Emergency Service advises on how to properly help accident victims

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Public-spirited citizens who respond to accident scenes before the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrive can do more harm than good if they do not know how to help the victims.

And so, the EMS hosted a sensitisation exercise on Wednesday about how these good Samaritans can properly respond to the accident.

Chief Emergency Medical Technician (ag), Bhumika Sookdeo, said in the first instance when persons are scared of blood or scared generally, they should not approach the accident scene. She said they can make the situation worse, noting that many deaths and severe injuries can be prevented if proper first aid is administered to the victims.

But firstly, public citizens must ensure that the scene is safe. They can do so by checking to see if gas is leaking from the vehicle or if any live electrical wires are nearby the scene.

“We want to ensure at all times that the scene is safe, your safety is number one and this is something that you ought to remember; if you are going to assist someone in a situation on the road, you have to make sure you are safe before.

“You don’t want to assist someone and put yourself in danger. We are going to end up with two casualties instead of one,” Sookdeo stated.

Some of the priorities she listed for assisting accident victims are to check and see if they are conscious, breathing and then try to assess their injuries.

“If there is somebody is screaming and shouting and you have somebody that is unresponsive, you need to go to the unresponsive person to make sure they are breathing and have a pulse,” Sookdeo explained.

Sookdeo is pleading with citizens to first call EMS before attempting to remove victims and take them to the hospital. In so doing they can help prevent permanent paralysis of the patient or further injuries.

If a victim is bleeding, the responder can find a piece of clothing or rag, place it on the wound and hold pressure.
While removing the victim, it is critical to keep the cervical spine in mind since improper handling can paralyse the victim.

If the victim is sitting in the car, the responder can ask for assistance to stabilise the head and cervical spine and carefully remove the victim or wait until the EMTs arrive.

“You have to take into consideration the patient’s c spine; it is the cervical area at the back of the neck. If you move the patient round when you are trying to move them from the area they are in to another location, you can cause that patient paralysis for the rest of their life,” Sookdeo said.

In cases where the victim is unresponsive, responders can check for a pulse in the neck.

“The most effective one is the one in the neck – the carotid pulse. You can also check to see for rise and fall of the chest. This will tell you if the patient is breathing or not. These are important things, because this way you are going to know if you can start CPR on the patient or put the patient in the recovery position and wait until the ambulance arrives,” Sookdeo said.

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