What to do at the scene of a road ac­ci­dent

Your adren­a­line starts pump­ing, but you need to stay fo­cused on how to help in the best way pos­si­ble

Eyethu Baywatch - - MOTORING • EZEZIMOTO - Lau­rie Smith

It is a heart-wrench­ing ex­pe­ri­ence - you’re driv­ing along and an ac­ci­dent oc­curs. But be­fore panic sets in you need to try and re­mem­ber that as the first per­son on the scene, the way in which you re­act could be the dif­fer­ence between life and death.

Make it vis­i­ble! If you have an emer­gency tri­an­gle in your ve­hi­cle, put it out.

We got some sound ad­vice from Chris Botha, the me­dia li­ai­son of­fi­cer for Net­care 911, who through years of ex­pe­ri­ence in one of the most stress­ful ca­reers, knows what he’s talk­ing about.

‘The big­gest prob­lem is that one could be­come an­other vic­tim, or even cause harm to those in need of as­sis­tance,’ he says.

‘The very first thing is to en­sure the safety of you and your fam­ily.

‘Im­me­di­ately hit your haz­ard lights and pull off the road­way and park in such a man­ner that you are not in any dan­ger of be­ing hit by an­other ve­hi­cle.

‘Try to stop on the same side as the ac­ci­dent and don’t run across the road, be­cause you could be­come a pedes­trian statis­tic.’

Botha says one should re­mem­ber that other peo­ple on the road will be ‘rub­ber­neck­ing’ and won’t be con­cen­trat­ing as they should be.

Call for help

The first thing to do af­ter you have as­sessed if there are in­juries, is to call for med­i­cal as­sis­tance.

‘Re­mem­ber to speak clearly and give ex­act de­tails of where you are, how many pa­tients are in­jured, and the sever­ity of their in­juries.

‘This will en­sure that the cor­rect re­sources are dis­patched to the scene.’

Don’t touch – un­less nec­es­sary

Un­less ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary – for ex­am­ple the ve­hi­cle is on fire – you should not pull the in­jured from the ve­hi­cle or move them around.

‘Re­mem­ber that with the im­pact caused in a car ac­ci­dent, there is a pos­si­bil­ity that the per­son has spinal in­juries.’

Stem the bleed­ing

‘It is very im­por­tant that if a pa­tient is bleed­ing, you stop it as soon as pos­si­ble, and this is best done by ap­ply­ing pres­sure to the wound.’

Pro­tect your­self!

Botha says if you do not have gloves, you can al­ways in­struct the pa­tient to put di­rect pres­sure on the wound them­selves if they are able to fol­low in­struc­tions.

‘If not, you can use a piece of clean cloth, or a piece of cloth­ing to make a pres­sure ban­dage.

‘Re­mem­ber to keep the pa­tients calm and re­peat­edly re­as­sure them that help is on the way.’

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