Approaching a Victim of an Accident
Emergency Medical Services consider the first hour after an accident as the “Golden Hour.” The chances of survival and the outcome of the victim greatly depend on the emergency care rendered during this critical hour. Qualified medical professionals are really the ones who should handle everything, but until they arrive, a trained first aider can do so much to help the victim.
If you find yourself in an accident, the first thing you need to do is to remain calm and think! Psychological management is essential in order to respond well in a pressing situation. Any stressful situation can trigger a person’s ‘flight or fight’ response; adrenaline rush puts the person in a state of hype. Before you provide emergency care, stop first, take two deep breaths and try to stay calm.
By remaining calm, you are not only able to think better, you also give a sense of assurance to the victim. Think of it, what would people think if they find the first aider to be too excited and out of control. It would be a total chaos, with everyone running around and completely unorganized. You can only make the situation far worse. In contrast, if you approach the victim and bystanders in a calm way, you can better manage the situation. You can get bystanders who are similarly hyped to help you in the rescue. Overreacting is a big no-no when you initially approach an accident. This is one important lesson taught in first aid classes.
Immediately after an accident, a person can get into a confused, anxious and scared state. They usually do not know what happened. Approach the victim and reassure them. In a clear voice, reacquaint the victim if he is confused; inform him that he has been in an accident. Introduce yourself; tell them that you are a trained first aider, and that you have already activated emergency medical services (assuming you have already called an ambulance). Be careful of what you say around the victim. Hearing works even in an unconscious person. So, saying things like, “This guy is truly messed up!” or “I cannot contact the emergency services, the ambulance might be delayed”, can actually be heard by the victim and can only make his situation worse.
It is also important to be mindful of how you say things. Even if you are trying to give reassurance but the tone of your voice is hurried or worried, it would greatly impact the message. Just like you, the victim is very receptive to the environment. Any minor detail can be easily noticed and interpreted badly. Be sure to keep calm to reduce your panic as well as those who are present.
In first aid training, participants are exposed to different emergency scenarios that ultimately prepare them for the actual first aid situations. Participants are also given ample amount of time to practice and hone their skills. After the training, participants are hoped to be able to confidently handle emergencies.