My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Census workers save a life

Yes, this is a watchdog site, so I don’t report all of the good news, but this story about Census Bureau employees serendipitously being in the right place at the right time is worth reading:

Census workers help rescue man

Two women acted quickly after realizing they were hearing desperate plea for help


Read more:

Barbara Westbrook and Debra Billings, two census workers, agreed Tuesday night to take one last assignment to knock on 10 more doors in a neighborhood off Columbia’s North Main Street.

When the two women knocked on the door of a Colleton Street home, they heard a man’s voice from inside. But a passing train prevented them from understanding what he said.

“We get all kinds of responses, from people telling us to go away, people who try to ignore us when we know they’re there,” Westbrook said.

The two women could have figured the man wanted them to leave and headed to the next address. After all, it was after 7 p.m. and they had nine more addresses to check before 8 p.m.

But they waited out the train and realized the man was calling for help.

“He said, ‘I’m hurt. I’ve fallen and I need help. Call 911,’” Westbrook said.

Billings, whose husband is a volunteer firefighter, used her cell phone to call 911. Then, the two women went to a nearby apartment complex to ask for help. Billings was not available Wednesday to talk about the rescue.

“She took him seriously and knew exactly what to do,” Westbrook said in praising her co-worker’s actions.

Neighbors removed the man’s screen door, then a teenage boy kicked in the front door.

“It was just like the movies,” Westbrook said. “He would run and jump up and kick at the door.”

Once inside, they found a man face down in a corner.

He had fallen while walking toward his television to start a movie, Westbrook said. He had been lying alone in a hot house for nearly 24 hours.

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13 Responses to “Census workers save a life”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thumbs up census workers!

  2. anonymous Says:

    THANK YOU! :)

  3. anonnymous Says:

    That is wonderful news!

  4. happyiamdonewiththem Says:

    Nice… But because they were at a residence and called outside authorties brings into question…. Was Title 13, PII, and the integrity of the Census compromised? Wouldnt be suprised if these enumerators were quietly terminated given the bi-polar nature management had for this operation.

  5. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @happy – that would be interesting/terrible

  6. Crew Leader Says:

    @Stephan: Now there’s a comment from a real bottom feeder.

  7. end the census Says:

    Bravo to those census workers who DISOBEYED what we’ve all been told repeatedly about NOT reporting to the authorities ANY thing we encounter while on duty including emergencies!!! The census bureau and whoever thought of that inhuman “directive” will probably pretend they never issued the directive, or else they’ll fire those two brave workers and fine them a quarter of a million dollars for the PII violation.

  8. anonymous Says:

    happyiamdonewiththem: I agree.

    Three weeks into NRFU, i encountered an elderly woman in a van stuck at a left turn signal in heavy early morning traffic. She was standing outside her van and it was very obvious she did not have a cell phone, etc. I quickly parked my car on a side street. Ran over to try and help. I called 911 Motor-Assist. She did belong to an auto club. Motor-Assist came within 5 minutes. I signed-out and signed back in on my D308 for 15 minutes. I wrote in the Notes Box – volunarily assisted stranded motorist on my own time (clocked in and out).

  9. anonymous Says:

    She did not belong to an auto club.

  10. PA Confidential Says:

    Wait just a minute!! TWO CENSUS WORKERS knocking on ONE door? They can’t send TWO workers to one address!

    …so says my AMFO anyway!!

    What a $#!%(%$( organization anyway!

  11. Nowheresville NY Says:

    @PA Confidential: That’s no rule I’ve ever heard of. Recent trainees are sent out in pairs for their first week to get a hang of the ropes, and I went as a pair this past week with a girl on my team who had a rural route and was nervous poking around some of the more run-down places by herself (turned out most of the scary looking ones were vacant.)

  12. Nowheresville NY Says:

    Oh, and likewise, we were never told not to phone in emergencies if we came across one. What we can’t do is call the police on a household resident on any suspicion they might be shifty. Think they might be illegal immigrants, or dealing drugs, or stuff like that, it’s officially Not Our Business, the Census bureau cares more about getting their questionnaire. Someone calls for help as in this case, well, that’s different.

  13. Embarressed Says:

    Do you think they will get in trouble for crossing the line and calling “the authorities”?