Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Accident Priorities

So, over the weekend, a freak nor'easter dropped several inches of very wet, very heavy snow on our area. The result was a lot of downed treeseven here where there aren't that many. My family had no power over the weekend. So we lent my mother a generator Sunday and ended up stopping on the way to render aid at a three-car collision.

Wookie got to put his EMT training into use (and me my first responder training) as we tended to the drivers and passengers of the three cars. It was a lesson in priorities and I'd like to use my platform here to issue some advice.

People, if you're in a car accident--especially if the airbags deploy--don't move or move as little as possible. If you get out of your car, you are risking further injury--either by moving some part of you that you don't realize you've injured, or from other cars on the road. Some injuries, like a torn aorta, or even whiplash are not obvious right away but can be very serious, or even deadly.

To the police out there, I understand that you have your own set of priorities--but clearing the accident scene and getting people's licenses and insurance is NOT so important that you should tell someone with a possible C-spine injury to reach over to their purse or glove box and get their papers. You can wait, or you can ask to reach in and get those things yourself. Your report is not worth someone becoming paralyzed or worse.

Also, maybe have some respect for the people who stop to render aid--especially if they are trained first responders, EMTs or paramedics, etc. We stop to help. We're not trying to make your life harder but, really, shouldn't your first priority be the welfare of the accident victims too? If you have someone there who can help them till EMS arrives (and we're often on scene before you are) then take advantage of the assistance. (I've been first on scene to several accidents over the years. Sometimes the officers are happy for the help, others pretty much ignore me, yesterday the officer just wanted us gone but it took an hour for EMS to arrive and the officer--in my opinion--did not show much concern with monitoring people for injuries at all. You might say that's not his job, but if no one else is there to do it then whose job is it?)

Finally, to all drivers, know that gawking just risks adding you to the accident. If you are not stopping to help, then slow down but keep going--and keep your eyes on the road. Really, DO slow down. The people who were speeding past us yesterday were careless jerks. I have no more eloquent words to describe them, and the terms I would rather use are far less polite. They put everyone at risk.

I hope the people from the accident are all okay--we have no way of knowing. No one asked us for our information (and in the last few years, I think I've only been asked twice).

I will say, too, that I am terribly proud of Wookie. He did a great job checking on everyone and, later, assisting the local EMTs when they arrived. He's my hero.

From the number of sirens I heard over the weekend and the damage we saw of downed trees and power lines, I'm sure that the storm left everyone here with a lot of clean-up to do.  This afternoon, our neighborhood was alive with the sound of chainsaws. From our house, Wookie and I heard a combination of sounds that spoke of someone else having a bad day:

  1. The sound of chainsaws and cracking tree limbs
  2. The sound of a car alarm
  3. People shouting
Never a good combination.

Winter has come early my friends. Be careful and stay safe.

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