The need for prompt, decisive first aid action is nowhere better illustrated than at the scene of a road traffic accident. Victims sometimes survive the initial crash, only to die from breathing or bleeding difficulties. First aid knowledge and an ability to put it into practice could save life and possibly prevent brain damage.
What to Do at a Road Traffic Accident?
- Make sure your car is parked safely and that other cars are at a safe distance. Hazard flashers must be switched on. Switch off ignition on crashed vehicles, and ensure that they cannot move. Keep clear if a vehicle is on fire, or if there are fallen electricity wires. Safety must be the first concern.
- Check to see if anyone is injured. Do not attempt to move a casualty unless the person is in immediate danger or if it is necessary to clear the airway or give expired air or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Splint any fractures before the casualty is moved, if possible. Drag the casualty clear by the clothing on the shoulders if this can be done, or else by the wrists or the feet, moving backwards, sliding the casualty gently. Keep the casualty as horizontal to the ground as is practical, taking care to avoid injuring the neck or back, or allowing the head to bump. If possible, remove the object crushing a crush casualty. Send for emergency services immediately.
- Place any unconscious victim in the stable side position. Check airway, breathing and pulse and if necessary give expired air or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Check unconscious casualties for bleeding and try to control by direct pressure.
- Speak reassuringly to conscious casualties, making them comfortable, monitoring breathing and controlling bleeding.
- Check all accident victims for indications of shock, including any who may be wandering around.
- Cover casualties with light blanket or clothing, but do not give anything to eat or drink.
- If a bystander or assistant is available, send such a person to call ambulance and other emergency services, giving precise location and nature of accident, with the number and severity of injuries; whether anyone is trapped and what special services are needed. The first aider should stay with the casualties until help arrives.