Road accidents range from a fall from bicycle to a major incident with many casualties. Often, the accident site will present serious risks to safety, largely because of passing traffic. It is essential to make the area safe-to protect yourself, the casualty, and other road users.
Make the accident site safe
First ensure your own safety, and do not do anything that might create danger.
- Park safely, well clear of the accident site. set your hazard lights flashing.
- Do not run across a busy motorway.
- At night, wear or carry something light or reflective, and use a torch.
- Send bystanders to warn other drivers.
- Set up warning triangles or lights 200 meters (250 yards) in each direction.
- Switch off the ignition of any damaged vehicle and, if you can, disconnect the battery. Switch off the fuel supply on diesel vehicles and motorcycles.
- Stabilise vehicles. If vehicle is upright, apply the hand-brake and put it in gear, or put blocks at the wheels. if a vehicle is on its side, do not right it, but try to prevent it from rolling over.
- Look out for physical dangers. is any one smoking? Are there goods vehicles displaying hazchem symbols? Are there damaged power lines or split fuel? If you see a radiation hazard sign, make sure that you alert the police immediately.
Check the casualties
Quickly assess all casualties, moving them only if they are in danger or you need to do so to apply life-saving treatment. Deal with life-threatening conditions first. search the area thoroughly, so that you do not overlook a casualty who may have been thrown clear in the accident or have wandered away while confused.
For an unconscious casualty
- Assume there is a neck injury until proved otherwise. Support the head and neck with your hands, so that the casualty can breathe freely. Apply a collar, if possible. Do not move the casualty unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Treat any life-threatening injuries if possible. Monitor and record breathing, pulse, and level of response every ten minutes.
If it is essential to move the casualty you will need three people to help you: one to support the shoulders and chest, one for the hips and abdomen, and one for the legs. Support the casualty's head continuously and direct all movements.
For a casualty trapped under a vehicle
- Mark the exact position of the vehicle and the casualty first. The police will need this information.
- Try to find help to lift or move the vehicle and, only if it is absolutely necessary, drag the casualty clear.
Accidents may be complicated by the spillage of dangerous substances or the escape of toxic vapours. never make a rescue attempt unless you are sure that you will not come into contact with a dangerous substance. Keep bystanders away from the scene, bearing in mind that poisonous fumes may be released and travel some distance.
Stand upwind of the accident to ensure that any fumes are blown away from you.