In EVERY emergency situation, there is a logical order that should be followed to ensure the safety of yourself and others, as well as efficiently providing help to those in need.
1. Assess the scene of the accident:
- First, carefully assess the scene for any signs of danger. You will not be able to help anyone if you become injured yourself.
2. Make the area safe:
- Ensure that it is safe to treat the casualties at the site. For example, at the site of a road accident you will need to stop the flow of traffic.
3. Assess the situation:
- Watch for any signs of continuing danger, to yourself and others.
- Make a first assessment of the casualties – is anybody in immediate danger?
- Is there anybody else on the scene that might be able to assist you?
- Do you need to call emergency services? If so, do so immediately. If there are bystanders, ask someone specifically to do it for you.
4. Assess and assist the casualties:
- Quiet casualties should always be your first priority: Quiet casualties may be an indication that the person is unconscious, meaning they could be in the most serious condition.
- Assist casualties in order of most serious condition, using these guidelines:
- Check casualties for Response: Is the casualty conscious?
- Check casualties for Airway: Can the casualty breathe?
- Check casualties for Breathing: Is the casualty breathing normally?
- Provide first aid where applicable. In every instance where first aid is to be provided, it is important to always ask a conscious victim for permission to help them. When dealing with unconscious victims, it is presumed that they have provided their consent.
5. Further actions:
- Maintain the dignity of the victims; for example, by screening them from view
- Administer general help and support, offering reassurance and so on
- Stay on the scene until medical help arrives
References: 1. BBC (online). April 2007. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/first_aid/procedures_index/sceneofanaccident.shtml. Accessed January 15, 2009. 2. Captain Daves Survival Center (online). Order of Priority in an Emergency. Available at http://www.survival-center.com/firstaid/order.htm. Accessed January 15, 2009.