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Safe Neighborhoods Team: Keeping emergency responders, citizens safe

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The goal of the nationwide Toward Zero Deaths program is to reduce not just crashes, but total road injuries and fatalities. Fast, efficient emergency medical services are critical to reducing fatalities and serious injuries whenever a crash does occur.

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Prompt emergency service response is particularly important in rural Minnesota, where crash victims are far from medical facilities and crashes can go unnoticed until another vehicle passes by.

The Beltrami County Safe Neighborhoods Team reminds everyone that we all play a role in making this happen. To enable critical, efficient and timely emergency response, citizens who encounter an accident are an important link, the "eyes and ears" that 911 depends on for quality information.

The more information we have on injuries, condition of the vehicles and other details allows for the most efficient use of resources as well as keeping our emergency responders safe while responding and at the scene. If you encounter an accident and there are no emergency responders on scene, immediately call 911.

Advise the 911 dispatcher you have witnessed a crash. The 911 Dispatcher will then ask you pertinent questions that you should be prepared to answer but only if you can safely do so without endangering you or your passengers. Dispatchers do not want to waste valuable response time listening to your story of how you happened by the scene; we want you to answer the following questions:

E Location of accident - what highway or roadway are you on? Traveling between what two towns or cities? Is there a mile post number or 911 address sign close to the scene? Is the crash on the roadway or in the ditch or median? Any landmark nearby to identify the location (barn, business, house, etc.)? Is the roadway blocked by the crash?

E How many vehicles involved? What type of vehicles - car, truck, motorcycle, semi? Are the airbags deployed? Is there fire or chemicals at the scene?

E Are the occupants out of the car and moving about? Is someone trapped in the vehicle? How many occupants if known? Are there children involved? What is the nature of the injuries if known? Is there anyone on scene already rendering aid? If you are a trained emergency responder, we will immediately want to discern if the victims are conscious and/or breathing.

E If you are the person driving the vehicle we will want to know the nature of your injuries and if you have passengers involved as well as what their status is.

E Stay on the phone with 911 until such time you are released from the call by the dispatcher.

Stay out of the way of the emergency responders. Do not attempt to interfere with responders actions. Do not stop to see what is going on - move on. Carefully follow any directions for detours and have patience with slowed traffic. Honking your horn or yelling at other drivers or the officers directing traffic is not necessary.

Dispatchers are trained and skilled at eliciting information regarding emergency situations. If another caller contacts 911 that has specific information, you will be disconnected. We often receive anywhere from 10 to 30 calls per crash. If we have the information we need, and you do not, you will be disconnected. It is important that we are talking to an eye witness.

The information we receive is promptly used to summon emergency responders. The most important thing we want everyone to remember is this: your safety and the safety of responders is important.

Crash scenes can be dangerous with chemicals and other issues. Staying a safe distance away or in your vehicle while reporting is the sensible thing to do. Parking on the side of the road ahead of the crash instead of behind the crash will diminish the chance of someone running in to you and adding to the emergency. If you do exit your vehicle, be mindful of traffic that is driving by. Distracted drivers can kill or maim the Good Samaritan who is trying to render aid.

On another note, be alert and watch for emergency response vehicles. Immediately safely exit to the side of the road, out of the roadway, to allow responders to get to the accident. Talking on a cell phone or loud music often distracts or prevents a driver from hearing sirens and ultimately slows a response vehicle traveling to a crash site.

In conclusion, we can all help diminish fatal and serious injury accidents by working as a team and assisting our dedicated emergency responders in rendering crucial aid on a timely basis. Minutes can save lives.

The goal of the nationwide Toward Zero Deaths program is to reduce not just crashes, but total road injuries and fatalities. Fast, efficient emergency medical services are critical to reducing fatalities and serious injuries whenever a crash does occur.

Prompt emergency service response is particularly important in rural Minnesota, where crash victims are far from medical facilities and crashes can go unnoticed until another vehicle passes by.

The Beltrami County Safe Neighborhoods Team reminds everyone that we all play a role in making this happen. To enable critical, efficient and timely emergency response, citizens who encounter an accident are an important link, the "eyes and ears" that 911 depends on for quality information.

The more information we have on injuries, condition of the vehicles and other details allows for the most efficient use of resources as well as keeping our emergency responders safe while responding and at the scene. If you encounter an accident and there are no emergency responders on scene, immediately call 911.

Advise the 911 dispatcher you have witnessed a crash. The 911 Dispatcher will then ask you pertinent questions that you should be prepared to answer but only if you can safely do so without endangering you or your passengers. Dispatchers do not want to waste valuable response time listening to your story of how you happened by the scene; we want you to answer the following questions:

- Location of accident - what highway or roadway are you on? Traveling between what two towns or cities? Is there a mile post number or 911 address sign close to the scene? Is the crash on the roadway or in the ditch or median? Any landmark nearby to identify the location (barn, business, house, etc.)? Is the roadway blocked by the crash?

- How many vehicles involved? What type of vehicles - car, truck, motorcycle, semi? Are the airbags deployed? Is there fire or chemicals at the scene?

- Are the occupants out of the car and moving about? Is someone trapped in the vehicle? How many occupants if known? Are there children involved? What is the nature of the injuries if known? Is there anyone on scene already rendering aid? If you are a trained emergency responder, we will immediately want to discern if the victims are conscious and/or breathing.

- If you are the person driving the vehicle we will want to know the nature of your injuries and if you have passengers involved as well as what their status is.

- Stay on the phone with 911 until such time you are released from the call by the dispatcher.

Stay out of the way of the emergency responders. Do not attempt to interfere with responders actions. Do not stop to see what is going on - move on. Carefully follow any directions for detours and have patience with slowed traffic. Honking your horn or yelling at other drivers or the officers directing traffic is not necessary.

Dispatchers are trained and skilled at eliciting information regarding emergency situations. If another caller contacts 911 that has specific information, you will be disconnected. We often receive anywhere from 10 to 30 calls per crash. If we have the information we need, and you do not, you will be disconnected. It is important that we are talking to an eye witness.

The information we receive is promptly used to summon emergency responders. The most important thing we want everyone to remember is this: your safety and the safety of responders is important.

Crash scenes can be dangerous with chemicals and other issues. Staying a safe distance away or in your vehicle while reporting is the sensible thing to do. Parking on the side of the road ahead of the crash instead of behind the crash will diminish the chance of someone running in to you and adding to the emergency. If you do exit your vehicle, be mindful of traffic that is driving by. Distracted drivers can kill or maim the Good Samaritan who is trying to render aid.

On another note, be alert and watch for emergency response vehicles. Immediately safely exit to the side of the road, out of the roadway, to allow responders to get to the accident. Talking on a cell phone or loud music often distracts or prevents a driver from hearing sirens and ultimately slows a response vehicle traveling to a crash site.

In conclusion, we can all help diminish fatal and serious injury accidents by working as a team and assisting our dedicated emergency responders in rendering crucial aid on a timely basis. Minutes can save lives.

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Pioneer staff reports
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