Rescuing victims of motor vehicle crashes
There are a number of different factors that contribute to the risk of motor vehicle crashes. It may be due to vehicular condition, vehicle speed, road conditions, driver skill/impairment/behavior, and above all alcohol intoxication. From a global perspective, motor vehicular accidents lead to morbid disability and death to victims as well as considerable damage to property.
When you are in the scene of a vehicular crash:
- Stop and park your vehicle in a safe area and immediately call emergency services (fire department and paramedics).
- Turn on your vehicle’s emergency hazard flashers to signal other motorists of a hazardous scene.
- Make sure the scene is safe before attempting to approach the crash site.
- Ask the driver(s) to turn of the vehicle’s ignition of the involved vehicles or if unable, turn it off yourself.
- Place reflectors 300-500 feet behind the crash to warn other motorist of the obstruction on the road.
- If you suspect the victim having sustained head and spinal injuries, use your hands to stabilize the head and neck as support until medical help arrives.
- Check and care for any life-threatening such as profuse bleeding, shock and cardiac arrest first and handle lesser injuries later.
- Do not recklessly rush to the victim’s rescue that has been in a crash. Most vehicular crashes normally don’t burst into flames and most vehicles involve in an upright position.
- Never, move the victim unless there is an immediate danger such as fire or oncoming traffic.
- Do not transport victims in your car or any other bystander’s vehicle unless medical rescue will be delayed.
Rescuing victims caught in fires
To rescue victims trapped/caught on fire:
- Get as many people out of the area as quickly as possible.
- Call for the fire department and paramedics.
- If the fire is small and your own escape route is clear, try to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher.
- To use a fire extinguisher, aim directly at the base of the flames of whatever it is burning and then sweep across it in a swinging motion. Extinguishers expel its contents quickly anywhere between 10-30 seconds for most home models which contains primarily dry chemicals.
Rescuing Victims trapped in confined spaces
A confined space is an area not really intended for humans to occupy mainly because of insufficient ventilation which can lead to a suffocation and later asphyxiation. Confined spaces including, utility vaults, manholes, abandoned mines and storage tanks are examples of below-ground confined spaces while ground-level confined spaces include farm storage silos and industrial tanks and above-ground confined spaces include water towers and storage tanks.
An emergency in confined spaces demands fast and immediate response. If someone enters a confined space and suddenly becomes trapped, signals for help or becomes unresponsive, follow the following steps:
- Call for emergency services (fire department and paramedics).
- For unresponsive and motionless victims, attend to them first. Do not enter the confined space unless you have proper training and equipment such as safety harness, self-contained breathing apparatus and lifeline.
Once the victim is removed for the confined space, check for circulation and breathing and provide appropriate care while waiting for emergency medical services for further evaluation and management.