Emergency scene management for first aiders

Emergency scene management is a vital skill for all first aiders and first responders. So what does emergency scene management mean and how does it work?

The safety of rescuers is the first priority in any emergency situation – so care in approaching the scene is critical. Be alert to the hazards which are obvious, e.g. fire, smoke, fallen power line; hazards which are hidden, e.g. a needle under a casualty; hazards which may develop, e.g. a change in the weather, movement of a vehicle or a structure, a fire which is out of control.

It is important to confirm that emergency services have been notified. First responders may not be able to approach casualties if the hazards present a risk to their safety.

You may come across an emergency where you are the only qualified first aider at the scene. If this occurs, you will need to take a leadership role and manage the emergency site. In doing this, ensure that you:

  • stay calm

  • act sensibly and responsibly

  • are very aware of what is happening around you

  • help to make the situation better, not worse

  • ensure the safety of everyone involved

  • are resourceful

  • stay within the boundaries of your own training, qualifications and skills

  • keep control of emotions and personal views

  • concentrate on what needs to be done

  • ask other people to help and direct them in what they should do

You will need to assess the emergency site and implement the following steps:

  1. identify hazards (always be on the alert for any potential danger)
  2. assess risks
  3. identify potential causes of injuries
  4. identify likely type and severity of injuries
  5. choose the most appropriate responses and resources

Hazards/dangers that may be present include:

  • biohazards, chemicals, corrosive agents
  • fire, flammable liquids or gases, smoke or dangerous fumes
  • electricity, power lines
  • rising or fast flowing water, submersion in water
  • vehicle traffic
  • falling objects, unstable structures
  • slippery surfaces
  • sharp edges
  • explosion, bombs, bullets
  • confined spaces
  • heights
  • glass/sharps
  • people – aggressive, armed with a weapon, uncontrollable, extreme anxiety/stress

In the case of a road accident, ensure that:

  • Emergency Scene Managementthe ignition switches of all vehicles involved are turned off

  • all casualties are moved to safety when/if practical and possible

  • if there is any indication of spillage of dangerous substances (including petrol), emergency services must be notified. Try to identify the substance by smell or vehicle signage/placarding. Try to keep yourself and all bystanders upwind of any potentially hazardous vapours or other emissions or releases

  • if a vehicle is upright, try to immobilise it using the hand brake, and place blocks under the wheels. If a vehicle is on its side, do not attempt to right it. Try to make sure it will not roll over by applying blocks/ropes or other means of stabilization – if safe to do so, and if trained in these procedures

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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