The recent cold weather and snow has brought with it the increased risk of road traffic collisions and other accidents.
When administering First Aid in one of these situations there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to ensure you not only protect yourself from injury but also give the best care possible to victims until the Emergency Medical Services arrive.
aims to address some of the issues that you may come across when dealing with First Aid at a road traffic collision.
When you first come across a road traffic collision it can be quite a daunting sight, wrecked and twisted vehicles, possible multiple casualties, blood and other fluids everywhere, it can be difficult to know where to start and who to treat first.
First Aid – Looking after yourself
It may sound counter-intuitive initially but the first person you need to think about in this type of situation is yourself!
Making an effective assessment of any accident scene is crucial in order to protect yourself from injury or death. Don’t go rushing straight into help; always a take a few seconds to look at the situation and identify and hazards or risks that could potentially cause you harm, there is no point starting out as a rescuer and ending up as a patient!
With the a road traffic collision some of the things you may need to look out for are:
2.Harmful Chemicals (e.g. petrol and battery acid)
4.Wreckage and Debris
7.Members of the public
You need to consider all these factors and then make a plan.
First Aid – Calling EMS
In most Road Traffic Collisions you will need to alert the Emergency Medical Services. An early call to 999 is one of the crucial links in the chain of survival so make sure you do it as soon as possible!
First Aid – Casualty Assessment
If there are multiple casualties then you will need to do an assessment of each one to make sure you prioritise the care you give.
The important things you need to look out for are:
1.Non breathing (cpr)
Prioritising care in this order will ensure that you administer care first to the casualty that needs it the most!
First Aid – Bystanders
There are two ways of looking at bystanders; you can view them as a hindrance or help.
You can let them get in the way, offer well-intentioned but unhelpful advice, bring un-needed emotion to an already stressful situation and put themselves in harms way by acting recklessly.
The better solution is to make use of bystanders by giving them something to do! You can use bystanders to slow down traffic, call the Emergency Medical Services, helping with stemming serious bleeding, taking over CPR when you are exhausted, re-assure casualties, guide in ambulances and police and other crucial tasks.
First Aid – Arrival of EMS
Once the Emergency Services arrive (hopefully within 10 minutes or so) you will need to do a professional handover to them and let them take over medical care.
The best thing to do is to carry on what you are doing until you are relieved by Emergency Personnel.
Explain the situation as you found it and what you have done in terms of First Aid and the conditions of the casualties.
Once they have taken over you may be asked to supply your contact details to the Police in case they need to follow up with witness statements etc.