty members of so-called professional “blue light” organisations responding to urgent situations will be no longer face punishment – provided their blood-alcohol level does not exceed 0.50 percent, the limit governing other drivers.

“This change is necessary as rescue and disaster relief organisations today are increasingly dependent on people who are not on duty or on call,” the Swiss Federal Roads Office said in a statement on Wednesday. “The government is addressing the need for the best-possible recruitment of personnel in the event they are needed for unexpected rescue operations.”

The current ban on alcohol caps volunteer emergency service workers’ blood-alcohol level at 0.10 percent.

Peter Wullschleger, a Zurich emergency services commander, said the drinking ban remains in force for all firefighters who are on duty or on call and can reckon with being dispatched to an emergency.

Easing the restriction for those who are not is primarily aimed at small communities with no professional firefighters that must rely on volunteers to be ready at a moment’s notice.

“With the ban, theoretically it would have been impossible for somebody enjoying even a nice glass of red wine during the Christmas holidays to fulfill their duty in the event of an emergency,” Wullschleger said.

So modern-day western governments CAN still be sane and prudent, when they wish to / need to, and set aside rigid enforcement of prog dogmas, in order to allow people to freely help the state carry out its duties.

IOW, a very self-serving unprincipled exception.

Interesting, and instructive.

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14 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2016 in good news

 

14 responses to “Switzerland tells slightly tipsy volunteer firefighters: Cheers!

  1. feeriker

    October 27, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    …provided their blood-alcohol level does not exceed 0.50 percent, the limit governing other drivers.

    “0.50 percent???!!!”

    Wow! Either they’re using a different scale in Switzerland to measure BAC from that used in North America, or that’s a misprint. Anyone with a 0.50 percent BAC level would be in an alcoholic poisoning coma and probably on death’s door.

     
    • feeriker

      October 27, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      That should probably read “0.05 percent.”

       
      • Will S.

        October 28, 2016 at 2:59 am

        I figured as much, which is the legal limit in most of Canada.

         
      • Will S.

        October 28, 2016 at 2:59 am

        For driving, that is.

         
    • Will S.

      October 28, 2016 at 2:58 am

      Yeah, I noticed that, too. I think the journalist(s) made a mistake, by a factor of ten. Either that or it’s some different scale being used.

       
  2. Saracen III

    October 27, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    The Dutch have a delightful phrase for pragmatic adjustment: “The Democracy of Wet Feet”

     
    • Will S.

      October 28, 2016 at 2:59 am

      Ah! I like it. 🙂

       
  3. Peter Blood

    October 28, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Switzerland is not part of the EU, so they’re a little more based than much of Europe.

     
    • Will S.

      October 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      True; I’ve long admired them for that.

       
      • Peter Blood

        October 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        It’s really mainly because they want to keep their shekel-hoarding system (banking) independent of EU snoops and regulators.

        But even with that motivation, they are pretty independent minded and just want to do their own thing. Their self-government is quite decentralized, improbably it works for them with German & French & Italian mix.

         
      • Will S.

        October 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        I’ve always wondered why the different parts of Switzerland aren’t simply parts of France, Italy, and Austria / Bavaria, but, somehow, despite their different backgrounds, they see themselves as one, and so they are.

         

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