How to save a life

According to the World Health Organisation, trauma is a major cause of death and disability around the world and it is estimated that some 50% of road deaths that occur in developing countries could be prevented with effective intervention.

The first person on the scene of any accident is usually a civilian, so gaining a basic understanding of first aid can go a long way to saving another person’s life. This is especially relevant because the activities that happen within the first hour after a victim experiences trauma are the ones that will determine how well he/she will recover. This is called the “Golden Hour”.
 
Here’s how YOU can make a difference:
 
1.    Unless there is an immediate and direct threat to the victim’s life, never move someone who has been in an accident.

If the victims have experienced a substantial blow to their bodies, they must not be moved.

Only trained professionals should move someone who might have experienced a spinal injury. It doesn’t matter if the victim is able to speak, uncomfortable where they are or obstructing traffic. In particular, never remove a biker’s helmet.
 
2.    Call immediately for assistance.

Save the emergency numbers for your area to your cell phone or keep them on a piece of paper in the cubby hole of your car so that you can easily refer to them.

As a general rule, the nationwide emergency line is 10177, Cell phone users can dial 112, Netcare is 082 911 and ER24 is 084 124 from a cell phone or 0861 084 124 from a landline. These numbers should put you through to an operator who should be able to assist you in dealing with the specifics of the accident scene.
 
3.    Stop any serious bleeding.


While most medical intervention should be left to the professionals, it is important to prevent any excessive bleeding. The best way to do this is by applying pressure to the site of the wound. Remember not to move the victim in order to do so.

Read Health24's first aid guide for treating wounds and bleeding.
 
4.    Your presence is extremely important.

For someone who has been in an accident, the presence of a calm person who has the situation under control is extremely reassuring. Simply by sitting with the victim and letting them know what you have done to help them and why is enough to make them less likely to panic and worsen the situation.
 
It is a good idea for everyone to have an understanding of the basics of first aid. “It’s important for everyone to do a first aid course because you never know when an accident might happen,” says Hartley. “If you consider that it costs from around R300 for a basic course to around R700 for an accredited first aid course, this is a small price to pay for the possibility of saving a life.”

Read this for more advice on what to do IMMEDIATELY after a fender bender to cut costs, and this for how YOU can make our roads safer.

·    To find out more about first aid courses, visit www.stjohn.org.za.

·    Profmed is the largest restricted medical scheme in South Africa, serving a growing base of 26 000 graduate professionals.

·    Profmed focuses on providing premium medical cover and health management services with extensive benefits to match the professional lifestyle. The medical scheme prides itself on providing exceptional benefits while remaining committed to competitive contributions and service excellence.

·    The scheme offers unlimited hospital cover, lowest student rates and comprehensive dread disease cover.

·    Visit www.profmed.co.za, call 0800 334 733 or become a part of our Facebook community.
 
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