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Road Side Assistance

The goal of any driver is to avoid crashes and injuries. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Life threatening traffic crashes are common. Every person in the in north America can expect to be in or witness traffic crash at least once every 10 years.

Many people who would otherwise die can be saved if they received immediate care from bystanders before medical help arrives. Bystander care procedures can be learned easily and carried out quickly by those with no special medical training.

In most cases, an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ambulance arrives within 10 minutes to 20 minutes. During those vital minutes, you can sustain a life.

These are 5 basic steps you need to know to help at a roadside emergency.
  • 1. Recognize the Emergency
  • 2. Decide to Help
  • 3. Contact the EMS System
  • 4. Prevent Further Injuries
  • 5. Provide Bystander Car
Recognize the Emergency
Real life emergencies don't always look like they look on TV. It is important to take action even if you are not sure a situation is an emergency. How will you recognize a roadside emergency? Here are some clues:
  • Hearing or seeing the crash occur
  • A vehicle blocking the roadway
  • Other vehicle slowing or stopping
  • One or more vehicles off the road in a ditch, field, or ravine
  • People standing by the roadside, waving or flagging for you to stop
  • Flares or reflectors on the roadway
  • Smoke coming from a vehicle
  • Broken or cracked windshield or glass on the pavement
  • Broken guardrail or fence
  • Skid marks
People standing along the side of the road may or may not need your help, even if they are trying to wave you down. Skid marks or glass on the, pavement might not be fresh. If you do not see several clues, it might be wise to proceed to the nearest phone and notify the police or highway patrol.
Decide to Help
Decide to help before you ever encounter a traffic crash. At the time of a crash, you will be ready if you:
  • Know the importance of helping a seriously injured person.
  • Feel confident you know what to do and can help even if someone else has already stopped.
  • Are willing to take the time to stop.
  • Once you know what to do, you will feel comfortable about helping a victim who may be unconscious, bleeding or badly hurt.
If you involved in a traffic crash, you must stop and provide help. If you are not immediately involved in the crash and you stop to help, your good intentions and giving proper care legally protect you in most states.
Contact the The emergency medical services (EMS)
Call or send someone to call 9 1 1 or the local emergency number as soon as possible. This is the fastest way to get medical help for the victim.
Be prepared to give this information to the operator or EMS dispatcher:
  • Your name and phone number
  • What happened
  • Exact location or address of emergency
    Note: Look for landmarks, mile markers, and the nearest intersection or exit to identify the crash scene and help guide rescuers.
  • The number of victims
Find a way to call as soon as possible.
  • Find a pay phone or roadside emergency phone.
  • Ask to use a phone at a nearby house or business.
  • Look for vehicles equipped with a cellular phone or CB radio or use your own.

Do not hang up until the dispatcher hangs up. Listen very carefully to the EMS dispatcher. He or she may be able to tell you how to care for the victim until the ambulance arrives.

Cellular phones may require special emergency numbers. Consult your operator's manual or your local cellular service representative.
Prevent further injuries to yourself and the victims

To park your vehicle safely:

  • Park well off the highway and out of active traffic lanes. Park at least 5 car lengths from the crash.
  • Turn on your vehicle's emergency hazard flashers. Commercial drivers must also put out emergency warning devices.
  • Before exiting your vehicle, watch for traffic coming from both directions.
  • Raise the hood of your car to draw more attention to the scene.
Vehicles rarely explode in real life like they do on TV. Be alert to these hazards on the scene:
  • Traffic
  • Fire
  • Electrical hazards like knocked down power lines
  • Hazardous materials like spilled chemicals or leaking fuels

Make sure everyone on the scene is safe:

  • Ask the victim to turn off his or her ignition or turn it off yourself.
  • Ask bystanders to stand well off the roadway.
  • Place flares or reflectors 250 500 feet behind vehicle to warn oncoming drivers of the crash
Never ignite flares around leaking gasoline or diesel fuel.
Provide Bystander Care

The goal of Bystander Care is to help victims survive until medical help arrives. The basic steps are easy to learn.

Begin by checking any crash victims who are not moving or not talking. These are the individuals who need your help first.

  • Tap the victim on the shoulder and ask, "Are you OK?"

If the victim dopes not answer you, the victim's airway might be blocked.

  • Without tilting the head back, lift the victim's chin.
  • Place your ear next to the victim's mouth and nose to listen and feel for breathing, and
  • Watch for the victim's chest to rise and fall.
4. If the victim is not breathing, begin EMERGENCY BREATHING
  • Pinch the victim's nose shut and blow 2 slow breaths into the victim's mouth.
  • Watch for the victim's chest to rise and fall with each breath. If the victim's chest does rise, blow 1 slow breath about every 5 seconds.

If the victim's chest does not rise,

  • Tilt victim's head back slowly and gently.
  • Blow 1 slow breath about every 5 seconds until EMS arrives.
  • If blood is spurting or flowing rapidly from a wound, apply pressure with your fingertips over the bleeding area. (See Alert below.)
  • If pressure does not seem to slow or stop bleeding, press harder over a wider area
  • Keep checking to be sure the victim is breathing and be ready to give emergency breathing if necessary.
  • Keep pressure on bleeding wounds.
  • Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink.
  • Wrap blankets and coats around the victim.
  • Touching and talking to the victim can be reassuring, even if you are not sure that the victim can hear you.
  • Do not transport victims in your car or any other bystander's vehicle.
Protect yourself against diseases carried by the blood by wearing disposable latex gloves, using several layers of cloth or gauze pad, using waterproof material such as plastic, or having the victim apply pressure with his or her own hand.
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