In my experience, many people freeze and do nothing. A small child in our group of about 20 got burned with scalding coffee. I immediately said, "Cold water, quick!" and her father rushed her to the kitchen, and I went with him. I was the only one to speak up immediately. Sometimes being a mother and a teacher comes in handy.
There was no permanent damage to the child's hand.
Another time, my two sons, one ten and one a sixteen year old, 6'4" weight lifter went to the movies. The ten year old began to choke on popcorn. I did the Heimlich maneuver and threw him into my other son's arms, and said, "Get him some help!" But the younger boy was breathing by then. He was too heavy for me, but I was able to throw him. Adrenalin, I guess.
"Why didn't you do something?," I asked my older boy. "Because you were too fast," he replied. In an emergency, time is of the essence.
Often people wait, hoping someone else will take action. And sometimes, it's too late.
I doubt the people in the audience you spoke of were sitting there reasoning that there were event organizers who would handle the matter. You can't sit on your duff and depend on others. If there's an expert there, they'll soon tell you matters are under control, and you can return to your seat. No harm done. Don't be an observer; do something!
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A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Last edited by Jeanie; 11-17-2010 at 10:34 PM.