As a trained first aider, it may be necessary to ask the help of bystanders. The more help you get, the better. However, you have to make sure that the help you receive is well coordinated and does not add chaos to the situation.
When you respond in an emergency and you are not alone, you may ask someone to call the emergency medical services for you. Give specific instructions and provide information about the condition of the victim; for example, “Call 911. Inform them the victim has wounds and is bleeding profusely, and report back to me.” If the victim is unconscious, do not delay contacting emergency medical services. Unconsciousness may signal potential serious illness or injury. By sending someone to call for help, you can stay with victim and provide life-saving measures, especially if you have completed a first aid training course.
When instructing someone to do the call, be sure to give the EMS telephone number (usually 911) or the local emergency number in the community. Emergency telephone numbers are frequently displayed on payphones.
Here is some important information that the EMS dispatcher will most likely ask:
- The exact location of the accident, including the street name, city or town, and any landmark. Be ready to provide directions on how to get there if the place is not easy to locate.
- The name of the caller.
- The telephone number used by the caller.
- The nature of the emergency, such as motor vehicle accident, a fire, a fall, loss of consciousness, etc.
- How many victims involved.
- The condition or injuries of the victims – chest pain, bleeding, fractures, wounds, trouble breathing.
- The initial care or first aid given.
Instruct the caller not to hang up the telephone unless the dispatcher instructs him or her to do so. It is important for the dispatcher to get as much information so that the right help can be sent to the scene. In some cases, the dispatcher provides instructions on how to care for the victim while waiting for help to arrive. Tell the caller to report back after the call and to inform you of the dispatcher’s response.
If you are alone in the scene of accident, shout for help. Provide one minute of care and then get professional help immediately. Look for the nearest telephone and call EMS as quickly as possible. Get back and reassess the victim. If you know first aid, give necessary care.
If you shout for help but get no response and you are trained in providing first aid, such as controlling severe bleeding, then you may consider completing initial emergency care before leaving the victim to call for help. However, if the victim is unconscious, it is recommended that you call for help right away.
What you do during the first few minutes after an accident can have a huge impact on the outcome of the victim. It requires quick, critical thinking which is honed in first aid training courses.