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Administering First Aid at the Scene of an Accident

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 27 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Administering First Aid First Aid

Being involved in an accident or witnessing one can be a very traumatic experience. For many people, the opportunity to administer first aid at the scene of an accident arises unexpectedly and for most, it’s a shock to realise that they have a distinct lack of first aid knowledge. If you haven’t undertaken any official first aid training, it’s an excellent skill to learn and you should consider it where possible. Until then however, there are some important points to consider when administering first aid at the scene of an accident.

Assessing the Scene

There are some simple measures you should always consider when administering first aid at the scene of an accident and some of them occur prior to any actual first aid. Of utmost importance is the assessment of the accident scene, this will ensure your own safety and therefore enable you to aid others. Important parts of assessing the scene include:

  • Look at the accident scene and assess that there is no ongoing danger - If moving traffic is nearby, alert them to the accident scene however you can and ensure the flow of traffic is of no further danger to yourself or others.
  • Look for assistance - Check if there is anyone able to help you and get them to call emergency services if you have not already done so.
  • Stay calm - remember to remain calm as your temperament and emotional state may affect any victims who are in shock or who have been injured in the accident.

Assessing the Casualties

Once the accident scene is secured it is time to assess any casualties at the scene and also assess whether you need to call emergency services and what those services should be. There are some important points to consider when assessing the casualities:

  • Always deal with those that are non responsive first. Though you may feel you would be best to deal with those crying out in pain, if an accident casualty is unconscious, they may be in a more serious condition and therefore may need help first.
  • Check for visible injury signs. If you are aware of injuries outwardly it may make it easier to understand how to treat them.

Follow First Aid Laws

As with any first aid treatment, follow the first aid laws of Response and Breathing. Check the victim for response, are they conscious and lucid? Can the victim breathe or are they struggling? Is the victim bleeding? The best way to check for consciousness is to tap on the collarbone whilst asking them to open their eyes, perhaps try a question or two (how many fingers do you see). If no response is gained you should check breathing and if need be administer the first aid ABC.

  • A. Airway. Check the victims Airway. Only do this however if the victim appears to have no neck or back injuries as movement may cause further injury.
  • B. Breathing. Once the airway is seen to be clear, check the victim is actually breathing. You can do this by listening, or feeling for breathe. You can also check if the chest is moving.
  • C. Circulation. If a person is breathing, speaking or moving then circulation issues should be at minimum. If however they are not you may need to perform CPR. Only perform CPR if you are trained in all aspects of administering it.

Overall, the main point to remember when administering first aid at the scene of an accident is that you need to keep yourself safe, ensure that you’re doing as much as you’re able to for the victim without further injury and of course have informed emergency services if needed. Knowing that you may be the key to saving someone’s life is a very powerful tool. Take a first aid course if you can, or read a first aid book to help aid your knowledge.

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