You never know when Traffic and Crowd Control skills will be needed

You never know when Traffic and Crowd Control skills will be needed

Martinez Area CERT teaches our volunteers to work as teams. However, there are times when one person, with proper training and experience, can make a difference. This is a story in which one of our team members (in this case, an Instructor and District Coordinator) found himself in an extraordinary circumstance. He responded as we hope others might: within the scope of their training, helping others to respond to this situation appropriately. This story has been edited for clarity.

The morning of Nov 17, I went to Starbucks on Arnold Drive to pick up my wife’s mobile order. (Note that I just happened to be wearing my High-Vis Orange bomber jacket…)

A crowed interior scene at the local Starbucks
This is the scene inside when I arrived, which was much busier than normal.
A crowed parking lot and drive- thru at the local Starbucks
The parking lot and drive-through were also packed.

I took the above photos to send to my wife to let her know it was going to be a while before her drinks would be available… Little did I know…

A moment later, one of the employees shouted out to everyone that they were closing due to a medical emergency. One of the employees was having a seizure that was not resolving, and 911 had been called. Everyone was shocked, and were hesitant to leave, but slowly started to leave. I realized the situation needed immediate action to get the people moving out of the way, and make way for the ambulance and fire engine that were on the way. I shouted out “Everyone please exit and clear the parking lot for the ambulance”, then went to the end of the parking lot where the drive-through entrance was. I started motioning to the cars in line to exit at the end of the lot, and was explaining (loudly) that Starbucks was closed due to a medical emergency. Once the last car in line was through, I motioned to the last cars stuck in the drive-through itself to back up one at a time and exit the lot. The parking area was cleared by the time the ambulance arrived.

I remained in the lot, motioning to the arriving vehicles to leave and explaining they were closed. This helped to keep the lot cleared, keep people away from the scene/responders, and keep them off the backs of the employees who were trying to regroup and cope with what just happened to one of their coworkers. I hope she recovered quickly. She was still seizing when they brought her out on the gurney. They remained closed for about 45 mins. The Firefighters and employees thanked me emphatically for helping out.

Unless the crowd was cleared out, care would have been delayed, possibly causing further harm

Crowds don’t know what to do. In this case, they all wanted their coffee and didn’t understand what was happening…This was just a small one-person incident, but it could just have easily been a larger disaster. Sometimes, that one person stepping up can make a difference in someone’s life, or many lives.

Report from Kevin Slovick, Martinez Area CERT – District 4 Coordinator, Instructor.