A few weeks ago, just home from work, with my key in the door, I heard what sounded like an explosion. Living on a corner, I knew that it could only be a road accident. As I ran out to the intersection I could see that some of my neighbours were already there. Two cars had collided and occupants of both cars were very shocked but with no obvious physical injuries. It was important to make the area safe, to comfort the victims, and to call emergency services. Within a few minutes, each visitor to the scene had a role. At least one of us was assigned to each victim, calming and reassuring them, someone was holding a trembling dog from one of the cars, one neighbour was directing traffic and another was sweeping the street. A photo of the scene was taken and a couple of people pushed one of the cars to the side of the road.
The Police and ambulance arrived very quickly, took statements and arranged for a tow truck. Neighbours discussed who would take the dog home and who would ferry the occupants of the cars. Within an hour all crash victims had been taken care of and the street was back to normal!
I felt very proud and reassured that our neighbourhood organized itself with little fuss to manage this situation. If the only parties at the accident had been emergency services, I believe that the car crash victims would definitely have been worse off. As it was, they were immediately surrounded by caring and competent people from their community, who gave their time to lend support and to clean and make safe their neighbourhood streets without a second thought. Neighbourhood Support in action!