First on scene

Based on the traffic jams and filled parking lots around the mall this entire weekend I think the economy will turn out just fine. We took the kids out to a nice dinner last night to thank them for how well they have been adapting to all of the changes in our lives recently. Christopher and Megan returned the favor by being up all night with the stomach flu last night. Sometimes you just can’t win 🙂  While they recovered today, Colleen and I went to the annual children’s party at the fire station. It’s always tons of fun for the kids so it was too bad Christopher and Megan missed it. Colleen colored and decorated cookies and made an ornament and watched Polar Express and snacked and jumped in big bouncy things and watched Santa arrive (on a fire truck of course). So…we’ve now taken Megan by herself to Santa and we’ve taken Colleen by herself to see Santa – maybe Christopher will get his chance next week, huh?

I know I should probably wait to show you the kid’s Christmas picture for this year, but it’s just so darn cute I have to share it now. Don’t tell Beth I gave you this sneak peak…

Here’s what I put on a blog at work from a few days ago…

Last night while driving home from work there was an accident on 494 about 10 or 20 cars in front of me. The driver lost control at probably 60 mph and ran into the divider of the highway which deployed both airbags and crumpled the front end of his car. I didn’t see the accident but his smoking car was still rolling backwards across all three lanes of the highway by the time I reached the scene. When it stopped rolling it was sideways on the highway completely blocking the right lane of traffic and the driver was not moving.

Although I do have more medical and emergency training than most people, I’m not trained in stopping in civilian clothes in the middle of a highway at dusk during rush hour. But I stopped anyway. I needed to see how many people were in the car, if they were ok, and if I could help.

Fortunately, only one person was in the car. I helped him un-jam his door and get out of his car and I did a quick medical assessment. Other than being dazed, wobbly, and having some minor airbag abrasions he seemed ok. Another woman stopped and I had her dial 911 which was a minute or two later.

But here’s the part where we can all potentially act differently (and I’m not advocating that it’s safe for anyone to stop their car in the highway). No one else stopped or even dialed 911 before we did, including the people who witnessed the accident. No one else helped or offered to help. While the car was rolling people were creatively (at 15 mph) trying to find any path around this car and through the debris so their lives wouldn’t be disrupted. After I talked to dispatch and the scene was under control the other woman said to me “I can’t believe no one else stopped”. I can’t either. This person could have been seriously injured, or (as you see in the movies) his car could have been seconds away from bursting into flames and just needed someone to help him with his seatbelt and door (however unlikely that scenario is).

I know people were busy and they had just worked long days in the office and they had plans that night and they have a lot of stressful things on their minds – but we still need to take the time to help out others in need. Be it in the workplace or elsewhere, please don’t be in too much of a hurry that you can’t stop to help others. Don’t look back at the end of the day and regret that you had the chance to help someone else out and passed up on that opportunity. It’ll make you feel better too. And of course…drive safe!

4 Responses to “First on scene”

  1. Aunt Katherine says:

    That’s so sad that no one else even took the time to call 911, let alone stop to see if the man was okay. Erik has told me that in Europe it’s so engrained in people to stop and help if there is an accident. It’s against the law to not stop. And, in order to get your license over there, you have to take a CPR class. Seems like that should be done here too. Most people probably assume that someone else called 911… not that that’s right. You are definitely setting an example that we should all live by.
    Oh, cute Christmas card!

  2. Grandpa T says:

    Nice job, son. I’m proud of your quick and proper response. It is so easy not to get involved or assume others will respond. Everyone is so busy being busy that we don’t take the time to help others with even the simple things. I’m glad you did and obviously the fellow you helped is thankful that you took action. I’m sure your training had some influence on your decision to assist, but even if you didn’t have the training I’m sure you would have done the right thing. From Katherine’s comment it sounds like Europe is way ahead of us in this area.

    I like the Christmas photos (the one with Santa and without) too.

    Hope everyone is feeling better and can enjoy the fun Christmas activities.

  3. admin says:

    It’s great to get reponses to the blog again!!! I was thinking I would have to start writing about whats-her-face from Alaska again (does anybody remember her name anymore?) to get responses. A guy I work with from India said that over there it is very rare for people to stop to help because that is associated with being at fault in the accident. He said that, combined with slow response times from police and paramedics make it challenging if you are in a serious accident. I’m just glad the guy I stopped to help seemed to be ok.

  4. Brooks Thompson says:

    I’m so proud of you!!! And, I’m so glad you and the woman who stopped were safe when the entire incident was over and that the driver was okay. He must have thought you two were his guardian angels!!!

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