It’s a situation that I hope no one ever has to face, but there is a sad truth that traffic accidents do happen. Whilst taking all the proper precautions can minimise your risk on the road, sometimes there is no preventing them. In light of this, it’s amazing how important first aid knowledge can be. It really can be the difference between life, and death.
First things first, as soon as it is safe to do so ring the emergency services.
Once the call is made, there are a few steps that it’s important to remember if you’re ever the first person at the scene of an accident. If you can remember the letters DR ABC, in that order, you’re already well on the way.
- D is for Danger
When confronted by a distressing situation, there will be a lot of thoughts floating around your head about what you should do. Before you make any decisions, you have to confirm whether you are in danger where you are, or if you go to help. Sometimes you can make a situation worse by putting yourself at risk. If you get injured, it would mean another person to treat, putting a further stress on the emergency services.
- R is for Response
If you can safely get to the injured person, you need to check if they are responsive. You can do this by asking them simple questions and gently shaking their shoulders. It’s important to be very cautious when shaking their shoulders, if they have broken a bone, particularly in their back, shaking them rigorously could cause even further damage.
- A is for Airways
We breathe through our mouth and nose, so it’s important that these airways aren’t obstructed, or else the person will choke or suffocate. If a person is injured, it can be difficult for them to breathe, even if there is nothing blocking the airways. This is why you have to open the airways by placing one hand on their forehead and two fingers under their chin, then gently tilt their head back slightly.
- B is for Breathing
Now you know the person’s airways are open, you need to check that they are breathing. You do this by placing your cheek over their mouth and nose, whilst trying to listen and feel for breath. At the same time, watch their chest for rising and falling, as that’s an indication that they are still breathing. You need to do this for at least ten seconds, or else you might miss something.
- C is for Compressions
If the previous stage has revealed to you that the person is not breathing, you need to perform chest compressions on them. To do this place both your hands in the centre of the chest and press down 4 – 5 cms at a rate of 100 per minute. Alternatively, if it is a child use one hand.
Once you have done 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths. To do this, pinch the nose and seal your mouth over theirs. Then blow steadily and firmly for one second, making sure their chest rises. Continue this cycle until emergency services arrive.
Please feel free to print off a copy of DR ABC with the link below, to have the steps needed to save a life with you on every journey.