Assistant Commissioner of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority Tanuvasa Petone Mauga has expressed his disappointment with accident bystanders who are tending to film and switch their phones to ‘facebook live’ instead of calling 911.
Tanuvasa made the observation following a motor vehicle accident along the notorious stretch of road at Vailoa last Friday morning which claimed the life of a young rugby player and left another young man with serious injuries. Video footage of the vehicle bursting into flames went viral on social media with many posting live from the scene.
Speaking to Samoa Global News FESA’s Assistant Commissioner expressed his disappointment.
“Instead of calling 911 for help, people took out their cellphones and started filming the accident”.
Tanuvasa explains that from the videos they have seen on facebook live posts, the public’s first response is to ‘go live’ on social media, instead of calling emergency response units.
“When we sighted the vidoes posted and the times of the posts, it was evident that people did not call us immediately after the accdient,”
“Our team at Tuanaimato dispatched as soon as we received the call and because Vailoa is nearby we were on site within minutes of receiving the call.”
Tanuvasa says the young men had already been removed from the vehicle and the white getz was already in flames when they arrived.
“People are giving priority to recording accidents and being the first to post about it,” said the Assistant Commissioner.
“Sadly, the world of social media is changing the behaviour of our people. Calling 911 seemed to be secondary that night. It seemed as if halfway through ensuring the incident was going live, someone remembered that emergency services had not been called.”
Tanuvasa added that there is a risk of a vehicle exploding every time there is a car crash and the work of trained response teams ensures public safety as well as appropriate first aid to the injured.
“It could have been a lot worse, we’re very lucky the flames didn’t spread or cause damage to nearby vehicles and bystanders”.
“We plead with the public, please use your mobile device to call 911 first.”