Friday, August 03, 2007

You Are The First Responder

The tragedy in Minneapolis of a few days ago underlines something I have written about before and will no doubt have to write about again. I never really thought about it much until Katrina hit and I saw the images that all of you saw. Those were images of people standing in what seemed like endless lines for food and water or to be evacuated.

Waiting for “professionals” to save you in a time of crisis may cost you your life. In this age of terrorism it is very important that individuals be able to think clearly, and also have the ability to take care of themselves in a time of tragedy, or an insane random event such as the bridge collapse. First responders didn’t empty those frightened kids out of that school bus that almost met a terrible fate on the I35W bridge, normal people did. Someone had to take charge, calm the kids down, get them off the bus and scurry them to safety - then the “first responders” came and evacuated them and others off of what was left of the bridge.

As I alluded to earlier, during the Katrina crisis I was simply appalled and irate at those who refused to take their personal safety into their own handsand instead decided that they would wait for the government to help them. Remember the convention center where a breathless Geraldo Rivera stated that babies were dying? Remember the bridge where people waited for days on end to be evacuated? What the hell was everybody doing?

It is approximately 76 miles from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, LA. Most humans can leisurely walk 3 mph, making it about 25 hours or so to make the hike from NO to Baton Rouge. To this day I wonder why more people didn’t do this, or just hike it to a closer destination where help may have been available. I understand that some people may have been trapped by water and I understand that small children and the elderly may have an issue with this sort of jaunt, but a normal healthy adult should have really no problem, even carrying provisions in a backpack.

But that last sentence is where I get tripped up. The words healthy adult are meaning less and less in our present day America. You can’t help yourself if you can’t help yourself, as I like to say.

And you may, someday, need to help yourself. The bridge collapse and disasters like Katrina are proof that it may be YOU that has to flee, help, or act. You may not have time to allow for a governmental agency or a “first responder” to arrive and lend a hand.

I hope you have a plan in case of an emergency, and are healthy enough to implement it.

Cross posted at Chicago Boyz.


jti said...

Reminds me of a post you did a while back. I only live about 8 miles from work, so having to walk home during an emergency is a breeze. I was more concerned about my wife - her one-way commute was 35 miles. She recently took at job about an 1/8 of a mile from home - very comforting to know she's that close...

Dan from Madison said...

Yea, it is a hot button topic of mine. I dread the day that something horrific happens to Chicago or another large metropolitan city. I hope we don't see another Katrina type deal.

Snakeye said...

I agree with you and all... one of the problems (in my opinion) that hinders people from being "first helpers" are the random stories of lawsuits that you hear about: so-and-so sueing for money because a person that tried to help them out didn't do it exactly right or made them uncomfortable in some way...

Annie said...

DAN!! Excellent fricken post!!
The only thing I can add is
"Hellz yeah!"