In situations such as major traffic accidents, you may find yourself in the difficult position of having to deal with several casualties at the same time. You may be on your own, working with other first aider, or with professionals. A methodical and calm approach will be crucial in the initial chaos. Always follow the ABC of resuscitation in order to establish treatment priority, and attend first to any unconscious casualty. Remember you can only do your best in these circumstances.
Major incidents involving a large number of casualties may place overwhelming demands on rescuers. The first task is to ensure that the emergency services are contacted immediately and given accurate information about the incident. The next priority is to assess the scene, and providing it is safe to do so, to start giving emergency first aid.
If other first aiders come forward, give them as much information as possible. The most senior First Aider present should take charge of the team. when the emergency service arrive, the senior officer will take absolute control.
When a major accident occurs, the police will establish rendezvous points and nominate officers for all rescuers to report to. it is vital not to disturb any evidence on site, especially following fatal accidents, as there may be a legal inquiry.
The role of the First Aider
At major public events, especially when there is a doctor on your team, you constitute the on-site medical team until hospital and other service arrive. When they do arrive, your role will diminish.
At any major incident, you must leave the scene if asked to do so by a member of the emergency services. However, you may be asked to help the medical teams by performing simple tasks, for example holding drips or supporting limbs.
Always do as you are asked; your help will be greatly appreciated.
How you can help
- Identify the serious casualties and mark them for immediate treatment. Move casualties with minor surgery quickly from the site to allow access to serious cases; minor injures can be treated when time allows. This process is called triage.
- Casualties who are obviously dead should be left, so to help can be given to those who need it.
- All those involved should be logged, and casualties labelled, so that accurate records can be made and maintained.
- workers or residents at a near the site of a disaster should be alerted to security risks and any further hazards.