What to do when you come across an accident

AN emergency medical service strike sheduled for this week was averted by the Department of Health's quick response to empoloyee demands.

THE chances of coming across an accident are fairly high, considering the number of road traffic incidents that occur on our roads.

Netcare 911, offers some advice on the best action to take when you come across an accident that has just occurred., without becoming a victim yourself, or causing harm to those in need of assistance.

“The first thing is to ensure the safety of you and your family. So pull off the roadway and park in such a manner that you are not in any danger of being hit by another vehicle. Try to stop on the same side as the accident and prevent running across the road. This could lead to you becoming part of a pedestrian crash. Remember, people driving past are rubbernecking and do not concentrate on the road in front of them,” said Chris Botha from Netcare 911.

Botha said the first thing to do after you have assessed if there are injuries is to call for medical assistance. Remember to give exact details of where you are, how many patients are injured and the severity of their injuries. This will ensure that the correct resources are sent to the scene.

“Unless absolutely necessary, such as if the vehicle is on fire, you should not pull the patients out of the vehicle or move them around. Remember that with the impact caused in a car accident, there is a possibility that the person has spinal injuries,” said Botha.

He said while waiting, it is very important that if a patient is bleeding, that you stop the bleeding as soon as possible. This is best done using direct pressure.

“If you do not have gloves, you can always instruct the patient to put direct pressure on the wound themselves if possible. If not you can use a peace of clean cloth, or a piece of clothing to make a pressure bandage. Remember to keep the patients calm and reassure them that help is on the way,” said Botha.

Lauren Walford

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