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Road Traffic Accident

First Response

Many of us wouldn't know what to do at the scene of an accident, and would be scared to get involved in case we made the situation worse. However, no one needs to have a qualification in First Aid to be useful in these kind of circumstances. The first step to take at an accident of any kind is to stop, take a few deep breaths, and perform a complete 360 degree sweep of the accident scene and your surroundings. Remember, your safety is key, so be sure to assess any safety issues before you proceed. Keep yourself safe by following these steps:

1. Park your vehicle in a safe spot that's out of the way of any other moving vehicles, being careful not to block traffic.
2. Check for any visible fuel or potentially combustible liquid on the ground, and make sure to park a safe distance away if you find any.
3. Put on your emergency brake and your hazard lights, and call for help.
4. Check for traffic and exit your vehicle.Do not run across any busy traffic lanes; you will not be able to help if you also become injured.

The ABC of First Aid

The Basics
1. Check the victims for injuries. DO NOT move them. You can approach them, but it's best to do so by kneeling down first,leaning down from standing towards an injured and disoriented person can send them into a state of panic.
2. Speak to the injured parties. Say 'Hello' and tell them your name. If there is no visible response, tap them lightly and see if they respond to that.

Check the person's airway so you can make sure they are able to breathe. To do this, you put your hand lightly across their forehead and tilt their head backwards gently. Lift up their chin with 2 fingers and put your cheek in front of their mouth to see if they are breathing. You can look at their chest for movement at the same time. Do not give the victim any oral intake as it may lead to choking.

If they are not breathing at all you will need to start CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. If you haven't been on a first aid training course then you SHOULD NOT do this. Ask if anyone can give CPR and if they can, stay nearby to assist them.

Bleeding is a major cause of shock so you should stem the flow wherever possible. Grab some clean cloth and press gently on the wound. If the person is conscious, then you should ask them to hold the cloth against their injury, this helps them to focus and can help someone who is in shock calm down. If a person is in their car and you can treat them for injuries in there, then do so. Don't move them unless you have to as there may be neck or back injuries that
you can't see.

If someone is very pale then they have probably gone into shock. To help them, you should loosen tight clothing and put a blanket or coats over them to keep them warm then raise their legs up (even kneeling down and just resting their feet on your knees will help).

Emergency Services
Hopefully the emergency services will have been called beforeyou started to check out the victim(s). It's always best if someone else can do this rather than the person carrying out first aid, as the emergency services will want to keep the caller on the phone to advise and take directions. When calling, you need to provide the
following information:
1. Where the accident took place
2. What happened
3. How many people are injured
4. If there are any people not breathing
5. If there are bleeds
6. Any other information they ask for

Remember that by keeping a clear head and staying calm you really can be the difference between life and death for someone who has been injured in a road accident.

Quick summary

1. Keep calm
2. Check your safety
3. Call for help (Passer-by and Medical help)
4. Know your ABCs of First Aid
5. Support the emergency medical team with the required critical information

Save the important phone numbers of your nearby Blood banks,Trauma care and medical centers in case of any emergency

Dr.Ashish Nandy,
Head of Emergency Department, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata

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