Accidents happen and people get injured. It could be a car crash or any other type of accident. You may either be a witness to the accident or happen upon it, while you are passing by. Most often many people do not know how to help an accident victim(s). It is also not safe to rush to the rescue, neither is it prudent to move an injured person, lest more injury or pain is caused by the movement. So then how can you really help?
A few guidelines and steps are outlined below to help guide you on what to do, in case you ever find yourself in such a situation, where you may need to move an injured person for safety reasons.
First Step of Action
- Anytime you are in a situation where you have either witnessed an accident or happen on an injured person, the first step is to call for professional help - dialling the police (dial 100) and the ambulance (dial 108), so as to get professional help to the spot as soon as possible.
- Before you go towards the injured person / accident spot, you need to take a few precautionary steps to ensure your own safety. Scan the area and make sure it is safe for you to enter and provide assistance.
- You need to remain calm so as to be able to take informed and rational decisions, in order to help the accident victim(s).
- Talk to the injured person and explain to them what has happened.
- Tell them that they need to stay calm and not move, to prevent any further injury to themselves.
- Inform them that you will stay with them till help arrives.
- While talking and reassuring an injured person, you should stay alert to the safety of the environment and in case the situation changes, then it may be necessary for you to move yourself and the injured person (s) to a more safe area to wait until help arrives.
Possible Situations When an Injured Person Needs to be moved
- It is possible that a person may have minor injuries or may not be hurt, in which case the person may be able to move themselves.
- However, if there is immediate danger of any kind, like an unsafe accident spot, risk of explosion, fire, a collapsing structure, traffic hazard or lack of oxygen, then an injured person(s) will need to be moved.
- When a more seriously injured person is underneath another injured person with not so serious injuries, then you may have to move the less injure person to reach the seriously injure person to provide immediate care.
- In case somebody may need CPR, then it is important that they are lying on a flat surface, so in that event, an injured person has to be moved.
Moving an injured person
- When moving an injured person, avoid as far as possible, from either twisting or bending them.
- If they are lying on the ground, place your hand on the neck of their shirt or upper garment and use your forearms to cradle their head. Then pull the shirt or garment to drag them in a straight line to a spot or place where they will be safe.
- They can also be dragged by their feet, but do ensure to keep their head, neck and spine straight while dragging them. It is very important to keep the person straight and flat, in the event the injured person has neck pain or back pain. Drag the person in a straight line to a safe spot.
- If a hard long board or plank of wood is handy, then the injured person can be log rolled onto the plank or hard board and carried to a safe spot. For this type of action, a minimum of 4 to 5 people are needed to move the person. Place the board or plank on the ground. Then one person will need to hold the neck and head straight, while the other 3 people roll the injured person on to the plank of wood or hard board, on to the injured person's side. The person at the head will count to three and all the others should roll the injured person towards them at the same time, while the person at the head, turns the head to align it with the position of the rest of the body. Step two, once again the person at the head will count to three while all the others roll the body onto the person's back, and the person at the head simultaneously aligns the head to the body's position.
It is human nature to be compassionate and to offer to offer help. So after reading this article, we hope that some points will remain with you, so that if you are ever in a situation where you need to provide assistance, you will remember that it is imperative not to move an injured person unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Above all it is important for you to keep the injured person calm and still, until emergency help arrives.