Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Spinal Immobilization on the Train Tracks? Good Situational Awareness?

It is nice to see a report about someone helping a person who fell on the train tracks, rather than another report of someone pushing a person onto the train tracks.

He jumped onto the tracks to help the 63-year-old man, knowing that another train would be arriving in a few minutes.[1]


When a train is coming, and time is important, what is the first thing to do for someone on train tracks?


Christopher Knafelc helping man who fell on tracks

Christopher Knafelc helping man who fell on tracks


Get off the tracks.

He held the man’s head and neck stable until firefighters arrived. Train traffic was halted.[1]


Am I going to trust someone who tells me that the trains are going to wait until I get off of the train tracks?


Let me think about some similar situations where I have to decide to trust someone.

It’s supposed to look like that.

Just move those wires. The electricity is not on.

Don’t worry. It isn’t loaded.

The scene is safe.

What is missing, here?

Situational awareness.

Scene Safety Stinks! A discussion on Situational Awareness Ep 43
First Few Moments

Since we began our journey into the world of EMS we have heard, uttered, and been tested on the phrase: “Scene safety…BSI!”

. . .

Join Steve Murphy, Tim Nonnan, Kyle David Bates, and our special guest Dr. Rich Gasaway as we explore a much better, yet underutilized concept: situational awareness (SA).


Situational Awareness

Dr. Gasaway


This is one of the most important topics in EMS, but also one of the least covered in any EMS courses.

Our awareness of situational awareness is horrible.


Go listen to the podcast.


[1] Good Samaritan jumps on Philly tracks to rescue man who fell
Published March 29, 2013
Article with video.



  1. Heh… That same thought occurred to me when I read the article. I would not have given a good goddamn about the guy’s neck… My sole goal would have been to get both of us off the trackbed!

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