What you need to know and do at scene of accident
RSA expert's tips could save lives in a car crash
Published 02/03/2016 | 02:30
Do you know what to do if you arrived on the scene of a serious crash?
Call the emergency services obviously, but after that what would you do?
If you have ever spoken to someone who works with any of the font line of the emergency services they will tell you that the scene of a road traffic-collision can be a frightening place.
A colleague, who has been mining forensic collision files for clues to the causes of crashes, told me recently that those who first arrive on the scene always talk about an eerie silence and stillness in the immediate aftermath of a crash - which then turn to scenes of chaos and confusion.
If you are the first on the scene of a crash you have a duty to call the emergency services.
You can call them on 999 or 112. You will be put through to the national 999 call-handling centre. The first question you will be asked is: 'Which emergency service do you require?' You will have to choose either the gardaí, Fire brigade or Ambulance service.
You will then be put through to the call handling centre for that service.
You will typically be asked a series of questions about where the collision happened, how many people and vehicles are involved, whether anyone has been injured. Finally, you will be asked for your details.
In collisions where people are killed or injured, you can expect to be asked additional questions. This is to make sure that enough responders are dispatched as soon as possible.
If the collision is serious, you should request the emergency service you made contact with to alert the other emergency services. But they will probably ask you this anyway.
There are some dangers you need to be aware of: the risk from passing traffic, the location of the crash - is it on a dangerous bend? Is it at night? These are the most obvious.
Dangers posed by vehicles involved in the crash itself and those that have shed their loads are others.
While waiting for the emergency services, you may be able to help make the scene safe, while not endangering your own safety.
You might have to decide between attending to the injured and making the scene safe.
Try to share these responsibilities. If there are others present, two of you should move away from the scene in opposite directions to warn approaching motorists. If you have a torch or hi-vis jacket, use them to help you do this job more safely. If you have a car, turn on your flashing warning lights.
If any of you have first-aid training, think about giving assistance to casualties.
If a person's bleeding can be slowed or stopped by you until the emergency services arrive, this could save their life. Remember the 'ABC' of first aid (Airways, Breathing and Circulation).
In general make those injured as comfortable as possible and try to reassure then. Let them know that help is on the way. Keep them as informed of progress as often as possible. Be discreet. Don't say anything within 'earshot' of those injured which might be negative.
In times of crisis those injured will only want to hear that things are going to work out fine.
Try to account for everyone who was originally in each vehicle. Check for people who might have been thrown some distance from the vehicle, or may be wandering around, shocked and disorientated.
Be aware of airbags, and the possibility that they may yet go off while you are helping.
When the emergency services arrive, make yourself known to them immediately and give them as much information as possible.
Ask if you should remain at the scene. If people are injured the gardaí will probably need to take witness statements.