A recent story of a local paramedic bride who rushed to the scene of an accident involving her family while still wearing her wedding dress has gotten attention across the nation. While this woman had the skills to help her family, not everyone is trained to help others at the scene of a crash. Still, there are several things you can do to help victims of crashes if you are the first on the scene.
- If emergency services have not already been contacted, call 911, or have someone else call, right away. While you may not be able to provide medical assistance, you can help get the crash victims medical care as soon as possible.
- Park your vehicle out of the way of traffic, preferably off the road, and turn on your emergency flashers. Do what needs to be done to safely alert passing drivers of the accident scene.
- Ask yourself, “Will it help or hurt?” Generally, accident victims should not be moved, especially if there is a suspected head or neck injury. Moving the person could make injuries worse.
- If the person is stuck in a burning vehicle or the person’s life is otherwise in danger, use your best judgment. Saving the person’s life is worth the risk of causing greater injury.
- If the victims need CPR and you are properly trained, perform it.
- Use the cleanest cloth possible to apply pressure to any serious wounds. In some cases, the cleanest cloth available might be part of a shirt or blanket.
- Do what you can to make the victim or victims comfortable while you wait for emergency services to arrive. Talk to the person. If it is cold, cover the person with a blanket, coat, or sweatshirt. Shade the person from the hot sun, if it is a sunny day, or from rain or snow if such weather conditions are present.
- Stay with the victims until emergency professionals arrive. Let the medical responders know of any medical assistance you have provided.
- If told by medical professional to leave the scene, leave. If you stay, you will likely just get in the way.