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First on the Scene: Helping Victims of Car Accidents

All of us are road users, and, at one point in our lives, we will witness an accident happening. Whether or not we are the first on the scene, the first things we will do in the event of a road accident can have lasting consequences.

The point of being a “Good Samaritan” is to leave the person better off than you found him. Even if we have good intentions, a wrong move can have grave repercussions. So before you barge in to help, consider first the possible dangers that you will be exposing the victim to once you intervene and act on minimizing those risks.

Before helping the victim, move your car to a place where it won’t be a hindrance to the arriving medical help or be in range of an explosion should it happen. Turn on the emergency flashers to warn the other arriving motorists of an accident in the area so they can drive away. If you have someone with you, ask them and several others to call for help first and help clear the area. Warn off other passers-by to help facilitate traffic away from the scene.

Pause for a moment and take in the scene before you. If there is no immediate threat to the victim’s life, there is probably no need to move him. But if, for example, there is an impending fire resulting from the accident, quickly move the victim out of harm’s way, regardless of making his injuries worse. After all, nothing could be worse than death.

Check the victim’s responsiveness. Gently shake his shoulders and ask in a loud and clear voice if he can hear you. In the event that the victim is unconscious and had stopped breathing, perform CPR (make sure you’re trained first). Start with 15 chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute, open the airway, and then perform 2 ventilations. Repeat the process until medical help arrives.

If he is conscious, ask if he needs any help. Render first aid if necessary, otherwise, wait for professional help to arrive. Survey the scene for other victims and take precautions to ensure that nothing worse could happen, such as turning the ignition off to prevent the car from catching fire.

Even if you can’t perform medical interventions for the victim, you can still provide comfort and emotional support to them. Keep them warm using a blanket or a coat and protect him from the harsh weather. Talk to the victim and use encouraging words to uplift their spirits. Holding their hand can also mean a lot for them. In case of injuries, put pressure on the wound using a clean towel or cloth to stop the flow of blood. Refrain from moving the victim as he may suffer from a head injury, where sudden movement can make his condition worse. Continue doing these until help arrives.

The scene of a road accident can leave a lasting mark, not only on the victim and his family, but to the bystanders as well. Learning how to take charge of the situation is vital since a life is at stake.

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