In case you don’t know who George Zimmerman is, he was recently acquitted of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in what was one of the most publicized trials in recent history. On July 13, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and determined that he acted in self-defense. But that’s another story.
This story is about what happened last Wednesday. George and another man helped a couple and their two children escape from an Ford Explorer that had rolled over and caught on fire before the sheriff’s office got to the scene of the accident. So George made the news yet again. The incident happened in Sanford, Florida near the intersection of Interstate 4 and State Road 46. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, didn’t witness the crash and left the scene after talking to police. Thankfully, there were no injuries.
Although there is no shortage of controversy surrounding Mr. Zimmerman, his actions at the crash were deemed by many as heroic. However, a public affairs representative for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue department said the appropriate action is based on each individual situation. According to the rep, “It’s always nice when a stranger is willing to risk their lives. But people should always call 911.”
Just in case you come across an accident scene, the following tips are some basic steps to follow:
- Slow down and pull your car out of the way of emergency vehicles.
- Turn your hazard lights on.
- Call ‘911’ immediately as you check on the number of victims and their condition. Be as brief and calm as possible when you’re on the phone with the 911 operator and make sure to give the exact location of the wreck.
- If you know CPR or other ways to help the victims, do so. If not, do your best to keep any injured victims calm. Then simply wait for authorities to arrive.
- Don’t remove passengers from the vehicles unless they are in immediate danger. If they are in peril, weigh the risk of your own safety and act as you must.
- Do not tell victims of another person’s death at the scene.
- Stay at the scene until the first responders arrive. Ask them how you can help and follow their instructions without hesitation.
- Be sure to stay long enough to give the police your statement.
When witnessing a serious car wreck, the main thing to remember is to call 911 before doing anything else. First responders are far better equipped and handle these situations than we are. But to reiterate, if victims are in immediate danger, it’s your decision to be a hero or bystander.