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  • You Are The First Responder

    Posted by Dan from Madison on April 16th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Way back in 2007 I wrote this piece and was sadly reminded of it yesterday.

    I am currently training to go back to France to ride my bike in the Pyrenees again. My training rides are long and hard, and I usually use TV to help pass the time. Last night I decided to watch the coverage of the bomb blasts in Boston.

    It was the usual cacophony of noise. I can’t count how many times I heard the term “federal, state and local law enforcement”, “bring to justice (or some form of it)”, etc. etc. It is always the same stuff.

    One thing that actually riled me up and forced me to utter a curse word or two was something a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show (I know) said. I can’t remember the guys name, but he was a talk radio guy from Boston. He was, in a roundabout way, bashing the end of race Boston Marathon volunteers who were helping with first aid. It upset me so much because they were actually doing everything they could, wrapping wounds, transporting the wounded out of there since ambulances couldn’t get in, giving water, blankets, anything that might help the situation. All the while, the “professionals” were nowhere to be found, minutes away, while the cops were simply running around with their hands on their weapons (from the footage that I saw).

    Always remember that you are the first responder. Not the cops or the other “professionals”.


    9 Responses to “You Are The First Responder”

    1. Jonathan Says:


    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many spectators were health care workers since an event like that would tend to draw them.

    3. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      The ability to self-organize and respond to disaster is a mark of being American. Europeans, and to a somewhat lesser extent urban Canadians in my experience are trained to wait for orders from above assuming that they are not competent to do anything and will be punished for trying. Other nations lean more towards looting and pillaging at the opportunity.

      And yeah, our “betters” want to breed that out of us.

      I will say, in these days when encountering bomb attacks is now possible, if statistically unlikely; that a sudden flash of light and noise should be responded to as instantaneously as possible by making yourself as small as possible and getting down. And if possible do not follow the crowd in a mob [may well not be possible] afterwards, but try to find another route. It is far from unheard of in real terrorist bombings, for an initial blast to be used to herd the crowd into a kill zone for a larger blast. If you decide not to be a first responder, get clear of the area helping each other get away. If you decide to “run towards the fire”, be mentally ready for follow up attacks.

      Subotai Bahadur

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      In my anti-terrorism training, we were taught that a shooting incident should lead you to lie flat on the floor as bullets tend to ricochet up. In a bomb or grenade incident, it is better to crouch as shrapnel often flies along the floor. This seems to have been the case as many injuries were leg amputations.

    5. tyouth Says:

      Re. mob scenes stampeding: I imagine it’s better to treat the human flow similarly to the way one treats rip-tides. Go with the flow while angling toward the edge of the crowd.

    6. tyouth Says:

      Living in the city: One is much more likely to be abused, generally speaking, no?

    7. grey eagle Says:

      He, whose name must not be mentioned, will blame the NRA for the Boston Massacre. He will remind us that Islam is a religion of peace.

    8. John Cooper Says:

      I noticed the same things on that initial cell phone video that came out. The cops all had their right hands on their holsters, and were running around looking away from the blast scene. Several “civilians”, OTOH, rushed to the scene and started removing the barricades and scaffolding in order to gain access to the wounded. I saw two unarmed military people wearing camo helping in that effort as well.

    9. Dan from Madison Says:

      @John Cooper – exactly.