It always seems like when I travel there's something to relate to my readers. Today's lesson is twofold:
- Crush zones, airbags and modern technology really do make vehicles safer.
- Emergency responders don't respond if nobody calls 911.
On our way to Southern California for a long Labor Day weekend my wife and I saw an accident on the freeway. We didn't see it happen, but the dust hadn't settled yet.
A woman clipped a big rig and lost control, rolling her little SUV onto the soft shoulder. It's a rural area of Central California, about 15 minutes from the closest ambulance. We stopped to help, which reminded me of why I wear boots with steel toes and steel shanks at work.
Sandals are not approved footwear.
The SUV, a Honda, did its job well. She was in a cocoon of airbags and -- other than a little skin tear -- she seemed fine. I always hate it when people say things like she was lucky she wasn't killed or some such nonsense. Lucky would have been missing the truck and not crashing at all. Surviving the accident wasn't luck. It was a culmination of research and development in vehicle safety.
It was, however, a little bit lucky that her SUV came to rest on its wheels. She was able to get out and walk around (we were well off the freeway out of traffic) and the responders didn't have to stabilize an upside-down vehicle to lift her out.
There was a witness there. He was standing next to the woman's open door when we arrived. He had a Blue Tooth earpiece in. I asked him when we walked up if he'd called 911 yet. He had not, neither had the woman.
I called 911 from my cell phone and talked to the CHP call taker. I have to say it was probably the hardest time I've ever had hearing over a 911 line. There was so much background noise on the call taker's end that I could barely understand her questions. It seemed like I could hear another call taker's questions (presumably on another line) better than my own. Either that, or the person I was talking to was in training and what I kept hearing were the prompts from her trainer.
Even emergency dispatchers have to start somewhere.
In the end the ambulance came and the woman climbed into the back with the paramedic. We left before they did so I don't know if she was transported to the hospital or not. Either way, our work was done.
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