Convergence Behavior Impedes Ambulance services in emergency response
An ambulance needs to be able to access the scene. This means that they can’t be driving through mobs of people or be obstructed by other vehicles and bystanders. Convergence behavior is the informal gathering at the scene of an accident. While this movement might be out of goodwill and bystanders could be providing first aid to victims of an emergency, it also leads to disorganized and uncontrolled situations. We can’t blame Facebook and Twitter and mobile phones for everything, but they have led to information being quickly shared and dispersed after a major event. This is especially true of families and friends flocking to the scene when concerned about a relative or loved one.
In Sinai, a slum in Nairobi, over 100 people died after an oil tanker crashed and went up in flames in a matter of minutes. The casualties were so high because people ran towards the scene to siphon oil. This is after yet another oil spill accident attracted people to siphon oil in Sachang’wan leading to the death of 78 people. Across Africa, there are accidents that have led to massive casualties following people’s convergence at the scene either to observe or to loot.
Preventing the convergence of people at major emergency sites will;
- Increase the efficiency of responders.
- Provide a safer environment for rescue efforts by limiting the number of people at the scene.
- Allow ambulance services to get to the affected as fast as possible.
The ‘golden hour’ in emergency response is the ideal maximum time for pre-hospital care: Ambulance services should get to the scene of an emergency within an hour to prevent death. The convergence of people, while sometimes useful, puts unnecessary strain on emergency efforts and increases the risk of loss of life.
Convergence can help in emergency response
Unsolicited volunteers are the first to begin the search and rescue efforts before ambulance services arrive. The emergency response team will always take over control once they are available in sufficient numbers. Responders, therefore ought to integrate the volunteer into the response. Simple measures can be useful in bringing organization to rescue operations by incorporating the civilians into the team.
Here is how you can assist at the scene of an emergency
- One person should take control and collect as much information about the accident or emergency as possible
- Call emergency response services(Flare) and provide the dispatcher with as much information as you can about the injured. DO NOT put yourself at risk to investigate.
- Once the responders arrive, they may assign roles to streamline the rescue efforts and limit obstruction of the operation
Share any information you think might be helpful to the responders in emergency response.
Once the responders arrive
- They could call in more staff depending on the needs on the ground
- Pull in extra equipment from storage
- Clear non-acute patients (help with triage, treatment, and transport.)