How do your first aid skills stack up?

Would you stop if you witnessed a car accident?

April 11th marks the beginning of First Aid Awareness Week. As a courier, you could be one of the first people at the scene of a car accident. You have the potential to save someone’s life.

A survey conducted by DK found that only one in ten people would be willing to perform CPR if they found an unconscious child in the street. In 2010, the Resuscitation Council UK issued guidance advising untrained bystanders that they could perform chest compressions only on cardiac arrest victims, without the additional rescue breaths. However, a casualty has the best possible chance of survival if you perform both chest compressions and rescue breaths. Familiarise yourself with the First Aid Advice section of the St John Ambulance website or download their free iPhone app. Couriers should keep a first aid manual in their vehicle at all times.

55% of deaths caused by road accidents occur in the first few minutes after a crash. Up to 85% of these deaths could be prevented if first aid was given. The following advice was medically reviewed for the BBC by the British Red Cross.

At the scene of a road accident…

  • Stop. Apply handbrake. Turn off engine.
  • Remain calm and assess the conditions. What happened, how many people and vehicles are involved, what is the exact location.
  • Stay safe – keep off the road. If you need to stop or warn approaching cars, signal to them from the pavement. Use your hazard lights.
  • Consider the safety of others. Immobilise other vehicles.
  • Look out for hazards, e.g. leaking fuel, chemicals, broken glass, shed loads.
  • Guide uninjured passengers to a safe place.
  • Assess casualties. How many are there? How severe are their injuries? Is anyone trapped? Is there a risk of fire?
  • Dial 999 (or 112 from a mobile). If there is no phone nearby, send two bystanders in opposite directions to locate one.
  • Do not use a mobile phone if there is a danger from petrol spillage or fumes.
  • Apply emergency first aid.
  • Remain calm and reassure the victims.
  • Do not allow smoking or offer food or drink to casualties, as this could hamper urgent medical treatment.


The knowledge of road safety you have developed as a courier could be very important in an emergency situation. Learn the basics of CPR too, and you could save a life.

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