Kayla Shepherd30 Aug 2019

Emergencies in the real world !!

The Importance of First Aid

We all know how important being trained in vital lifesaving skills and basic First Aid are, but have you ever had to put your knowledge and skills into practice?

What would you do if faced with an emergency situation? Would adrenaline kick in and you’d know what to do in an instant or would you freeze?

What if you have no choice and you are the only person who can control and take the necessary action in an emergency?

This is exactly what happened to me recently; I was involved in a road traffic collision (RTC) and was the first person on the scene with any First Aid training until the paramedics arrived. Naturally my knowledge kicked in and I was quick to act and take control of the situation.

Emergency situations like this are highly charged and many people will instantly panic and struggle to remember any First Aid they may know, and so if you are a First Aider in these situations it is essential that you take control of the situation until emergency services arrive.

In this instance, other members of the public who were present at the time of the collision were all clearly in such a state of panic that this clouded their common sense and knowledge of basic First Aid; the casualty was conscious on the floor at the time but nobody was talking to them in order to try and locate the damaged areas, how the patient was and any other vital information.

If this incident taught me anything, it is that we must re-iterate to everyone who learns/knows First Aid that they have a duty to remain calm and take control in these emergency situations otherwise this could potentially put  the safety of the patient at further risk  and actually cause further damage to their injuries, which could be catastrophic.

If you feel like you are not as confident as you would like to be in an emergency situation, despite being First Aid trained, please contact me to discuss my refresher courses.

Detailed account of the incident mentioned above:

A couple of weeks ago, I was coming home from the school pick up and seconds in front of me a motor bike collided with a car, I didn’t witness it but quickly put all the pieces together. 

Cars in front of me were moving to the sides of the road which was strange to me, once they had moved I could see a motor bike on its side and the rider was laying on their side at the edge of the road, the rider was completely still. 

I parked my car safely on the side of the road so not to block the road especially for ambulance access, I safely crossed the road with my emergency First Aid bag. I could instantly see a woman close by was calling for an ambulance, so that was in hand. On approaching the rider, they started to move slightly and was obvious in quite a bit of pain. 

At this point no one was trying to engage with the casualty so that was my first port of call, I got on my hands and knees, introduced myself and started to ask questions to build a picture of what happened, find out where they were in pain and to just try and comfort the casualty. In a matter of seconds, I knew the casualties name, what potential injuries they might potentially have, how the accident happened, if they were in any medication and that they were on their way home from work. 

The casualty was wearing leather gloves and a leather jacket but wasn’t wearing leather trousers or boots. If the casualty had been wearing leather trousers and suitable boots their injuries may not have been so bad. 

Once I assessed the casualty, I went over to the other people involved in the accident and again gained as much information I could, checking as well for injuries and checking they were not in shock, all was ok. 

At that point the ambulance arrived, and I handed over all the information I had to the attending paramedic. I explained to the casualty that I was leaving them in the capable hands of the paramedics, and I left the scene as I had not witnessed the accident. 

Points to think about: 

>Don’t forget about the casualty, they are a human being and if responsive they can help you make an injury assessment and calm communication can give comfort. 

>when riding a motorbike always wear appropriate protective clothing (in this case the casualty had severe road rash because they didn’t)

>your safety!! This incident was in a very busy road and where I parked my car on the side of the road, and I crossed to road to get to the casualty was my initial priority. 

> Debrief- if you ever deal with an Emergency incident/ accident it is important you talk over what happened and how you dealt with it to someone.