Saving Others First Can Cost More Lives In Emergency, Study Finds

CBS Local– While many good Samaritans have a natural instinct to help others in emergencies, that may not always be the best for everyone involved. According to a study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, in some situations that can be more dangerous not just for the good Samaritan, but also the people they’re intending on saving.

The study looked at computer simulations of three underground entities, a subway platform, a parking garage and shopping mall, were hit with massive flooding. With about 30 people trapped, the way to survival would be climbing a staircase. There were three predicted possible plans of action: first was everyone for themselves, the second had everyone look to help each other get out together while the third saw the strongest rescue themselves then look to help the others with a rope from above.

Which scenario had the highest rate of survival? The third option.

“Foolhardiness is not a good strategy for rescuing,” said Eishiro Higo, lead researcher. “In very critical situations, we have to be kind of selfish, but we can still help others if we have proper equipment and proper strategies.”

Higo suggests evaluating the situations where it makes the most sense for yourself and others.

“We have to identify what is brave and what is reckless,” said Higo. “Helping people from a safe location is still good behavior and the result is actually much better.”

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