What to do if you are a first responder at a road traffic accident

It can be very scary to be the first responder at a car accident, especially if the accident is a serious one and you are not sure how to proceed. The following is a quick guide that walks you through what to do, in case you ever find yourself first on the scene. A little bit of knowledge can help you turn a bad situation into one that is much more manageable, and may just help save someone’s life.

The first thing you need to do is pull off the road yourself, a safe distance away from the crash. You will want to put on your emergency flashers so that other cars can see you. You need to make sure that you are far enough from the accident that if an explosion occurred your vehicle would not be involved.

Stay Calm; Phone 999

Second, you should collect yourself, because if you witnessed the accident your adrenaline is no doubt flowing. Once you are able to speak comfortably, call 999 and tell the dispatcher about the accident. It can be tempting to run to the accident, but the goal should be to get help coming as soon as possible, and every second counts.

Take a deep breath

Third, take a breath and look around to assess the scene. Look for life threatening issues before you approach – for example, fire or draining fuel tanks. You should be worried about keeping the scene stable until help can arrive.

Now can you can check for injured parties. Talk to victims and tell them that help is on the way. Ask them if anyone else was in the car and do checks to account for each person. Resist the urge to move anyone, unless there is a life-threatening situation such as a fire, because moving them can cause more damage. Keep in mind that many times people will be screaming in pain, but this is a good sign. It often means they are neurologically OK because they are able to react to pain. By helping them focus on something else by talking to them, or asking them who you should call, you can help them stay still.

Finally, people with head injuries will sometimes get out of a car and wander around in a daze. The same can be true of someone who is drunk or on drugs. Try to get anyone wandering to sit down so that they stay safe and do not walk into traffic. Reserve judgement if in doubt, as you may not know what is going on in any specific scenario.

If you would like to learn more on being a First Responder check out our courses – FPOS training