When you turn up for any traumatic incident you take in what’s called a “global overview”. You very quickly assess the situation for a rough idea of what’s gone/going on – this includes safety, numbers of casualties, by-standers, damage, critical urgency etc etc.
After a while of being in this job you also pick up on the smaller things too, tending also, not to panic so much. This is a handy trait to develop as most people who come across a traumatic incident do tend to panic. In fact, you can loosely gauge the seriousness of an incident by the actions and panic of the by-standers around.
But the most amusing aspects of it all are the comments people say as soon as you arrive. Some folk just blurt things out. Others have thought about what to say . . . but just get it wrong. Either way, it’s very interesting – partly because some of the things said are bordering ridiculous but mainly because all of them, I’m sure, would be the type of thing I’d say if I wasn’t in this job.
Here’s just one example of this sort of thing that happened the other week . . . picture the scene – an RTC (Road Traffic Collision), car vs pedestrian . . .
The Global Overview was this;
One 4×4 stopped on a zebra crossing
One old grannie lying on her back in front of it.
One by-stander kneeling at her head holding what looked like a nappy to the back of her head.
One person either side of said granny holding a hand each.
Several other by-standers hovering about.
Quite a calm atmosphere
No skid marks about the car
No damage to the car
No pools of blood or noticeable gore anywhere
One smile on our little old granny
I approach with a broad smile on my face and the conversation goes like this.
Binder: Hello, what’s gone on h-. . .
1st by-stander at head end: She’s got a large cut to her head!
Binder: Ok ri-. . .
2nd by-stander: I’ve got her handbag. It’s got her things in
Binder: Ri-iigh-. . .
3rd by-stander: Her coat is ripped there see!
Binder: Oh-. . .
4th by-stander: She’s allergic to Penecillin
Binder: Wha-. . . !?
5th by-stander: Her last meal was this morning
Binder: Grea-. . .
6th by-stander: Her eyes are open!
Binder: Please kill m-. . .
7th by-stander: Her date of birth is 6th April 1934
Binder: . . . . . .!!!???
8th by-stander: She’s GCS 15
Binder: Look!! Can someone just tell me what’s happened!!
I kid you not, that’s how these “conversations” go. And this was exactly how this one went. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking folk for trying to help by giving information in a stressful situation – but then I’m not mocking the person who slips on a banana skin or comes out of the toilet with their skirt tucked in their knickers either . . . I’m just finding it funny.
The little old granny was fine in the end and yes, it was a nappy on her head. Very impressive I thought.