What to do if you witness a fight

If you’ve ever encountered a fight before, you’ve probably been filled with conflicting emotions and hard questions. Do you try to break it up by getting between the parties? Do you call the police? Do you just walk away from something that is obviously none of your business? Or should you be the hero?

The tips below will help with two things: they will keep you safe in the event that you see a fight, and they will help you be proactive without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Before anything else, call the police

If you are a witness to a fight, the very first thing you want to do is call the police. There will likely be an officer nearby, and once their sirens get in hearing range of the parties involved, it is like throwing a bucket of cold water over their heads. Sirens are a sobering thing, even for people that are seeing red.

The important thing to remember is: always call the police. Don’t assume that someone else will or already has.

Under no circumstances should you run in and stop a fight 

Hollywood movies are full of hotheads that rush in to break up a fight, and in today’s world bystanders that do nothing are called cowardly and sheepish. Ignore people that say this. The last thing you want to do is get involved in a fight and get hurt yourself. Violent people often don’t discriminate and you are likely to end up as their next victim.

Be proactive in other ways. Call the police and let the involved parties know that they’re on their way. If you remember seeing a security guard, rush over to get them. Film the altercation so that you may be able to provide evidence that can be used to identify the assailants.

Don’t walk away from a victim 

If you witness a fight and, once the coast is clear, realize that someone is seriously injured, don’t walk away. Even if you are not medically trained, you may be able to give them comfort until emergency personal arrives. It is a bad idea to attempt to move someone, because this can often make injuries worse. Remember to always be cautious around someone else’s blood.

An ambulance should have been called by this time. Wait for the ambulance, and wait for the police so you can give your story of the events.

In the movies, you rush into a fight and you’re a hero. In reality, you rush in and you’re a hot-headed, reckless fool. Don’t think that things will turn out fine because they always do on the big screen. The best thing you can do is keep a clear head and do everything you can to get the proper authorities on site.

Remember: most people are not cowards. They are, however, cautious, and the worst that can be said of them is that they don’t try to be proactive, and instead just watch the fight happen and move on. You can still be active in a fight while remaining outside of it. Call the police, find help, shout to break it up, stay by the injured parties and wait for the police to do their job.