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Helpful approach to motor vehicle crashes

Friday, February 23, 2018

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WITH more than 13,000 people injured annually in crashes on Jamaica's roads, we need to be prepared to respond appropriately when we inevitably encounter a crash site, says Duane Ellis, general manager at the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA).

Good Samaritans reaching the crash scene need to ensure that their actions do not worsen the situation, Ellis said. He suggests seven steps to guide you in being effective in such an emergency.

1. Approach the crash site with caution. Secondary crashes occur near other accident scenes as motorists get distracted and fail to pay attention to the road ahead.

2. If it appears that you may be able to render some assistance, park safely off the road, with your hazard lights on, to avoid causing another crash.

3. Check if there are any injured, then dial the emergency numbers, which are 119 and 110, to tell the responders that there has been a collision, as well as the number of people injured, and your location.

4. Be aware of passengers who may have been flung from the crashed vehicle, or injured pedestrians who may not be in the immediate vicinity of the site. Observe the entire site carefully.

5. Do not move an injured person unless their life is in danger. Studies locally and overseas show that crash victims may suffer additional injuries from being inappropriately moved.

6. Turn the ignition switch off of any involved vehicle, if possible.

7. It is important to find out whether crash victims need assistance. Speaking to someone who is injured, and simply holding their hand can increase their chance of survival, and you can ascertain information that will be useful to emergency services personnel.

“Remember to call for professional assistance and get directions from them before doing anything at the scene of a crash,” Ellis advised. “In giving assistance, your priority should be to do no harm through your actions.”

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