Immediate, efficient first aid is essential at a road accident. The first few minutes are vital, and prompt action can prevent brain damage or loss of life from obstructed breathing, heart failure or severe bleeding.
First aid treatment
- Check that it is safe to approach and that everyone on the scene is safe.
- Avoid danger from oncoming vehicles by, parking your car between the accident and the traffic, if necessary, turning on your hazard lights or other flashing lights, and low-beam headlights at night, placing warning lights and people, if possible, at a reasonable distance either side of the accident.
- Turn off the ignition of any car involved, put on the handbrake and, if the car is on a slope,
chock the wheels.
- Do not touch a car or casualties if they are in contact with live electric cables; contact the
electricity supply authority if necessary.
- Do not right an overturned vehicle.
- Check for flammable liquids such as petrol, have fire extinguishers handy and do not
- Check whether there are any casualties in the wreckage or beside the road. Do not smash a car window to get to trapped people unless they are protected from the glass.
- Do not move anyone who is not in immediate danger. Try to give a trapped casualty first aid on the spot: do your best to slide or tilt the car seat back if the steering wheel or other heavy object is compressing the chest or abdomen; tilt the casualty's head back and support the jaw so that the airway remains open. If you must move someone, follow the instructions given in MOVING A CASUALTY.
- Assess the condition of casualties. Remember to treat any unconscious person first: immediately check the airway, breathing and pulse, and begin resuscitation if needed. Then stop any severe BLEEDING.
- Send for help as soon as possible. Ask someone to ring for the police, ambulance and, if necessary, the electricity supply authority. Always keep information about the location and nature of the accident clear and brief. If you are alone, do not leave an unconscious or seriously injured casualty unless assistance is otherwise unlikely.
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