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Feb 25, 2021

Responding to Road Traffic Accidents – How You Can Help

If you encounter a road traffic accident, do you know what to do? There are some basic life-saving skills that you can perform.  It is almost always recommended that medical professionals respond to call for help.  But there are times when accident victims may not be able to reach a hospital or get help on the phone and as a passerby; you may be able to help them.  Today, a veteran emergency medical technician shared some tips that you can use in extreme cases when help is not immediate.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Sometimes professional medical help doesn’t arrive fast enough to accident scenes. This is why Emergency Medical Technician Javier Canul encourages the public to learn basic first aid skills. Canul has been responding to accidents for more than twenty-one years. As an EMT with paramedic training, he has knows the problems facing victims in remote areas or locations where people cannot get in touch with EMTs for instructions.


Javier Canul

Javier Canul, Emergency Medical Technician

“If you are on the road and in the middle of nowhere, after calling for help you want to make sure that you are safe – you must be safe because you don’t want to go in there and create problems and only if there is a potential danger for the patient that is when we will take action and the action we will take is to try to remove the patient from where they are at so that we can take care of them properly away from any danger.”


…and there is some technique involved to remove the injured person from the wreckage site.


Javier Canul

“If you are going to be pulling anybody, you don’t want to be dragging them left to right. There is a procedure called an inline position or an axis meaning that if the spine is running this way you pulled them that way and if it is running that way you want to push them directly in that long line – according to the lining of the spine that is how you want to pull the patient. If you notice when Aaron was pulling Roy he did the closed drag – held the close drag and his head was resting in the palm of his hands to continue to secure that.”


Once the injured is relocated to safe area, you should also check for sign of life.


Javier Canul

“As soon as they got to a distance you notice the patient start to bring up blood and vomit and if they keep the patient in that position the patient will die because he will swallow and aspirate and that is what kills most patient – so what he did was lateral position with a spinal injury. When it was time to move he moved the trunk here and here in one move and the protected the spine and the patient was able to bring out whatever was in the mouth and he was able to breathe properly.  If they are not breathing, you need to open the airway. So, there are two ways to open the airway which is a head tilt – chin lift which you will use if you do not suspect spinal injury. In the case of a traffic accident you will always suspect a spinal injury – so you will have to use what is called a jaw thrust maneuver so what Aaron was doing was without moving the spine he pull the chin up and that actually open the airway without moving the spine.”


Canul says you can also save a life by stopping blood loss.


Javier Canul

“Most people who are on accident scenes would bleed to death – and instead of videoing we can use our hands to stop bleeding. There is a thing called stopped the bleeding – if it is on the extremities like your hands and legs, if there is a pool of blood and continues to bleed then we have to use what is called a tourniquet.  Get a sterile dressing and that is what you will push in the wound – push it in as far as you can go. The patient will cry out and he is in pain but that will save his life.   These are called junctional areas – you can’t put a tourniquet. If it is in the trunk of the body you can’t pack anything because you if you pack you might damage and contaminate the internal organs and so you might just apply direct pressure. If it keeps bleeding you apply additional stuff – do not remove the first layer.”



Canul is co-owner of ABC Life Support which teaches first-aid and accident response. He advises that you carry a first-aid kit and learn basic first-aid response which can be used to help save a life. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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