Dying To Help

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November 10, 2008 – Associated Press

Angry Haitians stormed the twisted wreckage of a collapsed school on Sunday to demand that rescuers speed up a search for victims, while officials worried about the stability of other buildings across this desperately poor country.

The collapse, which crushed at least 88 students and adults in a slum below a relatively wealthy enclave near Port-au-Prince, has brought global attention to a country where chronic poverty and unrest spawn chaotic jigsaws of neighborhoods and building codes are widely ignored

Rescuers, including a U.S. crew from Fairfax County, Va., and French firefighters from Martinique continued searching for survivors and the dead for a third day Sunday, using pole-mounted digital cameras and cutting through concrete with saws. They were aided by an eight-person military team from the U.S. Southern Command.

But anger boiled over as thousands of Haitians looked on in the blazing sun, with the stench of rotting bodies beginning to rise from the rubble. About 100 men rushed the unstable pile at one point, hammering at the debris and trying to pull down a massive concrete slab that firefighters worry could trigger a second collapse.

This excerpt from the AP article describes the reality that people want to hurry and help others sometimes without thinking about the consequences to themselves or those they are trying to rescue. The same holds true here at work. When we see someone who is hurt, we want to rush in and help.

The most important thing you must do first is survey the area to make sure it’s safe for you and others. Electricity, chemical fumes and the like can easily turn one victim into two. Be smart, don’t rush in to help without surveying the scene to ensure it’s safe to do such.

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