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Would you know what to do if you arrived at the scene of a car accident?

Could you cope and be of help?

Questions we all ponder at times yet, given driving conditions at this time of year, anyone could find themself in such a situation, having to react quickly to save life and reduce the chances of further injury.

It would be ideal if everyone carried a first aid kit and knew some basic first aid but you can still assist with just common sense and a few basic measures at your disposal.

  • Park safely before the accident with lights and hazard flashers on. Don't rush into the traffic, keep your eyes open and assist in preventing further vehicles arriving unwarned.
  • Do send people for help, in both directions, with a clear assessment of the situation, exact location, numbers of injured, any casualties trapped, etc.
  • Do spend a few moments deciding priorities, if the road is covered with fuel, or worse, there is already a fire, clear the area, removing any mobile injured to a safe position.
  • Do turn off all car ignitions and, if possible, disconnect batteries to reduce the risk of fire. If fire extinguishers are available station them near the greatest risk particularly if there are trapped casualties.
  • If there are trapped casualties, assess their condition first. Check the extent of injuries ensuring that they areable to breathe and that any blood flow is staunched with pressure pads made of handkerchiefs or clothing.
  • Loosen clothing to assist breathing and ensure airways are not blocked, if so attempt to clear them.
  • Do not remove anyone from a vehicle unless at risk of further injury, leave it to the experts. Wrap all casualties with any clothing or blankets to hand, this will reduce the onset of shock.

All of these simple tips may help to save lives or lessen injuries but for those who would like to know more both the Red Cross and St John run excellent short courses. Both of these very worthwhile organisations are listed in the telephone book in their different areas and will give information on the next course close to you.

The BBC website also carries useful information, including a quiz to test your first aid skills in a number of different situations.

Article © Graham Benge 2007

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