You've heard the tapes of 911 calls on television- some of real calls, sometimes fictional calls on TV shows. Most have one thing in common. Either it's the victim making the call as the attack is happening or just after an accident, or a passerby immediately after the accident. That's what the '911' system is designed to do- create fast response to emergency situation.
Recently Bill Filed, Purdue University farm safety specialist, speaking to a farm group, said one of the biggest problems that leads to worse injuries or even fatalities when ti shouldn't is that farm families are reluctant to call '911' for help. He urges farm families to discuss what should happen in case of a serious accident on the farm, and stress how important it is that someone call 911 immediately.
"I know of cases where a farmer or farm worker has waited an hour or more to call 911 for help," he says. "Either they think they can free a person trapped in grain, for example, by themselves, or they don't realize how serious an injury is. The time they wait may cause an injury that could have been addressed rather easily by a first responder on the scene within minutes, but that is more serious once doctor finally sees the patient after the patient was transported to a hospital.
Field can only speculate why farmers are slow to call. One may be independence and an instinctive notion that they can handle their own problems. Where injuries are involved, every second counts, he notes. It's important to get expert help on the way. Sometimes it might be because the farmer or his wife responding to the tragedy believe the ambulance call will be too expensive. Some farm families don't have health insurance that will pay until a high deductible is met.
When an injury occurs, it's a matter of life and death, not dollars adn cents, Field says.
Every farm family member should be instructed on what to do if they're the 'first responder,' the person who finds the victim first. And what they should do is call 911. Then they can make a tourniquet if bleeding is involve, or do whatever else is necessary to keep the patient calm and alert.
"Many times the first responder or person who finds the accident will be the wife,' Field says. Field. "Farm wives should know exactly what to do if they find their husband or other family member or a worker in a precarious position where outside, trained help is needed."