Safety at the Scene: How you can stay safe

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Accidents are a drivers worst nightmare and can become even worse if those passing by aren't on alert when approaching the scene of an accident.

First responders are used to close calls involving drivers not paying attention.

They say it isn't uncommon to have more accidents following the initial crash. "It's not unusual when we are working an accident to have one or two more happen right down the road," said Tim Brickell, Director of Operations at MedicOne Ambulance service.

Brickell said people often just want to see what is happening. "People are just interested in what's going on," said Brickell, "and they get caught up in looking and then they get to close to us or the vehicle involved."

Police officers often have to deal with directing the traffic that is congested following crashes. "Somebody is trying to direct traffic and the individual is not paying attention and come by at a high rate of speed," said Sergeant George Martin with the Jonesboro Police Department's Traffic Division.

There are things you can do to help make their jobs easier while they are on scene. Martin and Brickell said doing the following things when you approach and accident seen can make everything safer and easier:

- Slow down

- Be aware of the scene and the people working the accident

- Be prepared to stop short of where the accident actually happened

- Watch for officers directing traffic and follow their instructions

Sometimes, you may be the first responder to accident and be there before officials arrive. There are also things you can do for that situation. "The first thing you should do is call dispatch," said Martin, "Give them as many details as you can." After that, you do the best you can to take care of the victims as best you can. "If it's not a life-threatening situation or anyone is not in immediate danger then you need to try to support the person, comfort them as best you can," said Brickell, "If they are injured it is best to remember not to move the patient until medical personnel arrive on the scene."

The message both men echoed when talking about what you can do to keep everyone safe was simple, SLOW DOWN. Doing this and being vigilant while driving will help keep you, the accident victims, along with first responders safe.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.