Being a bystander in an emergency situation.

Last night after party times, I had to respond to an overdose we were witnessing on the street. The person was passed out, unresponsive and discoloured. As soon as my partner called 911, a chum who has much more experience with overdoses than I do jumped in and employed her expertise, while I took the second position and offered assistance.
Friends, I want to share some information with you. I realize that not everyone is trained in First Aid, and this is actually for you.
When you witness an emergency, and someone has responded, please give them room. I understand that you might want to help, but crowding a victim or a responder is dangerous. If you really feel compelled to help, you should ask the responder what you can do. The last thing they need is someone TELLING them WHAT to do. If you have training, identify yourself to the responder and let them know. If they are not trained, they will likely ask you to take over. Be prepared to do so. Also, two or more people are generally required for CPR, so be on the ready to take over when the first responder gets tired. If you have no First Aid training, jumping in an telling the first responder what they should be doing is not only not helpful, but can be a dangerous distraction in a situation where every second counts. We are naturally curious and we all have somewhat morbid fascinations with death, whether you believe so or not, so the inclination to get up close will take over. Try to resist and ask yourself if you are being helpful.

You may see life-saving efforts that don’t look familiar to you. This does not mean that the responder is doing it wrong. There are many myths about First Aid, as well as outdated practices that are no longer taught in classes. Some life-saving efforts are painful to the victim; they can be bloody or cause vomiting. Don’t be alarmed, don’t scream, don’t try to jump in.

The second position is generally the crowd control position. This person might be a great big bitch to you, but please understand that they are doing their job. It’s important to keep our egos in check in emergency situations, so if someone barks at you, or tells you to step back, resist the urge to get into an argument and ask yourself if your hurt feelings are more important than the efforts being made to help someone in distress.
Please be safe, be considerate and conscientious, and if you have the time and the means, take a First Aid course.

Tags: First Aid