Monday, June 10, 2013

Lessons Learned From Calling 911 | An Elderly Lady Falls Down The Stairs

Dry Dock Waterfront Grill | Longboat Key Florida | With Jess' dad and step mom

When we were on the mainland we celebrated Jess' birthday with her dad and step mom.  As we were waiting outside of a restaurant for a table to open up we were taking our 365 (the above photo) when suddenly an elderly lady fell down a whole flight of stairs.

I heard a short scream, then commotion, and then saw the lady sliding down the steps backward, and then I heard her head hit the ground.  I was up and out of my seat and went over to the woman, there was already about 3 others surrounding her.  

Immediately I asked, do you want me to call 911?  I think I had to ask twice.  Someone said yes, call 911.  I told them not to move the lady because they were starting to try.  The lady was unconscious.  As I dialed 911 blood began to pour from the back of the womans head.  A man had put his hand under her head and blood began to pour out quite quickly.  I'm not sure why he decided to move the woman's neck, and why he would do that if he didn't have gloves on.  Another woman looked at me and pleaded tell them to hurry up.

The 911 operator asked me what city I was in.  I didn't know, I was travelling, visiting family, we weren't in the same city that Jess' dad lives in.  I had to ask someone.  They then transfered my call to another 911 operator.  They asked me what had happened and where I was.  I told him that a woman had fallen down a flight of stairs.  They wanted to know how old she was.  Someone told me in her 70's.  I don't remember the exact order of questions they asked, but they also asked me if she was conscious and what the extent of her injuries were.  I told them she was unconscious and that blood was coming out of the back of her head.  I think she came to during the phone conversation.  

Then they wanted the address of the restaurant.  I didn't know that either, but there was an employee outside now too who had to repeat the address to me a few times.  One of the hostesses upstairs was also on the phone with 911.  I told the operator that, and he just had me keep going, but then he said that the other call was complete and someone was on their way.  The womans husband was crying at this point and someone was trying to comfort him and get him to sit down.

The restaurant was in a strange parking lot, so I ran up to the main road to flag down the ambulance.  I could hear sirens, and then I saw them trying to pull into a wrong parking lot.  I flagged them down and they saw me immediately, then I pointed them in the direction to go.

I walked back and prayed for the woman quietly as the paramedics were doing their thing.  I went and sat back down to wait for our table.  Jess had been redirecting people walking by so that they didn't walk onto the scene.  Our table got called and we went in and ate our dinner, we were a bit shaken up, and I made sure to use the handrail for the rest of the evening.

I felt that time is of the essence in these types of situations.  I was frustrated that no where did the restaurant have it's address posted.  What if there wasn't an employee available to tell me?  I guess it's important to know your surroundings even if you're travelling.  I was frustrated that the people moved the womans neck.  I thought if there is a possible spinal injury you were not suppose to move them.

Anyway here's some things I learned.

1.  Know your surroundings.  Know where you are, what city you're in and what street you're on.  When you call 911 from your cell, you might have to be redirected to another operator.

2.  Since time is of the essence, make sure you help the EMS get there, either flag them down yourself or delegate someone to flag them down.  Be safe in this process.

3.  Use a handrail when on the stairs, carry latex gloves.

4.  Keep your phone charged.

Engage:  Have you ever called 911?  Share with us the story in the comments.  

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