It is human nature to want to assist someone who has been hurt, and those of us who do find the courage to stop and help at an accident scene that we come across need to know what to do, and in essence, what not to do.
Firstly, please make sure that it is indeed safe to stop, and then pull your vehicle over, preferably in front of the accident, and leave your hazard/warning lights on. Take a quick look around the scene and check whether there is any immediate danger that may present itself to you. Immediately call ER24 on 084 124 for an ambulance, trying to stay calm and explaining in as much detail as you can with regards to how many cars are involved, if there are any people hurt, and where exactly you are; giving a landmark or cross road is also very helpful.
If you feel the need to approach those that are injured, and they are still inside the vehicle, please only remove them if another life threatening situation arises, such as the vehicle catching alight. In most instances, our instincts are to get the patients out of the car, let them sit on the side of the road and get some fresh air, but it is so important to wait for emergency personnel to get onto the scene and assess the patients before they are moved. Due to the nature of car accidents, many of the victims experience back and neck pain, and moving them without proper equipment may result in serious injury. Rather try and convince them to stay seated and remain calm until the ambulance arrives on scene.
If the victims are however out of the vehicle and walking around on the scene, try and get them to sit or lie down where they are until Emergency Personnel arrive and can assess them further.
Medicopter Ground Support Unit
Johannesburg & Northern Region