Browse social media these days and, without fail, you’ll likely see a photo or video of a motorcycle accident in your feed. And in these images, it seems that many motorists and bystanders don’t care if there’s an injured rider sprawled along the road after a vehicular mishap. They walk or drive past the poor fellow, either rubbernecking or taking photos just to let the world know he’s there, but doing nothing.
Is this ignorance or just plain apathy?
If it’s just the former, Rhea Munsayac, Philippine Red Cross Road Safety Project head, thinks that ordinary Pinoys can also help an accident victim even without any knowledge of first aid. She was among those who participated in the forum on road safety held at Rizal Park Hotel. She shared with Moto Sapiens five simple but useful tips on how to help save a victim of a road tragedy:
Make sure the person is safe from oncoming vehicles and other road debris. While you’re attending to the victim, ask bystanders to control the traffic and keep vehicles away. Ask volunteers to cordon off the area to prevent kibitzers from getting near the victim and to allow the emergency team to get near without obstructions.
If there’s no need to move the victim, leave him where he is. There are times when it’s difficult to determine if there are internal injuries like broken bones, spinal dislocation, or internal bleeding, and moving the victim right away without first assessing his condition might only worsen his state.
If you deem that it’s necessary to move the victim to a safe area, don’t think twice about seeking the help of other people to transfer the victim carefully to a safer place so as not to aggravate his situation. But if you think the condition of the victim is life-threatening, immediately call for an ambulance and leave the victim alone.
If you’re moving the victim, consider these first: Make sure that you won’t obstruct his airway and that you can control the bleeding, if there’s any. In that case, apply pressure on the wound using a clean piece of cloth. If there’s a broken bone, use any splint available—a piece of wood, stiff cardboard, or a folded newspaper—so as not worsen the dislocation.
When the victim remains conscious, it’s advisable for the responder to talk to him and assure him that help is on the way. Ask for the victim’s name, address, and the contact number of his relative, so you will be able to relay these details right away to the ambulance team for proper and timely coordination with the family.
After you’ve ensured the victim is in a safe location, ask someone to call medical experts. This is when the Red Cross emergency number 143 comes in handy. Be ready to report the location of the victim, and also, give your name to the person at the command center for reference. Make sure you don’t turn off your phone in case the emergency medical technician (EMT) needs further information on your whereabouts and the present condition of the victim.
Bonus tip: Take the seminar on first aid regularly conducted by experts from the Philippine Red Cross. Remember that in emergency response, every second counts!