Car crash. Going down on your bike. Tripping on the stairs or tub at home.
So many people are injured daily by unexpected accidents, and yet so few know how to help themselves, or how to help others.
You are out in the country, far from help, on a rural road. The day is amazing. Blood and pain are the last thing on your mind.
Then you turn a bend in the road and slam on the brakes--- a car crash, just ahead!
You leap out of your vehicle and run. You pull a door open and someone is half-conscious, sprawled across the seat, bleeding.
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--- if the car in on fire--- there may be neck or back injuries that you can't see.
First, communicate. Try 9-11, call for emergency help. Then make human connection with the injured. Say 'Hello'; tell them your name. No visible response? Touch lightly, see if they respond.
First, STOP THE BLEEDING---
Look for any bleeding injuries. Bleeding is a major cause of shock. Stop the flow wherever possible. Grab some clean cloth and press gently on the wound. If the person is conscious, ask them to help. They can hold the cloth against their injury--- this focus can help someone (who is in shock) calm down.
Second, CLEAR THE AIRWAY---
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. Look at their chest for movement at the same time.
If they are not breathing at all or are breathing in an unusual way, you will need to start CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. (WARNING: If you haven't been on a first aid training course then you SHOULD NOT do this. If anyone else on the scene is trained in CPR, assist them.)
Third, PREVENT SHOCK---
Remember: 'If the face is pale, raise the tail'.
If a victim looks very pale, they've probably gone into shock. Loosen tight clothing. Put a blanket or coats over them. Keep them warm, then raise their legs up (even kneeling down and just resting their feet on your knees will help).
Fourth, PROTECT THE WOUND---
Is there an open wound? Keep that wound area clear of debris or other means of infection. Don't touch it unless you are applying a compress to stop bleeding.
There are basic things to know, but a course in CPR and First Aid will be a great investment in your future.
Taking an emergency med course now is good insurance against loss of life, whether yours or someone else's.
But if you wait until disaster strikes, your ignorance itself can be fatal.