Five Minutes to Live: Auto Accident - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/17/03

Five Minutes to Live: Auto Accident

Traffic accidents, chances are you've been in one, caused one or have seen one. What you do in the next five minutes is vital and could mean the difference between life and death.

First, assess the situation and stay calm. "Adrenalin is running high in those situations, so take a deep breath and find out the facts." Lubbock EMS Training Chief, Debra Morris says that knowing how many people are injured and the location of the wreck is important. "A lot of times we'll get information from 30 different cell phones saying there's a wreck and no one is injured so obviously checking for injuries is good to know. We've had people call on cell phones giving the wrong address and a second person will call from the same scene giving a secondary address, so then we think we're going to two different wrecks."

Once you call 9-1-1, check on the victims again but do not remove them from the car. Morris says, "Leave the people in the car. Cars do not instantly catch on fire, explode, like they do in the movies. It's very rare." You can however, check for bleeding. Morris says, "To stop any massive gushing or spurting blood is something a bystander can do." Grab a towel or shirt and put compression on any massive bleeding.

Next, keep the patient calm. Morris says, "It's very common for a patient who's been in an accident to keep asking the same questions over and over again, so keep answering."

Let's review those steps, once again:

  • Assess the situation.
  • Check for injuries.
  • Count the number of victims in the accident.
  • Check the location of the accident.

Then, call 9-1-1 with that information.

  • Leave the victims in the car.
  • Stop any massive bleeding.
  • Keep the victims calm.
  • Wait until the ambulance or police arrive.

If you come upon an accident scene, where the ambulance has already arrived, use precaution when driving by. Morris says, "Slow down, keep your eyes on the road, instead of the accident. We've had secondary accidents occur because they're watching what's going on with the first accident instead of how they're driving."

There is a 'render aid law' that only applies to those involved with the actual accident. If you are involved with the accident and are not injured, by law you must render aid to those that are.

For NewsChannel 11's Safety Solutions, I'm Sharon Maines.

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