Individuals who happen to be at the scene of an accident are being encouraged to analyse the scene make rational, safe decisions in rendering assistance.
“If you come across an accident, it is advised to stop only if it is possible to do so at a safe distance from the accident scene,” says Station Officer, Fernando James of the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS).
“Ensure that you turn your hazard lights on and put a warning triangle at a fair distance from the scene to warn other motorists and bystanders of the possible danger ahead,” James said.
He explained that this would allow them sufficient time to slow down.
“While doing this, ensure that you are safe,” James asserted.
According to the Emergency Medical Services Manager of the SLFS, an individual will not help the situation if their safety is compromised or they run the risk of injuring themselves.
James spoke of the need to observe the scene for possible hazards including fuel leaks from a vehicle which could cause a fire as well as oncoming traffic, dangerous animals, downed power lines, swift moving water or hostile bystanders.
“Make sure to stay away from these dangers as much as possible,” he advised.
“If possible and necessary, switch off the ignition of the car involved in the accident to further reduce the risk of a fire,” James stated.
He said an assessment should be made to determine whether people are injured and if they are, emergency services should be called for help.
“Ensure that the operator has your number and location as well as a brief description of the scene and the state of the victim in case you are in an area with limited signal and your call gets cut,” the SLFS official explained.
He said an injured person should only be moved if ‘absolutely necessary’, such as if they are obstructing traffic.
Explaining why, James said the victim may have spinal or neck injuries.
“Stay with the victim and keep them calm and reassured. Next, cover the victim with a coat or blanket to help with shock, shield them from the sun or rain. Ensure they are as comfortable as possible.”
He said if the victim is not breathing, only someone who is trained should attempt CPR.
“If not, rather wait for emergency services personnel to get to you,” James stated.
“It’s always good to be a Good Samaritan, but your safety comes first,” he declared.
Headline photo caption: Accident at Choiseul – March 10, 2020