It is difficult to fully prepare on how to act upon arrival as the first one on the scene of an accident. We all react differently to stress and our decisions under press is not always logical. But it will be easier if you have already practiced know how to act. So, what do you do as the first one to arrive at a traffic accident?
First aid at an accident site
Like so much else in healthcare and first aid, there is a constant development and improvement to be able to save even more lives. Today, the international recommendations for first aid is according to the abbreviation S-CABCDE. In this article we will let you know how to act if you are the first one to arrive at an accident site such as an traffic accident.
S-CABCDE – How to perform first aid at a traffic accident?
S – Safety / Scene
Did you just crash or arrive shortly after a traffic accident has occurred? The first thing you need to do is to check the surroundings and ask yourself a few vital questions. You should always do this before you start first aid or call 112.
- Is the accident site safe, or is there a risk for subsequent accidents?
- The last thing you want is for more accidents to happen as a result of your or another vehicle’s placement. The consequent accident can lead to even more injuries as well as delaying the first aid. Therefore, be careful in how and where you park your vehicle. Warn other road users in the ways that are possible, and if you are multiple persons on site, divide yourselves with different tasks.
- Is the accident site safe, or does it risk becoming a life-threatening situation?
- Is there a fire? Has a truck carrying flammable goods crashed? Is an injured person unprotected in the middle of the road? An accident site can quickly develop into a life-threatening situation. Get an overview quickly and thereafter, act in a safe and calm way.
C – Critical hemorrage
When the accident site is safe, initiate the first aid starting with control and treatment of any critical haemorrhages. When a person is bleeding critically there is a short period of time until he or she bleeds out. Therefore, it is important that you start the first aid by assessing any existing bleedings and if needed, treat them immediately. Use the tools you have available and stop the bleeding completely before proceeding to the next step in in your life-saving effort. If there is no critical bleeding, proceed to A
A – Airway and cervical control
Create free airways and stabilize the spine if needed.
B – Breathing
Does the person breathe? Look, listen and feel. Is the breath superficial or deep? If you find that the injured person’s breathing is adequate, continue to the next step, otherwise, take action.
C – Circulation and bleeding
Check the heart rate and circulation status of the person. Do you suspect that the injured person has internal bleeding? Is there a heart rate? Does it feel weak or strong? If everything is ok, proceed to the next step.
D – Disability
Is the person conscious? In this step, the degree of consciousness, feeling and ability to move are controlled. Keep in mind that the situation can change quickly, control the status regularly and be prepared for deterioration.
E – Exposure
In the last phase, you protect the injured person from the environment, e.g. against cold air or ground. Also do a full-body examination to detect other, non-life-threatening injuries. Try not to move the person unnecessarily, a neck or back injury can be aggravated by doing so.
Other important measures at a traffic accident, besides First Aid:
- If needed, contact the rescue service by dialling 112 (In Europe).
- Document the accident for a future insurance or legal case.
- Collect contact information from all parties involved, including anyone who witnessed the accident. This helps police and the insurance company in their investigative work. Collect the following information: name, address, telephone number, e-mail, driver’s license number, insurance company and the vehicles chassis number.
- Remember to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the traffic accident to find out the liability and compensation issue.
Learn to save lives in stressful situations
So, what should I do if I am the first one to arrive at a traffic accident? The most important thing is the fact that you do something, and that you act to the best of your ability. The more prepared you are, both with the right knowledge and the right equipment, the greater are the chance that your actions can save lives. If road traffic is a part of your work environment, then a great responsibility lies on your employer to ensure that you have the right training and equipment. Make sure that both you and your colleagues have the knowledge in both first aid, fire extinguishing & CPR.
This and much more will be taught to you in the training “First on the scene on an accident”
- First aid priority at an accident site
- How to manage and treat injuries as well as performing life-saving measures
- How to act in accordance with the international first aid-standard: S-CABCDE
- Critical hemorrhage
Read more about our course in First Aid