Across the world, nearly 1.35 million people are killed or disabled in traffic accidents every year and 3700 people die every day. First aid is the initial care given to an injured person. Knowing how to give first aid to accident victims can mean the difference between life and death. Whether you are at home, on the road, or outdoors, being ready to give a helping hand can save lives.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through 10 simple steps on how to give first aid to accident victims. You’ll also be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to act swiftly and effectively during such critical moments when every second matters.
Let’s get started and find out how you can become a true responder in times of need.
10 Simple Steps on How to Give First Aid to Accident Victims
1. Park your car to the side of the road
First, ensure the safety of both the victim and yourself. After assessing the situation, park your vehicle on the side of the road, at least 100 feet away from the accident scene. Turn your hazard lights on to alert other oncoming vehicles. This also helps to clear the way for emergency responders and maintain a safe distance from oncoming traffic.
2. Check for danger
Your safety and that of the victim depend on this initial assessment. Look out for things like fuel flowing, smoke, unstable structures, or exposed wires. In this case, you are better off staying away and calling emergency services. By checking for danger, you create a safer environment in which you assess and provide aid to those in need.
3. Call emergency services
After making a quick assessment of the accident scene, call emergency services. Provide the person with whom you’re speaking with every required information to the best of your knowledge. Encourage other witnesses and bystanders to call emergency services as well. These people may have additional information or observe details about the accident and victim you may have missed. Remember that the more information emergency services has, the better they can respond to an accident. Ensure to stay on the line with the operator for as long as possible.
4. Identify seriously injured persons
Begin by identifying severe injuries such as bleeding from the head, nose, legs, abdomen, or other vital organs. Basically, individuals who can talk or scream are in a better condition compared to those who are unable to breathe or make any sounds.
5. Avoid moving the victim
The only time you should move a victim is when there is an imminent danger like fire or if the victim has been thrown from the vehicle and is face down in water. While moving, ensure that the victim’s head, neck and back are carefully handled and not jerked around. Remember that many injuries are not visible on the surface of the skin. Ensure that when you need to move a victim, you approach them by kneeling down to their level. Failure to do so can induce panic and cause further injury. When making your decision, consider the question “am I leaving the person better off than the way I met him?”
6. Clear the airway
One of the most common causes of accident death is due to loss of oxygen supply. This is mostly caused by a blocked airway. The ABC rule becomes crucial in clearing the airway:
- Airway: Carefully and gently put the victim on the ground without any rough handling to prevent further injury. Turn the victim to one side, loosen any tight clothing around the neck, chest and waist. Gently tilt the head backward, point the face slightly downward in order for the tongue to fall forward, allowing blood and vomit to drain out. Clear the mouth of dirt, blood or loose teeth.
- Breathing: When a victim is unconscious or loses consciousness, check the airway to confirm proper breathing. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation can be employed here. Gently tilt the head back, support the jaw, and ensure your fingers are kept away from the jaw. With mouth-to-mouth seal and your cheek sealing the victim’s nose, blow into the mouth until the chest rises. Afterward, lift your mouth, turn to examine chest, bend and listen for any air escaping from nose and mouth. If the chest still does not rise, check again for blocked airway. Continue administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until normal breathing is restored. Blow every four seconds for adults and every three seconds for children.
- Circulation: Expose bleeding wound and stop bleeding by applying direct pressure to the injury using a thick bandage or cloth pad.
7. Administer aid (as necessary)
Many advocated advice offering immediate first aid only if the victim faces life-threatening injuries. If the injuries require bandaging, splinting fractures, or employing more advanced first aid procedures, it is generally recommended to wait for professional assistance, especially if you know it is en route. In the meantime, it is crucial to keep the victim as still as possible. Talking to the victim can also go far in soothing their nerves.
8. Treat Shock and keep the victim warm
Shock can be very dangerous if not treated. The most common symptoms of shock is a pale skin and cold. Remember, “if the face is pale, raise the tail”. Accident victims also feel excessive cold after an accident due to shock. Keeping them warm is crucial for their survival. Use a jacket or a pullover or any available resources at the scene to keep them warm. If you can, raise up the victim’s legs or rest the legs on your knees to prevent or minimize shock. You may also shield the victim from the sun as well.
9. Comfort the victim
It is most likely that an accident victim is scared and may be injured. Talking to the victim and offering words of encouragement can calm him/her until emergency services arrive. Encouraging words such as “I know you’re in pains but hang on, help is on the way. I’m here with you for as long as you need me” can be soothing to the soul. If possible, hold the victim’s hand. This gesture can contribute to the victim’s sense of security and survival.
10. Turn over care to emergency personnel
Once emergency services arrive, allow their trained personnel to take over the person’s care. By doing so, you ensure that the victim(s) receive the best possible care and increase their chances of full recovery. These professionals are better trained to manage car accidents and any resulting injuries.
Now that we have covered the fundamental steps on how to give first aid to accident victims, let’s gain insights into the “3 Cs of first aid.”
What are the 3 C’s of first aid?
Emergencies or accidents don’t care about where you are or what you’re doing. They can strike anywhere, at any time. This is why it’s important to know the 3 Cs of first aid. These 3 Cs are the cornerstone of effective emergency response. They are Check, Call and Care.
- Check: This refers to looking for potential hazards or threats. The purpose of this “check” is to guarantee the safety of the first responder so they don’t unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way. While checking, you can also observe if there are other individuals present at the scene who could be of help, if necessary.
- Call: Acting promptly is absolutely critical in any medical emergency. The speed at which responders can reach a patient and administer care often determines the difference between life and death. After and initial scene assessment and checking the victim’s breathing and pulse, it is important to call the local emergency number immediately. You should cooperate with the authorities by providing them with all available information about the victim, their medical situation, and location.
- Care: Having completed the initial checks and informed the right authorities, you can proceed to provide care until professional assistance arrives. Monitor the victim’s breathing closely as you might need to administer CPR or control bleeding. Remember, the primary focus in first aid triage is circulation-airway-breathing.
What is the meaning of PPP in first aid?
- Preserve Life: The primary goal for every first responder is to preserve the victim’s life. To save the victim, you may be required to control bleeding, administer CPR, or take other necessary actions. Prioritizing the order of circulation, airway and breathing (C-A-B) is crucial. Assess the victim’s circulation and implement any required interventions. Make sure the victim is breathing freely with an unobstructed airway. The overall aim is to prevent the condition from getting any worse.
- Prevent Deterioration: Take necessary measures to maintain the victim’s health until medical professionals arrive. The goal is to prevent the situation from getting worse and avert any potential future harm. This could involve relocating the victim to a safer location, providing first aid, or simply staying close by and comforting them.
- Promote Recovery: After you have administered the most effective first aid, it’s important to promote the path to recovery. This can be achieved by boosting self-esteem, providing comfort, working to ease pain and other strategies.
What are the qualities of a good first aider?
- Good Communication Skills: Communicating with sick and injured individuals can be a challenge. A good first aider must possess excellent communication skills and a natural ability to talk to people.
- Ability to work in a team: First aiders frequently collaborate with emergency services personnel, especially the ambulance service.
- Ability to work under pressure: A first aider should maintain composure under pressure and be able to handle tasks whilst maintaining awareness of the overall situation.
- Leadership: A first aider might find themselves in a position where they need to assume control of a potentially volatile situation
- Knowledge of their own limits: A first aider should know the limits of their skills and knowledge and be prepared to request further help when required.
- Empathetic: It is the responsibility of a first aider to reassure the victims that everything will be just fine.
- Fitness: Possessing a good level of physical fitness is essential for first aiders to reach the victim timely, pull them out of the situation when needed, and transport them to the emergency services.
- Quick Thinker: First aiders must manage their time efficiently when confronted with an emergency, taking the initiative to assess the situation and quickly come up with a plan.
- Vigilance: A first aider must possess the ability to quickly assess the situation and establish the potential risks to both themselves and the victim.
Emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime, hence, the need for First Responders everywhere cannot be overemphasized. Every Home, Workplace, Church, Mosque, School, Mall, Football Pitch etc. MUST have a First Aider.
Lives lost to needless and avoidable deaths can never be regained! Take action today by knowing how to give first aid to accident victims. Become a Certified First Responder because that life you would save might be yours.
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