Three Critical Decisions



This is a guest post by Chris H and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

I was in a large furniture store in downtown Bozeman, Montana selling my services to the manager (I owned a carpet cleaning franchise and a commercial cleaning service at the time) when a lady came running in from the street and told us there was a man outside having a heart attack. I rushed outside to find an unconscious man lying upon the sidewalk obviously in major cardiac arrest. He was surrounded by a small group of people as silent and unmoving as pillars of stone watching him die.

I pushed through the group and fell to my knees to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived. Unfortunately, the man did not survive.

What I found to be most peculiar about that scene was that aside from the one person who had alerted us to the emergency all of the others had been immobilized. And then I remembered that I too had once done the same thing. A few years earlier I had been shopping in a large grocery store when down the aisle from where I stood a lady suddenly collapsed to the floor and began having a grand mal seizure. I did rush to her side but then stood silently watching. A man rushed over and said in these classic words, “Don’t just stand there. Do something.” He then moved to protect her from smashing her head against store shelving until the seizure was over.

My inaction that day was deeply troubling. I had been well trained in first aid and had thought I was prepared for most any situation, but I had done nothing. Upon leaving the store I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen again. I promised myself that in the future I would act in the event of an emergency. Remarkably over the next decade or so my vow was put to the test in unexpected ways. I have been the first to respond at four serious automobile accidents. Two of these accidents had fatalities. I held people in my arms as they perished. Note that I said I was the first to respond at these accidents. There were others who were on site before I was, and once again I witnessed the curious immobilized behavior of all concerned.

I have come to learn that this immobilization, this stunned sort of shock, is not uncommon. In fact it’s often the first reaction of those in an emergency situation. The human brain simply freezes when confronted with situations it is totally unprepared to deal with. I’ve learned that one must make a simple decision to prepare oneself for the unexpected emergency. One must decide beforehand to act.

But there is more to it. I have found the best thing to do is to clearly picture in my mind events that may occur and then just as clearly I see myself acting, responding. I may not know what might happen in the future nor do I know what action I will take but I absolutely know I will act. Sometimes I play a little mental game in order that I might be more effective in the event of an emergency.

Here is an example: recently I was driving at night in a storm as I traveled across Nevada to Utah on a rather remote route. I role played in my mind what I would do if an EMP were detonated over the US and I suddenly found myself isolated, alone, and without transportation (a major EMP will destroy the computerized parts of a vehicle). What would I do?

My first words to myself were, “I’d be screwed.” Experience has demonstrated that emergencies are never convenient so I knew it was actually essential to role-play the scenario in my mind. Of course I had basic emergency items with me such as warm clothing, energy bars, knife, rope, flashlights, a BIC lighter, my .45 and water. I would have survived because I was both mentally prepared and had items necessary for survival with me.

I posses a Concealed Firearms Permit and know that the most important responsibility I have is to not just be technically prepared to use the weapon correctly, but to be mentally prepared to actually shoot. I have asked myself if I would literally pull the weapon out, put my finger on the trigger and shoot someone with the intent to kill. The answer is yes, yes I would. Without that decision the weapon and the permit would be useless. And unfortunately I know that as a fact. A few years ago there was a tragic public shooting here in Carson City. A man walked into a busy IHOP restaurant and opened fire, killing several people. There was another man nearby with a concealed carry permit. He did nothing. I may be wrong, but I assume he had not made the decision long before that he would act in just this type of situation and so he froze.

There is another decision, however, that is equally as important as the decision to act when the time comes, and it is this: decide to prepare. Each of us will prepare differently. Some have built, or will build elaborate fortified retreats. Others may find they are satisfied with having a 72 hr. emergency kit in the garage, and yet others may believe the paternal State in the form of FEMA will provide – though I dare say none who believe this last will be found reading this essay. This faith in FEMA in my opinion may be nothing less than self-destruction.

What I am saying is to take action. Begin today if you have not already. And for those of you who have begun but have not completed your plans, now is the best time. Repeat after me: Yes, I will take action. Now. Today. I know from personal experience that for many financial resources are very limited but you’d be surprised at what can be done a little bit at a time when one sets ones mind to it.

I have one last suggestion, and perhaps the most important of the three decisions. I am presenting to you. Fear can be a great motivator but can also be a real bastard to live with each day. Preparedness helps limit the fear. However, I have observed that fear can also become an addiction. The constant vibration of fear that feeds on an unlimited supply of fantastic imminent catastrophes fed to us online through YouTube or Facebook, for instance, can ruin your life, and alienate your family and loved ones. I encourage you to strictly limit the amount of time you spend online or otherwise scaring the crap out of yourself each day. The brain wants to be entertained and active. Make the decision to feed it something other than fear. You’ll be much happier, and more balanced in your approach to life.

There you have it. Decide to act. Decide to prepare. Decide to choose life and love over fear.

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive – A $150 gift certificate for Hornady Ammo  courtesy of LuckyGunner, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and 1 Case of Survival Cave Food Chicken with 12 14.5 oz. Cans courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive – $100 off of your next order of Fish Antibiotics courtesy of Campingsurvival.com, a Survival Puck  courtesy of SurvivalPuck.com and a SurvivalistBlog.net Coffee Mug courtesy of Horton Design.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on March 17 2014

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Comments

  1. wow! just a couple days ago while waiting in line to give some money to walmart, a lady a couple ailses over was in obvious distress and looked terribly ill. The longer i waited and looked to see if she was going to need some help, another woman with a nurse uniform walked buy and recognized the signs of an impending heartattack. I didnt know what i was looking at other than a lady who appeared sick. Thank God someone who recognized the signs had walked by. I will do better next time. It costs nothing to ask someone if they are alright or if they need help. Its like this article was written for me. Great job and very important topic. Thanks!

  2. grandma bear says:

    Very nice article! I wonder if this shock factor would also have a place if SHTF and people just freeze, do nothing? There will be those that take advantage of this and those poor ice cubes will be toast. Being prepared will pay off big time in the time of dispare. Thankyou for being there for the ones who you held in your arms their last moments on earth. You gave comfort when none was to be found. Keep fighting the good fight and remember we are all in this together.

  3. patientmomma says:

    What a great article!! Many of us have not had to face a life or death emergency head on so far in our lives. I have a CCP and I carry my pistol but I do not chamber a round and sometimes, I even take the clip out. In an emergency this could get me and others killed. I have run through “what if” scenarios in my mind, but I have not yet been put to the test. I pray I will “do something” when the time comes. Thanks for the article.

  4. I may have made the same mistake last night. We have a very lovely widow there in her low 70′s. I noticed right away that her lips were blue. I continued to notice it all evening, but, afraid to frighten her, mentioned it to my DH and our caller. At least we will all be getting together tomorrow night for our Sweetheart Dance, and I will think today about the best way to mention it to her without unduly alarming her.

    • Blue lips aren’t good. That’s a sign of cyanonis. Poor perfusion of oxygen containing blood. Google blue lips symptoms to see more info.

  5. The Boy Scouts say “Be Prepared”. Unfortunately we have become dependent upon others so much and so self absorbed that we fail to think about how we would handle a crisis situation. “That only happens on TV.” “Somebody else will know what to do.” “I don’t want to get involved and sued.” All reasons I’ve seen people walk away from people in danger.

    We were out camping with friends when one of the ladies was complaining about there being no cell service. Her comment was “What if someone gets hurt?” I said “We just do like we used to do. Pull out a real 1st aid kit (I have a M3 and M17 in the trailer), do what we can, load them into a vehicle and take them to the hospital. Do you think they could get an ambulance here, stabilize the patient, and get them to the hospital faster?” Her response: “You can do that? They’ll (the authorities) let you?” She’s a great person, but that was a wake up call for everyone in the group. They now know where we have quality supplies and people that will handle it.

  6. I have been in the position of responder, not necessarily the first one. Sometimes keeping the person from being further injured is a huge help. Example: car-pedestrian accident, injured party laying on the pavement and more vehicles are coming. Block roadway and make them go around, call emergency services, possibly render first aid. Sounds simple, right? Not alway so.

    In my experience those seemingly frozen into inaction are there to watch the drama unfold in front of them. Some of them will get in the way and be worse than useless. One woman, who knew the pedrestrian from the above example, was at the verge of hysterics. Giving her a job to do at the scene calmed her and helped the injured party.

    As far as me being prepared to use deadly force… have been faced with the prospect a couple of times already. Thankfully it got resolved without such force. But the ability to immediately respond is there.

    Good article.

  7. Good job, Chris ~

    That was well written and it will surely help others out.

    Along the lines of what you wrote here’s something to consider. Having served in U.S. Naval Special Warfare (’81-’96) I attended three S.E.R.E. schools and one of the dominant themes taught to us (by Korean and Vietnam POW’s) was that the worst mindset one could possibly have is to deceive oneself, remain willfully ignorant and to erroneously believe, “Oh, nothing bad will ever happen to me.” And by extension, “…nothing bad will ever happen to my family, my neighbors, my state or country.” So, what you wrote about Chris should get others to stop and think, and, prepare. Right on!

    Take care, fellow campers…

    Respectfully,
    Billy

    “SALVATION IS OF THE LORD [Jesus Christ]” -Jonah 2:9c [KJV]

  8. Patriot Dave says:

    Good Advice. Except for the ‘scaring yourself everyday’. Hard to do when the daily headlines are filled with doom and gloom, plus the “miscellany” lists. :-)
    One good thing about the CERT training was they had us do practice drills of what we learned in class. That forced us to DO something. Practiced responses become automatic responses.

  9. gbigblackdog says:

    This article is so true. I once had the experience of witnessing a gentleman having a seizure in a store. I saw him teeter back and slump down the case. This is only the 3rd seizure I’ve witnessed in my life, but you never forget them after the first one, which happened to be my grandmother. Anyway, no one was going to this guy’s aide, not even the wife, who just stood there screaming “oh my god, oh my god” As I helped him lay flatter on the floor (because he had slumped into a very awkward position) I had to turn around and ask someone to call 911. I remember from my first aid days in school, don’t just shout “call 911″ look someone in the eye and say “you call 911″ By this point he wasn’t seizing so badly, but was breathing quite heavily. I used this time to quiet the wife because she kept asking what was happening to him. When I told her it was a seizure she freaked again. Someone with her eventually calmed her down and she asked why was he was having a seizure. It’s funny, just a couple of days before I was watching something on TV, one of those reenacted shows, and there was someone who seized from high blood pressure. You can also seize from high fever, or in the case of my grandmother, brain tumor, but I wasn’t going to tell her that, so I just said it could be epilepsy, high fever, high blood pressure…and she started freaking again saying how he just got new high blood pressure medicine. As she’s freaking again, I’m still down with the guy by myself. He’s a BIG guy. He starts up again. I finally had to ask someone for a jacket to cushion his head. Only then did a guy join me on the floor.

    Human behavior IS strange sometimes. I am not trained in anything, and can barely say I am trained in CPR even though I took one of those Red Cross courses. Even so, people think you are some kind of expert or professional just because you were the one to jump into action, regardless of whether you actually administered first aid, or just comforted someone who was in distress. I think part of it has to do with society today. A century or more ago when medical and security help was not available as it is today, you had to handle things yourself. I think this toughened you up, trained and prepared you early. We have become soft. I think those who can react to these kind of situations quickly and level headed today, will be the ones better off when TSHTF later.

  10. Chris H, thanks for this article on these 3 critical decisions related to preparedness for various situations.
    Just to be clear, the 3 decisions are:
    1. to use a gun to kill if needed to protect.
    2. to prepare to take action if/when needed.
    3. to use fear to prepare.
    Is that correct?

    For all of us, if a prepping site seems to promote fear regularly withOUT offering practical ways to prep for the situations described, look for better prep sites. B/c too much fear can paralyze one from preparing. Fear can be a motivator, but it’s not the best motivation.

  11. As a LEO, I saw this phenomenon happen ever single time I responded to an emergency. The “deer in the headlights” effect. You must think of what you will do ahead of time and play the, “What If” game. Think of as many scenarios as you can in which things will go wrong then think of several responses to those scenarios. This applies not only to medical emergencies, but DHTOB situations.

    • That comment re the effect is spot on. People watch crime shows, medical shows, disasters on the news, etc all the time but can’t make the connection to real-time actual events in which they find themselves.

  12. Great article, as many others I have direct experience with the “frozen bystander” syndrome. I think they don’t know what to do and just shut down and watch. The DW and I witnessed a bad car accident a few years ago on the freeway. The car did a 360 at about 70 MPH and went under a guard rail on the driver’s side. The car was a convertible and the guard rail had gone through the side window and cut the drivers neck and her head slammed against the rail. I jumped in the back seat and stabilized the girls C-spine, she wasn’t breathing and was slumped forward in her seat. Eventually I got her airway open and she started breathing. When the police and fire arrived I took time to look around the scene and saw 6-10 people just standing there watching me and the girl in the car. I yelled at several of them to call 911 prior to this, and made eye contact but they just stood there. One person snapped out of it and eventually called 911. From my stop to EMS on the scene was at least 10 minutes even with a fire station directly in sight about 1 mile away. The girl was incoherent when she started to come to once her airway was cleared, and one fool was asking her what medications she was taking as if somehow that was going to help this girl. When the cops arrived they pushed these bystanders away and left me in the car stabilizing her head and monitoring her breathing. Eventually paramedics arrived and took over from me to extricate her from the vehicle and get her to the hospital. Turned out she had a gash on her left neck which was bleeding but controlled as I stabilized her head and neck, a broken left arm, glass fragments in her eyes, facial cuts, abrasions and a concussion. Had we not stopped I know based on my medical experience and the lack of help from the bystanders that she likely would have died or at the very least suffered a debilitating stroke. It turned out that this girl’s mother was an RN who worked with a relative of mine at an area hospital and through the relative we learned that she survived and and had a full recovery.

    Get some training, but work out in your mind ahead of time what tasks you’re willing to perform during any emergency. I believe that people without some training will “freeze” out of fear, lack of knowledge or for any number of reasons. People want to help or they wouldn’t stop. As a responder make assignments with direct eye contact of any bystanders if they “freeze”. Yell if you need to, some people will snap out of it when someone yells orders at them. This sounds easy, but consider a scene with sights, sounds and smells that are unfamiliar or foul and you get some idea. What if it’s -20 below in Minnesota, how would you handle that? On the flip side, the day we stopped it was 95 degrees with 60% humidity with the sun shining. Crisis occur during all times of the year in all climates and temperature extremes, plan accordingly.

  13. …i cannot say if it was a murder…but most likely…
    …i was having coffee about 20 years ago at a friends apartment overlooking a park…3stories up…

    …nice sunny day people out playing ball etc.

    …when i saw a huge black guy across street next to a park bench…
    …push another person voilently/aggressively…
    … minutes later…a short very skinny guy followed by a tall skinny guy walked towards the big black guy across the steet…

    …4 shots rang out…

    i watched as each bullet entered his stomach.
    … it seemed like he was almost watching me and as i watched him he just stood there… and held his stomach.

    … the 2 guys just kept walking down the street at a slow pace…
    …until they got out of site.

    …a lot of people were around and it took what seemed a long time for anyone to react and come to help…(which is wise i think)…

    then of course came the authorities.

    Shock at first… then i had thoughts of …
    playing the cop…following/disarming etc.

    then i thought of my family and my life.
    …did i REALLY want to commit myself to
    this? obviously it was a criminal drug related thing.
    …i thought of all the repercussi ons.

    at the time i was fresh out of military…and looking to rejoin and looking into trying to be a police officer or other government ppublic service job/careers.

    i was really messed up and ashamed about this.
    i left the big city and went and lived out of my backpack for quite awhile.

    hero me?
    i decided that i damn well WOULD have acted under similiar circumstances depending on thesituation…
    ex: a young mother and child/elderly etc. or just
    anyone… who seemed innocent.
    but…
    but…
    a damn drug dealer?

    needless to say i am WAY MORE AWARE since…

    • *sorry what i meant to say was…im not sure if the guy lived…
      … it is highly likely he died as being gut shot 4 times…

  14. …what was IT in me that made me want to go thump some………?

    …..my first reaction was to arrest…my second to administer first aid.

  15. …one last note…

    …it really must be something
    being legally able to open carry/or concealed.

    … not here in Canada.

    … cherish your rights Americans!

  16. when athletes train they are taught to envision every winning move over and ever. the mind is trained and the body follows suit.
    on the same subject envisioning failure prepares us for making mistakes.
    it is like norman vincent peale and the power of positive thinking.

  17. Dee in California says:

    This was by far the best article that I have read in a long time. Thank you for finally addressing an issue long ignored. Frozen people are the norm, and will continue to be. We can reduce the numbers by planning ahead, getting training and playing the ” what if game” using varied scenarios. Thank you for bringing you experience and insight.

  18. Chuck Findlay says:

    I think almost all of us would tend to freeze when confronted by such a situation, hopefully we will overcome that quick enough to render help.

    But at the same time the lawyers could jump into the situation at a later and affix blame to you $$$$ and cost you big time for being a good person.

    I think more people would render help if it were not for these concerns. If we ever did get a bad SHTF situation it may be likely people would help more when they feel they would not get hauled into court for doing so.

    As they say “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    • I am not sure but I think there is a law called the good Samaritan law that says you can’t be sued for trying to help someone in a situation like that.
      Also sad be it to say but a lot of people may just be standing there due to the fact that they just don’t give a damn if those people die or not. We here on the site are judging others by the way we feel WE would react but that doesn’t mean others have the same moral value’s as you might.

  19. Excellent article, but I must add that you don’t always react the same way every time you are confronted with an emergency situation. I watched a wreck happen one day and stopped to help. It turned out that I knew one of the drivers and I stayed with her until she left the hospital hours later. On the other hand, a few years later, my now 21-year-old was still a toddler and busted her lip. I froze. Fortunately, my mom went into emergency response mode and I’ve never responded that way since.

    • GA Red,
      I think it’s always different when it’s your child. I can be the most cool, calm person around. I remember on a school field trip years ago, when the children were singing Christmas carols at a nursing home, an elderly man started to choke and all of the other Mom’s immediately got my attention and later said it was because they knew I would deal with it. When something happens to my children, though, I tend to freeze, I hate that about myself!!

  20. celticreeler says:

    In the medical field, at least when I was still in it before the “great demoralization,” we used to have “mock codes.”

    It was my job, at times, to dream up the scenario. Age of patient, size of patient, initial findings and vitals, etc. Of course I had to start at the back end and work backward in time, so I had to dream up a particular clinical scenario and then make the staff work their way towards it, as I revealed tidbits of information to them as they went along. These were extremely useful, I believe, for drilling the staff in “what if….”

    No one probably has time to do this anymore. They’re too busy filling in the “26 questions” they have to ask their patient to comply with Obama’s plan to ruin American Medicine.

  21. I never panic, luckily. Has saved my life on the road and/or maiming. My DW finds it amazing but it is honed. I just don’t. My radar is always up. Military and so, so many horror stories I’ve seen. I think some do not/would not believe me when I submit that I’ve had two brothers murdered in cold blood. It is true. Seen more than wanted.

    Great article.

    • Here you go, meet my dead brother; Billie Joe. We grew up with violence and abuse from a drunken dad. Funny, I have briefed the Secretary of the Army on potential dismissals from the service for minor infractions on the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Play the hand you were dealt.

      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&dat=19980826&id=xD8fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=r88EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6833,5552231

      • Moreover, “Joey” never overcame the abuse. Funny how folks still liked him. He was most likely guilty. He beat my arse for years until he couldn’t. My older brother didn’t deserve his shotgun blast to the face though. My mom passed this past June. She is in a happier place. Imagine what she has went through. You would think I grew up in Chicago or sumptin.

        Don’t worry, I will never make light of the tough talk here but I oft-times wonder if the SHTF if some would do what they say they will do. You can understand. I do not panic.

  22. celticreeler says:

    I almost hate to bring up this possibility, but the pool of “non-responders” might include people who are ambivalent about rescuing someone else, because they
    1) Know that humans are mortal, most especially the extremely elderly,
    2) Appreciate that there are people out walking around that simply do not want to be saved, and have documents attesting to that fact, and
    3) Sometimes the “cure” is worse than the “disease.” Here the disease is death…the cure is sometimes something as invasive and traumatic as long-term intubation and artificial ventilation, artificial feeding, endless procedures and tests many of which can be quite painful and engender nontrivial amounts of suffering, not to mention exorbitant expense to the family or others.

    My rule is to stop and intervene if at all possible, but also to cull the crowd for anyone with information on the victim’s wishes. Lay people don’t have the same obligations as members of the health care profession, in some states. So, I try not to be too harsh on some of the non-responders. Some of them are elderly themselves, and maybe only recently went through a prolonged/painful illness of a loved one.

  23. Encourager says:

    What a great article! I have two things to add to the comments:
    1. My oldest son has trained himself in “what-ifs”. He has seen happen or come upon accidents where people were just standing around gawking. He took action and has saved a few people’s lives. He carries this giant first aid kit in his car – a trauma kit. With it he has stopped arterial bleeding at an accident scene; put a person’s scalp back on their head and bandaged it to stay there and stopped the bleeding (head wounds bleed horribly); done CPR; and much more. He has taken so many classes I can’t keep track of them. He is always armed, always alert, always aware with his situational awareness skills.

    2. He still remembers the situational awareness training I did for his Boy Scout troop. We took the troop on a hike in a nearby State Park, dividing them into three groups. Each group took a different path. Each group came across a medical emergency. One was a nasty bike accident with a broken leg and lots of blood; one was a hurt lost girl with a nasty arm wound; one was a man having a seizure. Now, each ‘victim’ was acting and we used fake blood, dirt, and foamy toothpaste for the seizure guy.

    The reaction of the boys in the troop was classic – all of them froze in shock. Then some began to cry or scream for help, but there was always one who immediately jumped in and cried “Be quiet! We’ve been trained for this! What do we do first?” That brought others out of their shock and they began talking themselves through the emergency. But we still had 3/4 of the boys gawking in shock. Of course, after ‘first aid’ was administered and an adult ‘called’ 911, we explained to the boys about the test and the injured miraculously recovered. Some of the gawkers got mad and upset; the boys who ‘helped’ the victims first were sheepish then grinned big.

    When we all got back to the parking lot, the boys started exchanging stories of what happened to each of their groups. We let them talk a bit but then called them together and discussed the reactions of all involved.

    I ran into one of the boys from that troop when he was 20 (he was 13 at the time of the emergency). I hardly recognized him, but he remembered me. We talked for a bit and caught up and then he brought up that hike. He said it changed his life. He was now an EMT, in college and hoping to go on to become a trauma surgeon. I cried. And walked on air the rest of the day.

  24. One time I was working at a construction site and some guy showed up with his elderly dad in the car who was having a heart attack. They got him out and onto the ground. I went to give him CPR and noticed he had vomited all over his own face. I hesitated for a second and the boss ran in and did the CPR/mouth to mouth right on top of the vomit. (this was before all the plastic gaskets for mouth-to-mouth made it into first aid kits, I guess)

    That was embarrassing that I hesitated, but the dude was already dead anyway, his son had driven him 100 miles while he was having the heart attack in order to bring him to a VA hospital to save money. Or that was his story anyway.

    Another time I saw a young man who fell off his bike and put his hand through a plate glass window; I was the one who responded while everyone was gawking, told someone to call 911 and got napkins from the nearby ice cream parlor, sat the kid down and elevated his cut hand with napkins on the wound – then the EMT’s arrived and took over.

    One time I was walking down the street obliviously humming to myself and admiring this holly bush in someone’s yard and this cop car came to a screeching halt right in front of me and the cop jumped out of the car, drew his service weapon and ran down the street yelling at someone else. Then he ran back to his car just as fast and drove off. The only thing I could think to do was dive behind the bush. I guess it was better than nothing. There wasn’t any cover. Fortunately the cop was so intent on catching whoever it was that he totally ignored me crouching behind this bush, which might have seemed odd or “suspicious”… I dunno, I just wanted to get off the proverbial X.

    I want to think I won’t freeze because I usually don’t, but I also know I can be surprised into freezing, or doing dumb stuff. Playing thru scenarios in my mind as I go through my day, based on what I see helps, but it’s also exhausting to be that vigilant all the time.

  25. Babycatcher says:

    Some might also freeze because what’s being done isn’t what they would do in that situation, and when they try to help, get scolded for it, so back off. Makes one leery of helping next time…

  26. It’s so strange to read all these responses because I have been in the exact opposite situation every time I show up on a scene… It seems that everyone is “over” trained in first aid, but doesn’t know how to recognize a serious situation from a mild one. Trying to put people in a c-spine when they hurt their foot. Some times all that is needed is comfort until the paramedics arrive. On the other hand, when something serious does happen, you have ample people. I saw a motorcycle crash directly in front of me and by the time I stopped, there was already an off duty EMT with c-spine controlled, a nurse, and two first aiders there. I have literally never encountered people freezing…

  27. Great article. I like your phrase: Decide to Act, Decide to Prepare; Decide to Choose Life and Love over Fear. Well said.

    We all hope we won’t freeze in a real situation, but we might and some of us have.

    For those who have frozen in the past, getting over the guilt requires reflection, understanding and forgiveness Training really helps also.

    I froze once when I was 11 on a DC bus and didn’t intervene in a senseless gang-related beating of a single boy. None of the adults on the bus didn’t stop the boys, nor did the driver. It happened so fast. When it was over, the 3 boys leapt off the bus and ran. I remember clearly how stunned and numb I felt. I remember as I took off my headscarf and gave it to the boy to help bandage himself – then the adults came in and carried him off the bus. It all felt very surreal and in slow motion.

    My father helped me overcome my guilt of non-action because he was a seasoned veteran. He said that in war everyone freezes at first and eventually you either harden up or you don’t. He said that you learn to recognize and avoid those who continually freeze under duress. He said he was very proud that I gave the boy my scarf and it showed I had no reason for guilt because of my age and my actions at the end.

    Fear freezes us when we are ABOUT to decide, but it doesn’t have to continually stop us. Like Chris H said: Decide to Act, Prepare and Choose Life and Love. Truly wise words.

  28. Chuck Findlay says:

    Question? Do good Samaritan laws apply to a trained medical person? What I mean is if a nurse or doctor comes upon an accident or injured person do they have to worry about being sued and loosing their license, livelihood, a lot of money and pretty much everything if a jury says they did something wrong?

    I don’t think good Samaritan laws apply to them, but I don’t know for sure..

  29. 3 weeks ago an elderly woman with a walker tripped and fell to the floor in a resteraunt out here. her walker got caught on the floor mat. she laughed as she rolled onto her side and said she was ok, but she couldn’t get on her feet on her own. 4 employees rushed over and stood around her, insisting they had to wait for paramedics to help her up. I rushed over and tried to lift her back onto her feet (what she was asking for) the employees refused to help insisting it was a liability thing. I was not strong enough (she was heavy set) to lift her up and I told one of the gawking employees to help. he flat out refused again stating company policy and liability. I left when the paramedics (ambulance) arrived and they helped her back on her feet.

    I was disgusted with the way those idiots behaved.

    my hat is off to you for trying to help that man