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Apr 8, 2008

Emergency medics say bystander aid may hurt more than help

Story PictureTraffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Belize. But as motorists we all have a different idea of what we should do when we happen to come upon the scene of a recent crash. While a popular first instinct is to run to the vehicle to help the victims, this afternoon Emergency Medical and Cardiac Technician Dennis Smith stressed that that kind of assistance often does more harm than good.

Dennis Smith, E.M.T. Cardiac Technician
“Best thing to do is pull aside and call the persons that’s needed there, the resources, police, fire, ambulance, just to have everybody aware of what’s happening and get there in a short space of time.”

Janelle Chanona
“That’s easy to say but if I hear a lady crying or a baby, I mean am I supposed to be, no, I can’t do anything to help you all?”

Dennis Smith
“Well remember you have to take care of number one, that’s yourself. You don’t want to be adding to the casualties that are already involved. You want to make sure that the least amount of people will be in there needing care as such. That means keeping yourself at a safe distance. If the scene is safe enough and this is basically just like somebody run into the rear end of another person, it might be safe enough just to approach but you have to know the scenes that are not safe. Like I said, high tension wires is one, leaking fuel, sparks those are other hazards that can cause harm to someone else that doesn’t need the ambulance as yet. Without the proper care, they can cause a person’s death, just one little bit of movement can cause the lifeline to be severed, that’s the spinal cord.”

Smith advises everyone to take courses in CPR and first aid.

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