In those critical minutes before help arrives, knowing how to keep airways clear, stop bleeding, and perform CPR following a crash can mean the difference between life and death.
The festive season is one of the most high-risk times on Australian roads. Accidents and fatalities spike across the state.
This December, the St John Ambulance NSW 'First on Scene' campaign highlights the importance of performing basic yet vital first aid in the event of an accident. You could save someone's life.
Every 41 minutes someone is either killed or seriously injured on NSW roads. In 2018, our state alone lost 354 lives on the roads, most of whom were young Australians.
Approximately 57% of deaths in car accidents happen within the first few minutes of the crash. On average, it can take up to 15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene, even longer in rural or remote areas.
Sarah Lance, CEO of St John Ambulance NSW, said: "While several road safety initiatives focus on crash prevention, none have focussed on preventing loss of life and serious injury between when an accident occurs and the arrival of emergency services."
Research shows that if the first person on the scene of an accident has first aid training and provides support to an injured person within 5-7 minutes of the accident, they can reduce the primary cause of death and overall fatality by up to 13%.
Often, it can take simple action from a bystander to help provide potentially lifesaving first aid. This can include:
- Keeping airways clear
- Controlling any external bleeding
- Providing CPR
While no other single measure can reduce the NSW annual road toll by such a significant amount, fewer than five per cent of the Australian population have first aid skills.
Ms Lance stressed: "In those critical minutes before an ambulance arrives, knowing how to keep airways clear, stop bleeding, and perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death.
"Many victims will haemorrhage following a road crash. If nobody applies pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding, even the most sophisticated or quickest emergency service in the world won't be enough to help," she adds.
St John NSW provides a wide range of first aid courses, giving you the skills, knowledge and confidence to successfully treat common injuries and possibly save a life. For more information, visit https://www.stjohnnsw.com.au/