The Bystander Effect

Are you familiar with the “bystander effect?”If you’ve taken a psychology class, you might already know about this phenomenon. In short, the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are actually more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.Recently, one of our CPR students called to share that she had a hard time believing what the instructor said about why people won’t act in an emergency. She didn’t understand it and thought that it was all a little over-dramatic.But she really called to admit she was wrong.You see, she had just seen this news story and realized that the bystander effect is a reality. And that the best way to combat this apathy is for YOU — a trained individual — to always be ready to take action when you see something wrong…whether or not there are people around.This video is scary and sad, so consider yourself forewarned. And if you don’t feel like you’d be ready to help in a similar emergency, consider signing up for a CPR/AED/First Aid class so that you won’t succumb to the bystander effect yourself. And, at the very least, always be ready to call 9-1-1!

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  • It's very sad this happens, and one of the reasons I love working with Red Cross folks who wouldn't allow it. I know this has happened at least a few times in the Portland area with motorists; when someone in medical trouble is on the side of the road and no one stops to help or even to alert the authorities for hours.

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