Better Together: Evolving Social Process between Bystanders and First Responders is a Force Multiplier for Effective Emergency Response.
Bystanders are an integral part of an emergency scene. Their presence on site makes them the immediate potential responders, who can provide life-saving assistance as well as various rescue actions. Research has shown that bystanders are willing to and are capable of helping, especially when a leader emerges, as the help is rooted in a collective action. In this article, we suggest a new framework for understanding the effectiveness of bystanders help, based on the evolving social process between bystanders and first responders.
As we show, the transition from no help, at the very first moment right after the emergency has
occurred, to an effective coordinated response where first responders and bystanders act together, goes through engagement of bystanders. Further, first responders should acknowledge the social organization of bystanders, utilize and leverage it in order to optimize their efforts. This framework has important insights for policy makers when managing emergency and disaster situations
with limited resources.
During these initial moments, the only responders are those who are already present at the scene. Emergency services teams might arrive within minutes, hours or even days. The help provided by bystanders can be lifesaving and include: resuscitation, hemorrhage control, transfer to the nearest hospital or clinic, notifying the emergency services, clearing the disaster scene from other people to prevent them from being adversely affected, search and rescue, psychological support, preventing a suspect escaping the scene and providing vital information regarding the sequence of events.
Epidemiol Open J. 2020; 5(1): 1-7. doi: 10.17140/EPOJ-5-117