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First-aid Tips

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With a calm and measured approach and a good idea of basic first aid, you may well be able to save someone's life, or at least keep them alive until the ambulance turns up.



If you haven't been on a first aid training course then you SHOULD NOT do this. Ask if anyone has been trained and can help, if they can, stay nearby to assist them.


First Things First

What you need to do first is take a good look at the situation and work out what's going on. There could be several dangerous hazards involved at the scene of a traffic accident and these can include lots of broken glass, fluid leaking from the car and also the possibility of traffic travelling in the opposite direction i.e. towards you and the injured parties.

So first of all, make sure you are safe. The last thing you want to do is add yourself to the list of casualties.

If you were the first on the scene you should call the emergency services, and if others were there before you, check that this has been done.

If you are a smoker, also make sure that you are not holding a lit cigarette, and if you are, extinguish it inside the car as there could be leaking petrol or other flammable materials around the site of the accident

The Basics

Check the victims for injuries. DO NOT move them. You can approach them, but it's best to do so by kneeling down first, leaning down from standing towards an injured and disoriented person can send them into a state of panic.

Speak to the injured parties. Say 'Hello' and tell them your name. If there is no visible response, tap them lightly and see if they respond to that.

Check the person's airway so you can make sure they are able to breathe. To do this, you put your hand lightly across their forehead and tilt their head backwards gently. Lift up their chin with 2 fingers and put your cheek in front of their mouth to see if they are breathing. You can look at their chest for movement at the same time.

What do I do if They Aren't Breathing?

If they are not breathing at all or are breathing in an unusual way, you will need to start CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. it is better to do just chest compressions than to do nothing.

You can do chest compressions that help to keep blood flowing to the brain, heart and other organs.If the heart does not start beating, continue with chest compressions until help arrives. For a choking victim who is unconscious with no heartbeat, clear the airway first. Then do chest compressions.


Look for Bleeds

Look for any bleeding injuries. Bleeding is a major cause of shock so you should stem the flow wherever possible. The Mayo Clinic health centers suggest several steps if bleeding is severe. First, if possible, have the person lie down and raise the legs. Remove dirt from the wound and press on it with a clean cloth or piece of clothing. If you cannot find anything clean, use your hand. If the person is conscious, then you should ask them to hold the cloth against their injury, this helps them to focus and can help someone who is in shock calm down. If a person is in their car and you can treat them for injuries in there, then do so. Don't move them unless you have to as there may be neck or back injuries that you can't see.



Bacteria can enter the body through even the smallest cut in the skin. So medical experts advise people to treat all wounds. Clean the cut with soap and water. Then cover the wound while it heals.


Shock can be a real problem after any accident. There is a little saying to remember 'If the face is pale, raise the tail'. This means that if someone is very pale then they have probably gone into shock. To help them, you should loosen tight clothing and put a blanket or coats over them to keep them warm then raise their legs up (even kneeling down and just resting their feet on your knees will help).

Emergency Services

Hopefully the emergency services will have been called before you started to check out the victim(s). It's always best if someone else can do this rather than the person carrying out first aid, as the emergency services will want to keep the caller on the phone to advise and take directions. When calling, you need to provide the following information:

  • Where the accident took place
  • What happened
  • How many people are injured
  • If there are any people not breathing
  • If there are bleeds
  • Any other information they ask for.


To learn more about first aid, ask a hospital or organization like a Red Cross for information. Training may be offered in your area.

If you know first aid methods, you can be calmer and more helpful in case of emergency.