It happens faster than you think: a car accident. You may not be personally involved, but you can help. Accident victims depend enormously on the help of others. But how can you help in the event of an accident if you don’t know the situation? What needs to be considered? How do you administer first aid after an accident?
Use the 6 steps to provide first aid after an accident
In 2020, there were about 6.2 million vehicles in Switzerland This means that there are also many cars on Switzerland’s roads every day. Many cars also increase the likelihood of a road accident. A short microsleep, a small distraction or even vehicle failure can suddenly cause an accident. Some accidents only cause damage to the vehicle, while other accidents can cause life-threatening injuries to the occupants.
If this happens, the people involved depend on the first aid measures of people in the immediate vicinity. All holders of a driving licence basically learn how to apply all the important steps during the compulsory first aid course. But as time goes by, knowledge diminishes, because as a rule the first aid course is not repeated, and knowledge is not updated. But what should you do if you are involved in or witness a traffic accident?
1. Do not look away
You are probably shocked at first when you witness a road accident. Or even if you notice the accident and the people injured while driving. But the human brain reacts almost automatically and uses its instincts to help others.
Therefore, you should not look away when you are in a road accident. Because when human lives are at stake, any help is better than no help at all! If you ignore an obvious accident site and fail to provide first aid, you can be punished for not providing assistance. It is therefore a legal obligation to provide first aid in the event of a road accident involving injured persons.
2. Do not put yourself in danger
Even if other people depend on our help, our own safety still comes first. Because if you put yourself in danger, you cannot help the people involved and you yourself become a victim. The most important thing is to remain calm and not react frantically. Therefore, you should stay on the side of the road as much as possible.
3. Secure the scene of the accident
Before helping the injured person or making an emergency call, you should secure the scene of the accident. This will help prevent further accidents and avoid further injuries.
When securing the scene of an accident, do the following:
- If you stop your vehicle, you must park it at least 10 metres away from the accident scene. When parking the vehicle, ensure that you do not obstruct traffic. Then switch on your hazard lights to attract attention.
- Then put on your high-visibility waistcoat, which must be in the car. This will make you more visible to other vehicles.
- Finally, place the warning triangle in a clearly visible position. The warning triangle should be placed at a minimum distance from the scene of the accident. For road accidents in town this is about 50 metres, on country roads about 100 metres and on motorways about 150-200 metres. When setting up the warning triangle, account must also be taken of curves or differences in height. These may obstruct the view of the warning triangle or the accident scene.
Tip: If you are not travelling alone but have other helpers, you can share the tasks with them.
4. Dialing the emergency number
The next step is to dial the emergency number. It is also important to remain calm when calling the emergency number. The more information you can give the emergency call centre, the quicker and more targeted professional first aid can arrive. You can interrupt the emergency call by dialling 112. An alternative to the emergency call is an emergency app such as our TarisApp. You can find more information here. If you dial the emergency call, the following questions are important:
- Where is the location of the accident?
- What exactly happened?
- What is the situation at the scene of the accident?
- How many people have been injured?
But all the important questions are asked by the emergency call centre over the phone. In addition, the emergency centre can give advice on first aid measures over the phone if you are not sure.
5. Ask for help
If no one even notices the accident or refuses first aid, you should draw attention to yourself. Wave your arms, let them see that you need help. Because any further help can save lives. And you never know if you might attract the attention of trained medical staff.
6. First aid measures
Emergency services can take 10 to 15 minutes to arrive. During this time, it is extremely important for the survival of the victim that first aid is administered. In doing so, particular attention should be paid to the following points:
- Bleeding wounds: If there are open, bleeding wounds on victims, they should be treated as quickly as possible. The most important thing is to stop the bleeding. A pressure bandage can be used to stop the bleeding.
- Check whether he is conscious: Are the victims responsive or is there a pulse? If they are conscious, you must try to calm them down. You can help by telling them that help is on the way and will arrive soon. Those affected should also be wrapped with the rescue blanket. Very important: the silver side must be downwards! This protects the victim from hypothermia.
- Is the victim unconscious? Then you should apply resuscitation measures immediately. To learn more about first aid and resuscitation measures, click here.
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