Accidents can happen in the most unlikely places. To make things worse, bystanders and passersby want a piece of the action. Everyone wants to get involved, making the situation more unorganized and unruly. The scene of an accident is always a hectic place with a lot of things happening all at once. As a trained first aider, you should consider the safety of everyone in the accident scene.
Safety takes precedence over any first aid measure. If you are providing first aid to someone in the middle of the road and a vehicle comes rushing towards both of you, you wouldn’t be able to help the victim and even put yourself at risk. There are several things in the accident scene that may pose risks to you, the victim and bystanders. Here are some risks to safety that you need to be mindful of:
Oncoming traffic poses serious risk to your safety. If there are bystanders, ask them to help; send someone to wave down traffic in both lanes. If possible, use warning devices or signal lights to stop oncoming traffic. Place your warning device far from the accident site.
- Electric lines
If power line is down near or around the scene of accident, make sure that the supply has been shut off before providing first aid. However, do not attempt to shut off the power if you have no adequate training or are not properly equipped. Better yet, call the local utility provider to get the power supply turned off. Even if the ambulance arrives, the emergency services cannot get near the victim. So, it is best to call the utility provider first.
- Hazardous material/chemical spills
There are many hazardous materials that can cause contamination to you, the victim and bystanders. Gas, oil, industrial chemicals and radioactive compounds pose risks to the safety of people around the accident site. If it is not possible to remove these hazardous chemicals, at least inform everyone and place warnings to indicate where it is.
The risk of fire is ever present in car crashes. Usually, people have a tendency to light up a smoke when they are in great stress. Instruct everyone not to smoke or move away from any flammable materials. It is not unusual for people to forget such simple things in case of an accident.
Establish a safety circle by coordinating the bystanders. Normally, people who are in the scene of accident are eager to help. You can make use of their eagerness by asking them to serve as safety marshals: directing traffic, pointing out fluid spills, and warning people about possible dangers.
In any emergency situation, it is important that the person with the most training lead rescue effort and attend directly to the victim. Make sure to introduce yourself, whether you are a trained first aider, a nurse, certified first responder, etc. Ask around if there is someone who is more trained than you. If there is, you can assist him in providing first aid.