Stopping to help (or call for help) when pulling up on devastation

Feb 19, 2007
176
79
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Austin, Texas
www.randydenzer.com
It has been years since I have posted a thread but after watching a video today, I feel compelled.
I saw a video today of a well known newer chaser driving like a maniac and then pulling up on an area showing very fresh devastation. Many homes were on the ground in an area in which fatalities were later reported. The video Clip (since taken down) showed the individual immediately backing away to continue the chase without appearing to even make a call to 911 for help. My hope is that he called 911 after the video ended.

I would like to urge chasers to either stop to help out or to at least call 911 immediately when seeing fresh devastation. Good chasers do this. If your not trained to provide first aid, then call for help...

RD
 
Feb 19, 2007
176
79
11
Austin, Texas
www.randydenzer.com
It has been years since I have posted a thread but after watching a video today, I feel compelled.
I saw a video today of a well known newer chaser driving like a maniac and then pulling up on an area showing very fresh devastation. Many homes were on the ground in an area in which fatalities were later reported. The video Clip (since taken down) showed the individual immediately backing away to continue the chase without appearing to even make a call to 911 for help. My hope is that he called 911 after the video ended.

I would like to urge chasers to either stop to help out or to at least call 911 immediately when seeing fresh devastation. Good chasers do this. If your not trained to provide first aid, then call for help...

RD
 
Apr 22, 2010
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20
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Richmond, VA
I saw that video and got really angry. He pulled up on that scene no more than a minute after the tornado passed. Residences were flattened and there was no one else around. He immediately looked for another route to get back on the tornado and backed out nearly as fast as he had entered. I was staggered by his callousness. His driving throughout the video was aggressive and reckless.

I'm glad you called him out. I hope others will as well.
 
Jan 18, 2009
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Benton, Arkansas
sacrey.info
I saw this video via Twitter. I was angered that he did NOT stop and assist those in need, but instead does a 180 and drives like a bat out of h*** to play catch up. He is and will be properly lambasted over this video. He is being tore up with comments on Youtube as we speak, as he needs to be.

Glad you him called him out.

Edit: The video is still up on Youtube as of this edit. Monday, March 4, 2019 at 5:53 CST.

Edit 2: Did not post a link to the video, as I wasn't sure if it was allowed.
 
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Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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Menominee, MI
I haven’t seen the video, but cringe at the lack of empathy for others that it allegedly shows. Furthermore, it doesn’t exactly paint the rest of us in a favorable light.
 
Jun 4, 2018
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San Angelo, TX
The original video posted yesterday was over 4 minutes long. They seem to have taken it down, edited it, and then put it back up. The original showed him pulling up on the damage, 3 point turning, and high tailing it out of there. The new version up now ends as he faces the damage, and doesn't show him pulling off. Also of note, this new version doesn't show the entirety of the view from inside the vehicle which made his driving on the center line much more obvious than the go pro view. There was also a section of video cut that had him trying to mount the go pro (out the sunroof I assume) while still driving. So it seems to me that after the initial back lash, some sort of damage control on their part was attempted.
 
Jan 18, 2009
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Benton, Arkansas
sacrey.info
Thanks for the clarification, Michael. I had not realized that the original had been taken down, edited and put back up. I had seen the original only once last night and did not pay close enough attention to notice the differences between the two.
 
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I'm sure the original is out there somewhere. Really a shame, but this kind of behavior does not surprise me anymore and only supports what I and others have said about the evolution of chasing and how it changed. He will have to live with this for the rest of his life.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
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Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
I agree that you should at the very least notify rescue personnel of the extent and location of damage and/or injuries. As far as stopping to render aid, I personally feel it's an individual call that shouldn't always be chastised as tacit selfishness. If we are not trained first responders and do not feel comfortable due to the situation (e.g., downed power lines and ruptured gas lines), one should use his or her own prudence and caution to not become another victim or further hamper rescue efforts. It is a case by case situation that one has to weight, but I would never personally criticize someone who felt it wasn't wise to go further than dialing 911 if s/he chose to abstain.
 
Feb 19, 2007
176
79
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Austin, Texas
www.randydenzer.com
Thanks for posting. Is everyone sure this individual did not report the damage? The video ends right after he prepares to turn around. So how do we know he did not report the damage right after the video was cut?
Warren, He edited out the bad driving and his actions after turning around. I am very disappointed and hope he eventually called for help. I am pretty sure the original video just showed him turning around and saying, "It's in my face" over and over as he turned around and continued to follow the tornado. We all know time is critical if folks if they are buried.
 
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Dec 17, 2015
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Kearney, NE
Just watched interview with Scott Peake on the weather channel with a clip of this tornado, not sure which version. Sounds like he made reports to the NWS, you would hope the appropriate calls were made and helped with first aid if trained.
 
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Not only can you call in, but initial information such as access to the scene, exact location, number of victims (if any), injury types, entrapments, number of structures damaged / destroyed, hazardous conditions (gas leaks, lines down, etc) are critical information after a disaster that can save lives by determining the level (or not) of the response -- thus focusing priorities. I'm amazed that some chasers are still driving like it's the apocalypse to get a worthless clip that will maybe gather 10 seconds of attention and little if any funding in today's news cycle. This in addition to putting yourself in legal and public jeopardy if something goes wrong. It makes no sense.
 
Just watched interview with Scott Peake on the weather channel with a clip of this tornado, not sure which version. Sounds like he made reports to the NWS, you would hope the appropriate calls were made and helped with first aid if trained.
TWC has a history of candy coating situations like this to make the offenders (if true) look like heroes as they've done with past misbehavior.
 
Dec 8, 2003
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Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
I have no fundamental disagreement with the previous posts, but I know from experience that it is likely that a call to 911 in a situation like that is probably unnecessary and may contribute to tying up the phone lines when other people have a more urgent need to get through. I haven't seen a significant tornado in the last decade when there weren't hordes of emergency and law enforcement personnel also on scene swarming around the tornado.
 
Apr 22, 2010
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Richmond, VA
I have no fundamental disagreement with the previous posts, but I know from experience that it is likely that a call to 911 in a situation like that is probably unnecessary and may contribute to tying up the phone lines when other people have a more urgent need to get through. I haven't seen a significant tornado in the last decade when there weren't hordes of emergency and law enforcement personnel also on scene swarming around the tornado.
He pulled up on that scene about a minute after the tornado. There was no one else there, and no one on the road as he sped away.
 

Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
108
41
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada
I have no fundamental disagreement with the previous posts, but I know from experience that it is likely that a call to 911 in a situation like that is probably unnecessary and may contribute to tying up the phone lines when other people have a more urgent need to get through. I haven't seen a significant tornado in the last decade when there weren't hordes of emergency and law enforcement personnel also on scene swarming around the tornado.
While part of me does agree with what you're saying, as a first responder I would prefer that somebody call in any sort of devastation that is caused by a tornado or any kind of severe weather. You never know if somebody is under the wreckage caused by that storm. Even if you're not a trained first responder or have the necessary rescue equipment, it's best to report any major damage to help out the local emergency management officials so they know what they're dealing with or going to be dealing with.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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2,190
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St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Could someone in the EMS/fire/responder community chime in as a professional to address these concerns that might dissuade a chaser from entering a fresh tornado damage path:

1.) Risk of serious lacerations/punctures from sharp objects (glass, nails, sheet metal, etc)

2.) Risk of live electric lines, both transmission/distribution and interior household wiring

3.) Risks from leaking gas lines and/or chemical substances

4.) Risk of liability for improper treatment of victims (making a tourniquet too tight, worsening a broken bone injury, etc).

5.) Being in the way of first responders (vehicle or in person)

6.) Some basic equipment/tools/clothing items to keep in a vehicle for these purposes.

Let's get some basic training information out there dealing with each one of those items (procedures/best practices/etc.) If we get enough replies, I'll separate them into their own post and sticky it.
 
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Apr 13, 2015
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Carmel, IN
www.twitch.tv
I’m glad someone made a thread about this. I watched it live; absolutely reckless and selfish behavior. Not just ignoring the damage, but driving incredibly fast on the wrong side of the road through pine-lined Dixie. On the original video, an oncoming car even flashes its lights as Scott is driving in the wrong lane straight toward them.

Another chaser almost drove into a tornado after losing situational awareness and pulling a u-turn taking him back into the path. Had he done it 30 seconds earlier, he’d probably have been hit.

And last week, the stupid stunt with the “research” probe

Someone’s gonna get killed from this behavior, and I’m sure as hell NOT lighting up my beacon to memorialize a yahoo if/when they do.

Guys like Warren and Chuck Doswell have been talking about this garbage behavior for DECADES at this point. If we don’t at least try and self-police the community, then we’re guilty by association whether we like it or not.

I refuse to give any of these chasers any publicity or share their content. Probably won’t do much to curb anything, but at least my conscience is clear.
 
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Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle. There is no way to police it, and I doubt there ever was. The media is most responsible for years of promoting insane behavior with no consequences while covering up the genuine purposes for chasing -- encouraging people to do the same. Just like TWC apparently did with this guy. At this point, chasing is completely independent of any constructive criticism and the bulk of chasers are Facebook based. We use to call out people when everyone was on ST and in some instances they changed their behavior. When I was called out -- it made me a better person. Even now I see groups, conventions and events promoting the very people who contributed to this mess as heroes and it's one reason I have withdrawn from most public events. Despite this, I believe Darwin and the criminal / civil systems have taken over the policing and we know how that works. Thanks to all the spotters, NWS employees, chasers and first responders yesterday who worked the storms. I remember at least one tornadic storm in GA that was followed by another, putting many rescuers in jeopardy. These are the heroes.
 

Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
1,959
249
11
39
Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
Could someone in the EMS/fire/responder community chime in as a professional to address these concerns that might dissuade a chaser from entering a fresh tornado damage path:

Let's get some basic training information out there dealing with each one of those items (procedures/best practices/etc.) If we get enough replies, I'll separate them into their own post and sticky it.
I think these comments would be a valuable addition from those in the professional emergency services community (active or retired), and I'll be eager to see what some of our fire, LE or EMS friends have to share. That having been said, whenever I've seen this discussed on social media, I've seen those in emergency services give vastly different opinions (that's not entirely unexpected) and even argue among themselves. I honestly think it's a YMMV (your mileage may vary) scenario and one that involves questions of ethics too.

Sharing my own personal experience, as some of you know, I was right behind the Discovery Channel crew as one of the first to arrive on scene in Yazoo City, MS in April 2010 right after the EF-4 tornado ravaged that community. We were initially just south of town on the hill overlooking the community when the rain wrapped tornado struck the southern portion of the city. In that instance, we chose to stop chasing, put down the cameras, and assist, and I don't necessarily regret doing so. That having been said, I was personally woefully unprepared for what transpired. I was not properly dressed at all, had an old pair of tennis shoes, and had no gloves. I stepped on nails and suffered several small splinters and abrasions. None of it was particularly severe and I didn't even require medical attention, though I returned home to a stern lecture from my physician about being deficient on my tetanus shot. Furthermore, the psychological trauma bothers me to this day, though I've never felt the need to seek therapy. There were numerous downed power lines that I still cannot be sure whether or not they were hot, not to mention ruptured gas lines. Victims were ambling around in a state of shock, themselves needed medical attention. Being an educator, I have a rudimentary background in some quintessential first aid procedures (e.g., bloodborne pathogen safety, CPR, and how to use an AED). However, I had no ability to deal directly with the spinal injuries, fractures, deep lacerations and other serious injuries I encountered. Cell phones were useless as the towers were down or overloaded. I share all of that not seeking any sort of praise, but just to share the reality that, beyond encountering minor structural damage, there are serious considerations for the untrained chaser in deciding how, when and where to go beyond just dialing 911 and leaving the rest to the professionals. For what it's worth, I always call 911, because there may be remote residences that would otherwise take longer for emergency workers to discover. Even though you may be contributing to 911 overload, better safe than sorry unless fire/ems/LE is already on scene.

There is an ethical question that might be a little beyond the scope of discussion, but for a litmus test, I always refer back to Jack Marshall's Ethical Decision-Making Tools (click the text to read more) in facilitating a more nuanced discussion of what the ethically appropriate response might be in guiding one's own decision making in situations like this.