Monday, November 12, 2007

Emergency Response

Last night, I was cooking up a pot of chili while my fiance was on the phone talking to her mother. It was a fine Sunday evening: cold outside, warm in the kitchen, with delicious smells pouring into the air of jalapenos and tomatoes and cumin.

In the midst of this yummy scene, I heard the dreadful sound coming from the busy street corner near the apartment house. It was a furious scream of tires scraping pavement, and several loud bangs in rapid succession. A whisper of glass and debris snowing on the street. Definitely a bad one, and possibly a very very bad one.

I called to Sarah: "I'll be back." Turned the heat off the chili, and was out the door in seconds.

Let me pause here and tell you something about my employer. Among the many wonderful things the place does on a daily basis, the center also pulls off a few amazing things. For instance: closing our doors for a day and having the entire staff trained and certified in CPR and First Aid. In addition to everybody's salary for the day, the center paid for everybody's training. APCH figures that having everybody trained to respond to a medical emergency makes the center and our community a little safer, and was worth the investment. How about that.

So I ran out there last night in case these skills might be in need. At this point, the accident had happened just seconds ago, and within a minute I was on the scene. Two cars were totalled: a sedan had its front end completely flattened, and a Lexus SUV had apparently been punched into oncoming traffic, coming to rest perpendicular to traffic. This vehicle was also a mess. As in: wheels missing. Other cars had bumped into one another in the immediate aftermath.

In the Lexus had been a mom and two young girls. Good people were already there, keeping close to them as they slowly emerged from the vehicle and walked - uninjured - to the curb. Mom said they all lived right in the neighborhood, and were just making a run down to Pazzazz Sushi. (Good place, by the way.)

The two girls had been bounced around pretty hard and were feeling pretty scared. One girl was crying. A woman hugged her, while a pleasant-looking fellow tried to calm her by making her look at things. "See that stop sign? Now look over there. See that tree?" Interesting to note the various responses to a child's terror. Shortly after that, she looked up at me - eyes soaked with tears and flush in the face but otherwise alive and healthy and grateful. What could I do but smile? So I did just that, and said, "Wow! I bet that was really scary, huh?" A sniffle and a nod.

Mom was wearing a polite but unmistakably pissed-off smile. A car is a car; she and her kids had made it. Even so, her smile was whiffling through her palm pilot and summoning the phone number of her attorney. Somebody's people are hearing from her people this morning, I have no doubt.

Several cars broken, no one hurt. Not one injury requiring emergency care. So I did the most helpful thing I could do: got out of the way. Went back into the apartment, turned the fire back on, and finished cooking that pot of chili.

1 comment:

Ji Hyang said...

Nice job in emergency response. Response, clear assessment/ clear relationship and correct function. And the chili.

All of the Northeast from Boston through Hudson River valley foggy tonight. A few accidents that demonstrated 180 degrees.
Didn't seem to be any serious injuries.