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wundayatta's avatar

Did you ever rescue a neighbor or a stranger?

Asked by wundayatta (58586points) May 25th, 2012

My daughter said last night, “My Daddy saved someone’s life today!” Ok. She exaggerated a lot. I think she was teasing me. My neighbor had asked me to help carry some gas tanks around back for his grill because his back was killing him. I told him I needed to put my bike away, but as soon as I got in the house, I heard this awful scream, so I just dropped the bike and went tearing out of the house, which is what my daughter saw. I tend to react strongly when people scream, especially strong men.

My neighbor, God knows why, had decided to try to lift the tanks himself. I think he’s at that age where he can not accept that he is getting older and he better be careful, especially when he has—whatever the hell he has. Some kind of horrible sciatica that makes him scream like a baby when the pain hits.

I didn’t really know what to do. He should be sitting down or lying down or something, but he insists on walking around back with me and my wife, who has come out as well. He’s walking bow-legged, like an ancient cowboy. Like his pants are falling off and he can’t keep them up because he doesn’t have a belt.

So it was a lot of noise, but not really that serious. Sturm und drang. Smoke, but no fire.

Have you ever done the real thing? A real emergency? What did you do? What kinds of thoughts ran through your head as it was happening?

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21 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I did it all the time as a medic. The only thoughts I remember running through my mind was what did I have to do next to rectify the problem and reach an acceptable solution.

Judi's avatar

Things become crystal clear to me in a crisis. We were first on the scene after a car hit a bicycle. The car pulled into a driveway and I told my husband to stop our car and turn on the hazard lights as the bicyclist was right in the street in front of us. I jumped out, told people to call 911, assesed his condition, and kept him calm and still until the ambulance arrived.

Trillian's avatar

Frequently as a Corpsman. A couple times as a mom. Once I had to initiate CPR on a local who went down not twenty feet from me. At the time all I was thinking about was my steps. He had a brain infarction, which I didn’t know at the time, so he was never getting back up. I worked him what felt like forever until the ambulance got there.
Once I stopped to assist with a motorcycle rider just out of the HRBT. He had done a wheelie and blown his back axle, flipped over that cement guard thing and had a compound fracture of his left femur sticking through his pant leg. His stupid friends had already taken off his helmet and put a freaking tourniquet on his leg by the time I got to him. Apparently they had seen that on tv. They hadn’t done the tourniquet correctly, so I don’t think I actually saved his leg, but I did have to take his cell away from him and immobilize C-spine. Stupid crotch rockets.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband and I came upon a four car wreck that had just happened on a very, VERY dark section of a two lane highway. We didn’t even see it until we were actually passing the cars at 65 mph. They were piled up in the oncoming lane and in the ditch. We pulled over, onto the shoulder of the oncoming lane and Rick started flashing our lights at oncoming traffic. I jumped out I made sure everyone was OK, and yelled for all of them to turn on their flashers (not one of them had and that’s why they were almost impossible to see) and to get out of the road (where they were milling about.) Then I ran back to our car and I flashed the lights and Rick stood in the headlights waving his arms. One of the first vehicles to come up on us was a semi who locked up his brakes when he saw us to get stopped (the sound of a semi’s brakes screaming as it’s coming right at you is scary!) There ended up to be a line of about 15 cars before the police showed up. I think we saved a few lives that night. It was so very hard to see the wreck that I’m pretty sure that the last two cars involved in it just came flying up on the first two cars that were originally involved and just plowed in to them.

wildpotato's avatar

I was reading in my bedroom one day when I heard a faint wailing out the window. I stuck my head out and saw my neighbor on the ground next to a two-story ladder and his wife standing over him screaming. I tore downstairs, yelled at my parents (who are physicians) that someone was hurt, and ran over to the fence. I couldn’t climb it because I was recuperating from a knee injury at the time, so after I shouted to my neighbor we were coming and my parents grabbed their kits, we hurried over. They did the first responder thing while I kept the kids inside the house. He had to have a bit of cranial reconstruction to repair the orbital area of his skull; he had fallen on his face from the second floor roof. He is ok now. I will never ever use a ladder on a rainy day, or without someone spotting the base.

I’ve seen my parents spring into action a couple times. Once a woman had a grand mal seizure in a shop while we were walking the Strip in Vegas and they yelled out the door for a doctor. My dad ran in to help until the EMTs arrived. This other time at Discovery Zone a kid running in socks slipped and smashed his nose, and my mom took charge. It makes me very proud of them.

Ron_C's avatar

I was riding my motorcycle to home from work. A woman three cars ahead of me lost control on a curve and rolled her car. I was with a group of guys that stopped. No one seemed to know what to do. I organized the group, one was to call for an ambulance and police. The rest of use worked to set the woman free. We could smell gas and the engine was hot so we had to get her out of the car. She was stuck upside down and couldn’t get her seat belt off. I reached in and cut the belt (should have planned that better because she fell on me) We had already checked to see if she had any serious injuries, she could move her hands and feet and just had a cut on her forehead.

We untwisted her and got her out of the car as gently as possible. The fire and police came and took over and we went on our way. It’s funny, the police didn’t even ask for our names.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Ron_C Some cops….after Rick and I had prevented a much more serious pile up, the cops showed up. One of them thanked us. The other told us to “Quit playing the hero and get out of here.”

Coloma's avatar

A was behind a motorcyclist that went down right in front of me a few years ago, who hit a large dog on the highway. I was far enough back to not be at risk of running him over, but it was very scary!
Nobody else was around.

He layed his bike down sideways and broke his leg, but, he landed on the edge of the highway with his bike in the middle of the road.
I jumped out of my car and grabbed a blanket from my trunk and he was fighting to pull off his helmet which scared the crap out of me not knowing if he had back or neck injuries. He pulled his helmet off and seemed fine except for his leg. I made him as comfortable as I could and drug the dead dog out of the road by it’s collar.

Several people came along after a few minutes and stopped, two guys pulled the bike out of the road and we called 911 and the local F.D. arrived pretty quickly to transport the guy to the hospital.

Extremely stressful, and later I realized in my tunnel vision that I had run right out into the highway without even LOOKING! Whew! Lucky me!

SavoirFaire's avatar

Several years ago, my wife and I helped stop a pimp from beating and raping one of his employees. We were at a hotel in the middle of nowhere when it happened. At first, we just thought it was a couple having an argument outside the building; but then the man started ripping the woman’s clothes off while screaming at her. My wife ran over to ask the woman if she needed help. She said yes, but the man told her to shut up and started threatening my wife while dragging the woman back to his car. I (nervously) stepped in between the man and my wife and started taking pictures of him and his car’s license plate with my phone, which led him to leave the woman alone and advance on me.

I had just gotten my green belt in karate and kept hearing my master instructor’s words in my head: “Green belts know just enough to get themselves killed.” It wasn’t very encouraging, but at least it prevented me from trying anything stupid. Instead, I just kept luring him away from the woman while staying just outside of his range. Then a second woman—who I later learned was a black belt in taekwondo and had seen us confronting the man from her window—came charging out of the hotel, pushed the guy away, and pulled the first woman out of the man’s car. Right after this, the hotel manager came out shouting that the police were on their way. The man then decided that this was a good time to leave.

It wasn’t until afterward that anyone said, “Wait, did we just do that?” Each of us admitted that we had been anxious about getting involved in the first place but just couldn’t see any other option. Even the manager wasn’t sure about coming outside after he had called the police. In some ways, it was a very unreal experience. It still feels like a little bubble in time that has been separated from the rest of my life. In other ways, it was terribly mundane. Real conflicts are rarely theatrical or exciting. I remain to this day thoroughly impressed with my wife for starting the intervention, however.

Ron_C's avatar

@Dutchess_III Our cops weren’t rude just disinterested. They said “Thanks, we have it now.” I left because my job was done. I later saw that the woman was avoiding a deer, she’s OK and no charges were filed. That is all I needed. I certainly wasn’t looking to have my picture in the paper or anything like that. I just wanted to make sure she was safe.

I believe that you should treat people like you would like to be treated. What goes around comes around.

Ron_C's avatar

I have to admit, compared to some of the stories here mine is pretty lame. It seems, however that we all experienced the same mental change for the emergency. Time seems to slow, everything gets crystal clear and all you think about is the problem and persons that are in danger.

This is a great question @wundayatta thanks.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Ron_C I don’t think your story is lame at all. Then again, I sort of feel like my story is lame. I think it’s because this kind of thing always sounds better than it felt at the time. We remember the fumbling and uncertainty that is invisible to the rest of the world.

I agree with you on the rest, though, both on the experience of a different mental state and that @wundayatta has asked a great question.

YARNLADY's avatar

The most I’ve ever done is call 911, once for my son who fell off his slide and hit his head, and once for my son’s Mother In Law who had chest pains while she was at our house.

By the way, MIL does this every once in awhile, probably when she needs attention.

CWOTUS's avatar

You flashed me back more than 50 years with this Q.

My mother was the hero that day.

Some neighbors of ours were launching a small boat with an outboard motor for the first time. They fueled the motor (it was an older one with low horsepower that had the fuel tank mounted on top of the motor) and set their half-full fuel can in the bottom of the boat. In their attempts to fuel and then start the motor it somehow caught fire – in a smallish way, but potentially dangerous. The fuel can was close to the fire.

In their initial panic at seeing flames where none should be, and by now being about 10’ offshore, the boaters simply yelled for help. My mom was always attuned to us kids being by the water and getting in trouble, so she was at the beach as quickly as a bird could have been. It was probably the yelling that saved the day for those guys, because right after yelling – just as Mom got there – they picked up their bailer, started to scoop water, and… Mom stopped them to save the day. She told them clearly and forcefully enough that they understood right away, “If you throw water on that little fire it’ll probably spread and maybe hurt you and take the boat. Don’t throw water; throw sand instead.”

Slowing down and finally thinking allowed them to discard Mom’s option, too, and just smother the fire with some old life jackets and one of the guys’ shirts (it was a relatively small fire, after all).

Forty years later… I was in the same cottage on the same lake when the children of the same neighbors were fueling a jet ski at the same launch. This time… I smelled gas from 100’ feet away. I knew that wasn’t right, so I ran down to the beach and got them to realize they had a big fuel spill they weren’t even aware of. (Naturally, that made me think of Mom, even if they had all forgotten.)

blueberry_kid's avatar

The most I’ve ever saved someone’s life was when a friend of mine was being bullied, but his life was being threatened by this bully. Through Facebook, death threats were posted on his wall because he was gay, and he didn’t tell anyone, and I knew something had to be done. I finally reported his page to Facebook, to the school, and eventually had to tell his parents, because they hadn’t known about the entire situation. He kept refusing to tell anyone about these death threats, but I loved him so dearly as a friend.

The bully was reported, expelled, and I’m pretty sure it was put on his record that he was sending death threats.

I love my friend, whether he’s gay or not. And that is how I “saved” a life.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve never saved anyone but I witnessed my mother saving someone when I was a kid. We were all at the local outdoor pool one day and my mom was sitting on a bench watching us swim. Next thing I know she flies off the bench and jumps into the water (fully clothed). She swam out and pulled a kid to the surface who had been drowning.

Everyone was in shock. My mom got out of the pool once the lifeguards took over and all she could say was, “And I picked this day to wear white”.

cazzie's avatar

Because he was a conscientious objector, my husband’s mandatory military service consisted of medical training after they ran him through aptitude tests. He is pretty confident still with it and has done a bit of intervening when people are hurt. I’ve seen him in a crisis and he gets so calm, it’s eiree. Before the military training, when he was 16, he pulled a girl out of a car wreck in the US. He said he remembers most of it like it happened yesterday, but one part his brain has just erased. There was another girl in the back, next to the one he pulled out, and he must have seen her there dead, but can’t recall at all how she looked. He said the car had rolled and the side the dead girl was on had been smashed right down, so, obviously she must have been badly mangled, but his mind has blanked it out.

Just a few years ago, he saw a man way out in the Oslo fjord, drowning. He grabbed his dad’s kayak, raced out to him and saved him. It was a rather suspect story he told of how he ended up there, but he didn’t die that day.

CWOTUS's avatar

I like your mom, @tranquilsea. Yeah, the lifesaving thing is cool and all, but having the presence of mind to say what she did afterward is the coolest.

wallabies's avatar

A friend and I were cruising at the beach one day and some kid had buried a younger kid neck high in the sand near the water. The younger kid started panicking when the water came up higher and washed over his head a few times. We had to run over and dig him out. I don’t think the kid would have died without us, but I could see his fear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

WTH?? What was the other kid thinking? Sure the kid could have died!

Coloma's avatar

I have to tell my story of rescuing a giant alligator lizard that was stuck in a drainage hole in a stack of flower pots by using Astroglide personal lubricant. My lubing lizards tale ;-)
I rescued a strange liazard. lol

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