Disasters and traffic accidents
Every year the number of vehicles is increasing and consequently the number of accidents involving them is increasing likewise. At the same time, the state of infrastructure is deteriorating, which often leads to disasters: destruction of roads, viaducts, tunnels, bridges, collapsing buildings. Harsh weather conditions such as fog, hurricanes, avalanches, extreme cold or extreme heat, heavy rainfall or snowstorms are among the main causes of accidents.
Disasters and accidents are often resulting from human mistakes – fatigue, boldness, lack of skills or qualifications, driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, using vehicles that aren’t technically efficient. Disasters and traffic accidents may also be caused by deliberate action conducted by armed forces or terrorist groups. If vehicles, vessels or aircrafts that transport toxic substances are involved in an incident and they fall or hit residential buildings or public infrastructure, then associated risks may occur.
The obligation to provide first aid is not only due to humanitarian reasons, but also due to the applicable legislation (Article 162 of the CC).
You are the help until rescuer arrives.
Before you start a long car journey:
• Test a car technically, by yourself or in a workshop
• Equip your car with necessary accessories
• Carry your emergency backpack in the trunk
• Refuel a car when there’s still half of the fuel left
• Take care of yourself, take regular breaks, have some water and food
• At the beginning, take care of yourself
• Turn on emergency lights in your own car, park in front of the scene, so that nobody invades the injured person lying on the road and you can act safely
• At night, wear a reflective vest or attach a reflective element, use a flashlight
• Mark the scene of a car accident with two reflective safety triangles, flags or other clear signs
• Call for help by calling 112 – answer precisely questions and never hang up first
• If you don’t have a mobile phone, you should give a card asking for help to a driver driving through, it’s a legal obligation to accept the card
• The engines of damaged vehicles should be switched off, if possible – disconnect the batteries, apply the handbrake or leave the car in gear. If necessary, lock the wheels
• Consider all hazards. Does anyone smoke a cigarette? Are there vehicles in the immediate vicinity with markings indicating a dangerous load (orange ADR information boards)? Has the overhead power line been broken? Is there a fuel spill in the vicinity?
• Quickly assess the condition of the victims. Pull them out of the car only if:
o There is a danger of ignition of the vehicle (gas explosion)
o There is a danger of the so-called “secondary accident” – a collision between a damaged vehicle and another one
o The victim needs a resuscitation
• Take care of those, whose life is at risk firstly. Search or instruct someone to search the area around the scene of the accident not to leave victims thrown somewhere else or people who have gone away in a state of accident shock
• Immediately, if necessary, proceed with a resuscitation and treatment for life-threatening or dangerous-looking injuries. If possible, take care of victims without changing their position, as you may not have a specialist injury protection equipment (e.g. spine) and might cause new or worse injuries. The exception is, for example, the need for CPR
• Firstly, assume if there’s a damage to the cervical section of the spine. Hold the victim’s head and neck with your hands so that they can breathe freely (if you have an orthopedic collar, put it on). Try to keep an eye on all victims until professional help arrives
• The task of the dispatcher of the Emergency Notification Centre is not only accepting your call, but above all supporting and directing your actions. If something alarming happens, contact the dispatcher immediately at 112 number
• When the rescue services arrive, follow their instructions
• Be of help and not an obstacle to the specialist emergency services. Don’t interfere with their authority
• If you see a motorway jamming, don’t wait until you hear signals of the emergency services approaching – create a life-saving corridor
• Stay in the car, take care of your own and your passengers safety
• Remember that it may take many hours to make the road passable – save fuel
• If necessary, use emergency backpack resources such as NRC film, water and food