First aid basics: What to do in case of an accident

Set up the warning triangle 100 metres before the scene. Alphabet International

A good friend of mine’s daughter who’s about to take her driving license test recently took a first aid course. Which got me thinking: is my first aid know-how up to par? Sure, I’ve taken a course or two, but, honestly, it’s been awhile. Would I know what do if I were to encounter an accident – or be involved in one myself? My motto in life: knowledge is power. I’d much rather know how to react and provide first aid, if necessary, than assume someone else will take care of it. Here’s a little refresher of first aid basics for all of us.

How to respond at the scene of an accident:

  1. First, ensure you are not in danger. Stop 100 metres away from the accident. Turn on your car’s warning lights, put on your reflective vest and set up the warning triangle 100 metres before the scene.
  2. Call the police and ambulance. Don’t assume another driver or passer-by has already done so.
  3. Secure the cars. If the victims are okay and the cars drivable, cars should be move to the side of the road to not block traffic.
  4. Evaluate the condition of those involved and respond accordingly. For fender-benders, providing emotional support is usually enough. For more severe accidents, don’t try to move injured persons, if this is possible. An exception to this is a potential fire or explosion risk.
  5. Use the recovery position. Put unresponsive persons who are breathing and free from other life-threatening injuries on their side in the recovery position.

  6. Start chest compressions or CPR for unresponsive persons who are not breathing. Chest compressions help pump blood throughout the body to deliver oxygen to the brain. If you feel confident, provide CPR by combining chest compressions with rescue breaths in cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. Continue compressions/CPR until help arrives.

  7. Stay calm, stick to the facts. Tell people involved the ambulance and police are on their way, but don’t try to determine who’s at fault. Leave that up to the police.
  8. Last but not least, share key info with the police and ambulance. Focus first on persons who are critically injured.

While this may seem like a lot of information to remember, it is manageable. Reviewing the necessary steps and visualising what to do can help. Consider (re-)taking a first aid course to boost your confidence. Today, technology can also lend a helping hand if you are involved in an accident while on the go in a company car. For instance, via the AlphaGuide app you can contact the service hotline for assistance and easily report any damage – paper-free.

Above all, remember that it’s better to do something than to turn a blind eye and do nothing at all. Here’s to safe and happy travels!

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