Letters from Members
It was hard to believe in a timespan less than 30 minutes my five year old daughter went from our Outer Banks beach house to the emergency room at Norfolk’s Kings Daughters Children’s Hospital. The distance alone is over 60 miles. She had jumped into the pool. I knew something was wrong. There was no animation when she whispered to my wife that she had hurt her neck “it feels fuzzy, and I cannot move”. Laying on her back she could not get up. I could see she was scared. As we waited for Currituck EMS, she could not change out of her bathing suit. They arrived within a few minutes.
What comes to me mostly from remembering that day, is respect and appreciation for Outer Banks EMS. Decisions particular to our situation began immediately as they gathered details during our call. I felt an initial confidence when two ambulance crews arrived. Knowing it was a child they stopped their sirens far away from the house. She was crying as they immobilized her. She did not want to go. Then they called for the helicopter but it wasn’t available, so they immediately left for Norfolk. I wished it was not so far.
Later, I found out a Medevac helicopter had diverted. My wife who was in the ambulance explained they kept moving the spot to meet, as the ambulance traveled up highway 158, while the helicopter got closer. I left our house at the same time as the ambulances. My speed was way over the limit, but it was over an hour later when I arrived at the Norfolk hospital. I found out later doctor’s call it the golden hour.
It could have been different. In the initial five minutes to when she got to the best help available. Who are the people that make it happen? From EMS to county commissioners, the structure I needed to be there in an instant is available every day. A week later I called, happy to pay but had wondered how much cost we incurred, with the equipment and personnel from two counties. I was startled there would be no cost to me.
Thank-you Dare & Currituck County,
Mother’s Day 2014
I witnessed a deputy write a ticket on the beach. The family enjoying their vacation were non-confrontational, and the infraction minor. The Currituck sheriff’s deputy demeanor was confrontational and his interpretation questionable. The deputy’s actions certainly ruined the day, and likely impacted the family’s vacation. Clearly they did not realize they were doing anything wrong.
As a year round resident, I make my living from those that come here to vacation. I am conservative and support strong enforcement, but our community services are also in the entertainment business. Even those we hire to protect and enforce the law should understand that importance. In this situation the officer had a job, but he could have handled it where the guests respected his job and responsibilities.
Since that day I made a few inquiries. Clearly there is group within Outer Banks law enforcement that understand, but it seems mostly coming from seasoned officers that have lived here a dozen years or more; and realize the importance of our guests. And they note sometimes vacationers’ exhibit lack of judgment not typical that means many just need a little reminding.
Typically police officers are trained with a focus on law enforcement, while avoiding risks and dangers of the job. Other resort markets include training for officers to remain conscious at all times that they are also an “Ambassador”, with a priority focus on making sure vacationing visitors want to return. This got my attention as I remembered back to the wife on the beach, as she turned to her husband; “we are never coming back here again”.
Our police officers have a job to do and there is a conflict in this letter. I support strong enforcement. Unlike many cities and towns, an Outer Banks officer can have their job role switch in an instant from handling a serious crime to being an Ambassador extending goodwill. To me it seems that is a considerable talent not easily learned. Especially in the heat of the moment. My question is there something OBHOA can do to help?