Chapter 15: Accidents and First Aid

15.1 Accidents

If risk factors are reduced, more accidents can be avoided.

Who? Young people between ages 19 and 25 are the group with the most accidents.

Where? More deaths occur on inter-urban roads. On urban roads there are more accidents but fewer deaths due to low speed. The safest roads are motorways and dual carriageways.

When? On vacation, weekend nights and early morning, during peak hours (rush hour to and from work).

Accidents cause great human and economic costs (material, health and administrative).

Risk factors are: Human, the vehicle, the route and its surroundings.

  • Human: Speed, psychophysical state, infractions... A pedestrian is considered as a human factor.
  • Vehicle: This is usually due to poor vehicle maintenance.
  • Route and environment: Bad weather, roadway or road signs bad maintenance.

Speed is the biggest cause of accidents, since at higher speeds, reaction and braking distance are increased and visual field is decreased.

In case of an accident:

  • Do not remove the helmet
  • Do not give water to drink (except burn victims)
  • Do not give medicine
  • Do not move the injured (if necessary it should be done as if the injured were a rigid block)
  • Do not touch wounds
  • Do not move elements of the accident, unless there is danger to the injured or for traffic
  • Do not put objects under their head
  • Do not make the injured walk
  • You have to cover the injured, whether winter or summer so they do not lose their body heat
  • Use the following order: Protect, Warn and Rescue (PWR)
  • You are required to stop and assist whenever help has not been organized.

15.2 First aid

1. It is necessary to establish an order of action:

  • Assess the level of consciousness, speak to them or pinch them

2. Assess their breathing: a) airways b) mouth, breathing c) circulation and bleeding

  • A) To open the airway, use the head tilt-chin lift manoeuvre
  • B) Check for breathing every 10 seconds
  • C) If you note that is breathing, start CPR

The normal respiratory rate of an adult at rest is between 15 and 20 breaths per minute.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): perform 30 compressions and 2 breaths until specialized help arrives.

The recovery position or lateral safety position: keeps airways open and reduces the risk of asphyxiation if vomiting occurs.

SHOCK: Rapid pulse, weak, pale, possible internal bleeding. Place them face up with their feet raised.

UNCONSCIOUS: Possible asphyxia due to the tongue falling back, vomiting or blow to the chest. Place the injured in the recovery position.

CONSCIOUS AND DIFFICULTY BREATHING: If there is lack of respiratory movement, there may be very serious brain damage. Place them in a semi-seated position.

INJURIES: Do not touch them, do not remove foreign bodies, for minor wounds uncover them and wash with water:

  • The most common: cranial-cerebral, lower limbs, upper limbs and spine
  • The most serious: cranial-cerebral, spine, lower and upper limbs

BURNS: Do not lance blisters, do not administer medicine, do not remove clothing stuck to the skin, not give water to drink (unless conscious and not vomiting), always moisten with clean gauze dressings.

BLEEDING: to stop the bleeding:

  • Apply pressure to the wound
  • Apply pressure to the arteries
  • As a last resort, apply a tourniquet

If bleeding from the ear, never cover it. Always cover and place the injured in recovery position towards the side of the ear that is bleeding (to facilitate the blood leaving)

If bleeding from the nose, do not plug it and place the injured’s head forward.

If bleeding from the mouth and unconscious, place them in recovery position.

FRACTURES: closed or open (more dangerous). If the fracture is in the spine, do not move the injured.

TRANSFERS: If an ambulance is delayed, the injured should be taken in a van, truck or the like, with gentle and moderate driving.

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