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Tips for a Stress-Free Festive Season

We all love the Festive Season – work couldn’t be further from our minds; everybody’s full of festive cheer and your favourite shops at the mall never seem to close! But the festive season does come with its share of stress, especially if you’re planning a trip away from home. Here are some essential road-safety tips to make sure that you arrive at your destination calm, relaxed and most importantly, safe!

Make sure your car is roadworthy and that it has been recently serviced

What could be worse than breaking down at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and then having to wait hours for assistance? Make sure that poor sap at the side of the road isn’t you by getting your car serviced by a reputable mechanic well in advance of your trip. This includes checking the small stuff like having a container of water in the boot and ensuring that the spare wheel is in good order.

Buckle Up!

We all know seatbelts are uncomfortable and generally just a pain, but wearing them could prevent up to half of the deaths caused by road accidents. You also need to make sure that you’re wearing them correctly – this means that both straps are snugly fitted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can take it i.e. your hips and shoulders. Just using the shoulder strap allows enough room for you to slide underneath it and be strangled and just using lap belt won’t stop your head from flying forward to hit the windscreen or seat in front of you.

Remember your manners

Just because you’re in the protective little bubble provided by your car doesn’t mean that you can behave as if you own the road! Be courteous at all times, give way to other cars and err on the side of caution, especially when overtaking. You can never predict what other road users are going to do so make sure you obey the rules of the road at all times.

Switch your headlights on

Keeping your headlights on, even on a clear sunny day, greatly increases your visibility. It helps other drivers see you and may prevent the chance of a head-on collision by as much as 25%. Having your headlights on also means that your taillights will be on, making you more visible to the drivers behind you.

Don’t use your cellphone

Unless you have a hands-free kit, talking or texting on your phone while driving is a criminal offence. And for good reason too! How often have you noticed a car driving erratically, straddling lanes and swerving all over the place only to see that the driver is talking on their phone? No matter how good you think you are at multitasking, research has shown that driving while texting or talking on the phone is more debilitating than driving under the influence of alcohol!

Take breaks

We all know about the dangers of driving drunk, drugged or ill but tired drivers are every bit as much of a risk. Driver fatigue has been linked to over 10% of long distance road accidents and is definitely not something that can just be dismissed. The following are some guidelines for taking breaks while on a long journey – never drive for more than 8 hours in a day; make sure you stop for at least 15 minutes every two hours; if you’re feeling sleepy find a safe place to stop and never stop on a blind corner and lastly, plan you journey so that breaks can be taken, allowing for an overnight stay if necessary.

Make it fun!

Spending endless hours in a confined space, especially if you have small children, is enough to send anyone round the bend.  But there are things you can do to make the time pass quickly and keep the peace at the same time – pack plenty of healthy snacks to keep everyone’s hunger at bay (this will also prevent you from having to spend excessive amounts of money at overpriced service stations); play travel games like eye-spy or seeing who can spot the most red cars; play a DVD – as long as it doesn’t distract the driver, movies are a great way to keep kids entertained for hours at a time.

We hope these tips get your well-deserved Festive Season break off to a good start and would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Maponya 911 clients; friends and their families happy holidays and a spectacular New Year!

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IMPORTANT EMERGENCY SERVICES NUMBERS FOR EVERY SOUTH AFRICAN HOUSEHOLD

IMPORTANT EMERGENCY SERVICES NUMBERS FOR EVERY SOUTH AFRICAN HOUSEHOLD

You never think about emergency services numbers until you need them. And when you do, the last thing you want is to have to frantically scramble around to find them!  To help make sure you are prepared, we have put together a list of the most important numbers you should have on hand as well as a few tips on what to do in case of an emergency.

IMPORTANT EMERGENCY SERVICES NUMBERS:

  • MAPONYA 911 24 HOUR AMBULANCE SERVICE – DIAL 0861 960 960:

This number should be used in case of a medical emergency and can be used in conjunction with both the fire and police departments, depending on whether there are casualties. Ambulance services are designed to transport you quickly and safely to the nearest medical facility and form a vital link between the time of the injury and receiving treatment from a medical practitioner.

  • NATIONWIDE EMERGENCY RESPONSE – DIAL 10111:

This number can be called from anywhere in South Africa. The call will be answered by a call centre operator who will take down all necessary details and assign the call to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle or the local police station.

  • CELL PHONES – DIAL 112:

You can dial 112 from any cell phone in South Africa. This number connects you to a central call centre where they will direct you to the closest emergency service to your location. The first point of contact will be an automated menu. Although this may seem frustrating, it is a very important step as this allows the service to accurately direct your call to the most applicable emergency service and also filters out abuse of the system.

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY:

  1. Have an Emergency Kit Ready

Every household should have a basic first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. Some items to include in the kit are latex gloves; bandages; antibiotic cream; burn cream; scissors and eye wash solution.

  1. Stay Calm

You will not be of help to anyone if you are panicking. As hard as it is, try to remain calm so that you can relate the details of your emergency to the relevant emergency services agency. These details include:

  • The nature of the emergency;
  • The exact location of the emergency, including nearby landmarks so that you can easily direct help to your location; and
  • Details of any injuries
  1. Follow Instructions
  • If the emergency operator gives you instructions try to remember them as clearly as possible and carry them out exactly as instructed. Don’t move somebody who has been injured unless they are in immediate danger; just try to keep them warm and as comfortable as possible. If there is somebody else with you, send him or her to meet the ambulance.
  1. Do not Attempt to Drive an Injured Person Yourself
  • You should never attempt to drive an injured person to the hospital yourself. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are trained professionals, equipped to assess the severity of an injury and begin administering emergency care. Also, driving through traffic with a seriously injured person in your car could be very distracting and moving some patients may make their condition worse.

Following these simple instructions and making sure you are able to call for help quickly could mean the difference between life and death for a loved one.  So save these numbers to your phone; print a copy for display in a prominent position in your house and remember, if in doubt, call for help.

 

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World Stroke Day

World Stroke Day – you could help save a life just by knowing the facts

29 October marks World Stroke Day which falls within Stroke Awareness Week from 28 October to 4 November. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, stroke is the third biggest cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in our country.

With such startling facts in mind, we wanted to highlight the signs and symptoms of a stroke as knowledge is power and knowing them could help you to save a life.

The first thing to realise is that time is critical in determining the outcome of a stroke victim. The earlier that treatment is received, the better the chance of recovery.

A stroke happens when blood vessels carrying oxygen to part of the brain become blocked or burst. As a result, that part of the brain can’t get blood or oxygen and the affected brain cells then die which may cause permanent brain damage. There are a number of different causes of a stroke with high blood pressure being the leading cause.

A stroke can happen suddenly. The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA lists the following as some of the key symptoms associated with a stroke:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg (most often on one side of the body)
  • Loss of speech or difficulty speaking
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden loss of sight
  • Sever or unusual headache
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or trouble walking

Don’t ignore the signs, if you suspect that you, or someone else is having a stroke, seek emergency medical treatment straight away by calling Maponya 911 (0861 960 960).

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HOW TO HELP SOMEONE HAVING AN ALLERGIC REACTION

Food allergies are unpredictable.  The way that your body reacts to a food allergy one time cannot be used to predict how it will react the next time.  But because of the fatal symptoms of anaphylaxis, reactions must be treated right away.

Reactions to a food allergy has different effects on different parts of the body, they can either be mild (itchy nose or hives) or severe (repetitive vomiting).

At time of writing this article, there was no other treatment for anaphylaxis other than Epinephrine.  Antihistamines may be used to relieve mild allergies symptoms, such as hives, but they cannot and should not be given as a substitute for epinephrine.  However, mild symptoms can quickly turn into life-threatening reactions and should therefore be watched closely.

If any of the following symptoms occur epinephrine should be administered and Maponya 911   (0861 960 960) should be phoned immediately:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, repetitive cough.
  • Pale complexion, faint or weak pulse, dizzy.
  • Tight or hoarse throat and trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Significant swelling of the tongue and/or lips.
  • Repetitive vomiting or severe diarrhoea.
  • Anxiety or confusion.

Antihistamines should be given, if recommend by a physician for a single, mild symptom.  If these symptoms are combined, it is best to see a doctor immediately or call Maponya 911 (0861 960 960).

Single symptoms for which antihistamines may be given are as follows:

  • Itchy or runny nose.
  • Itchy mouth.
  • Few hives or a mild itch.
  • Mild nausea or discomfort in the bowel area.
  • If these symptoms worsen, given epinephrine.

It is important to note that although epinephrine is a great drug to hold the symptoms of an allergic reaction at bay, it should be given in conjunction to with a call to Maponya 911 (0861 960 960).

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How to Deal with a Person Fainting

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Fainting happens when a person loses consciousness suddenly for a short period of time.  This happens when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily inadequate and the person’s blood pressure drops.  The causes of fainting can range from dehydration to a person suddenly standing up after sitting to a serious heart condition.

But what do you do in a situation where a person has fainted?

  1. Keep Calm

If you notice a person fainting, try to catch them or at least move any objects that might hurt them away.  Help them slowly to the ground, if you have managed to catch them.  When people faint they are unable to protect themselves as they fall.  Preventing the fall will protect them from serious injuries.

  1. Position the person on their back

Lightly tap or shake the person once they have been stabilised on the ground.   This is to see if they have regained consciousness.  The average time for people who have fainted to regain consciousness is usually between 20 – 30 seconds.

Once a person has regained consciousness, inquire about pre-existing symptoms or conditions that may have caused the fainting.  This includes symptoms such as headaches, seizure, numbness or tingling, chest pain or trouble breathing is all worrisome.  If these symptoms are listed call emergency services on 0861 960 960.

  1. Help the person rest as soon as they regain consciousness

Loosen restrictive clothing, such as a tie or collar and help the person to be comfortable.  Let the person rest for at least 15- 20 minutes.  This will provide time for the blood to return to the brain.  Make sure there is space for the person to breathe, especially if the person has fainted in a crowd.

Once the person is conscious and stable, give them something to eat if possible or water.  After they have consumed something, don’t let them get up too quickly, as this might precipitate another fainting episode.

If the person has a head injury or any other additional symptoms the person should see a doctor immediately.

Once you have established that the person does have a pulse, try and raise their feet to above their head to help blood flow back to the brain.

  1. If the person does not regain consciousness

The first thing to do in this regard is to check for a pulse and then phone emergency services on 0861 960 960 as soon as possible.

 

  1. Initiate CPR if no pulse is found

If no pulse is found initiate CPR and consider finding someone around might be a medical professional.

Perform CPR as follow:

  • Kneel next to the person.
  • Place the heel of one hand at the centre of the person’s chest.
  • Place the other hand on top of the first.
  • Be sure not to bend your elbows.
  • Use your whole upper body weight and compress on the person’s chest.
  • The chest must be compressed as you push straight down by at least 2 inches.
  • Push down on the chest at about 100 compressions each minute.
  • Continue chest compressions until EMS arrives and takes over.

 

  1. Stay calm and reassure the victim

Stay composed and in control of the situation.  This can make all the difference.

Remember to save Maponya 911 number on your phone to have handy in emergency situations.  0861 960 960

Whiplash – How do you know and what to do?

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Neck strain is often just called whiplash.  Although this is mostly associated with motor vehicle accidents, any impact or blow can cause neck strain.

The symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel hard or knotted.
  • Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward.
  • Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate towards the forehead.

The onset of whiplash is also not always immediate.  In some cases it may take hours or days before the neck starts to hurt.  There is also a chance that the blow that caused the neck strain could have caused a concussion too.  If you are confused, dizzy, nauseous or excessively sleepy contact your doctor immediately.

Whiplash should heal on its own, but to help your recovery here are a couple of possible treatments:

  • Ice your neck
    • This will reduce pain and swelling. Do this as soon as you can after the initial injury.  Doing this for 20–30 min every 3 – 4 hours for 2–3 days. To prevent your skins from injuring, wrap the ice in a towel or cloth.
  • Take painkillers
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help alleviate the pain and swelling. However, these medicines may have side effects.  Check with your doctor before taking them in conjunction with any other medication that you might be on.
  • Use a neck brace
    • Only do this if your doctor recommends this cause of action. The neck brace adds support but this should not be worn long-term as this can weaken the muscles in your neck.
  • Apply moist heat to your neck
    • Use warm, wet towels or take a warm bath – only after the initial swelling has gone down. This will alleviate pain and relax the muscles in the neck.

Always remember that you should not move a person who you suspect has a serious neck injury on the scene of an accident.  Call Maponya 911 to attend to the scene – 086 196 0960.

How to Help a Choking Victim

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A blockage in the throat that leads to choking can happen in moments and if not treated immediately and with the right care can lead to suffocation.  Around 3000 adults die each year due to a choking incident, but a situation such as this can easily be avoided if these steps are followed:

  1. Assess the situation

Ask the person if they are choking.  If the person can respond – wait – a person who is really choking will not be able to speak at all.  Look for signs such as the choking sign (both hands on throat) or fingernails and lips turning blue from lack of oxygen.

  1. Administer first-aid

Communicate to the person that you will be administrating first aid that they welcome your assistance.  If you are the only person able to help, first perform the First Aid below before calling emergency services.  If there is someone else available, call them over for assistance.

  1. Give back blows

Stand behind the person and slightly off to one side.  Support the person’s chest with one hand and lean the person forward that the object blocking the airway will exit their mouth. Administer 5 forceful blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.  This is the part between your palm and wrist.  Pause after each blow to see if the blockage has cleared.  If this did not work, continue with abdominal thrusts.

  1. Administer abdominal thrusts

This maneuverer is only to be used on adults and children older than one year.  Put your arms around the waist of the person and lean them forward.  Make a fist with your hand and place it directly above the person’s navel (belly button) but below the breastbone.  Put your other hand on top of the fist, and then thrust both hands backwards into the stomach with one hard upward movement.  After each movement, inspect if the blockage has cleared.

  1. Make sure the object is completely gone

Once the airway is clear part of the object might have remained.  If the person is able, ask them to spit and breathe without difficulty.

  1. Check to see if normal breathing has returned

Lastly, check if normal breathing has returned.  If not, call Maponya 911 Rescue immediately on 086 196 0960.

 

 

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Basic First Aid to Treat Burn Wounds – Must Have Kit and Skills for the Average Joe

With May being Burns Awareness Month in South Africa, we thought we’d use the opportunity to stress the importance of knowing how to treat burn wounds. Using a basic kit and some rudimentary skills, you can greatly assist and stabilize a burn accident victim before professional medical assistance arrives.

Firstly, a basic knowledge of the different categories of burn wounds is required. Burns are categorized as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree, depending on how many layers of skin and tissue are burned:

  • First-degree burns are more minor burns of the first layer of skin.
  • There are two types of second-degree burns. Type one is superficial partial-thickness burns that injure the first and second layers of skin while type two are deep partial-thickness burns that injure the deeper skin layers.
  • Third-degree burns (full-thickness burns) injure all the skin layers and tissue under the skin. These burns always require medical treatment.
  • Fourth-degree burns extend through the skin to injure ligaments, tendons, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and bones. These burns always require professional medical treatment.

The basic medical kit needed to treat burn wounds includes the following:

  • Hand Sanitizer and Gloves – do not treat the wound with dirty hands. Alcohol-based gel/wipes can sanitize your hands when soap and water aren’t available. Sanitize your hands, slip on a pair of latex or non-latex gloves and sanitize again after treating the wound.
  • Wipes for cleaning a wound – before you bandage, you must clean the wounds. Antiseptic wipes/sprays are handy for cleaning injuries when there’s no clean water nearby.
  • Antibiotic cream or ointment – can help protect minor wounds from infection. They keep the area moist, which will promote healing and prevent the wound from getting stuck to a bandage or gauze.
  • Gauze and tape – you can use gauze pads to apply pressure to small wounds. When used with tape, gauze can also serve as a bandage to cover and protect wounds. Adhesive bandages of different sizes can also help protect wounds.
  • Pain relievers – Aspirin, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen are popular over-the-counter pain relievers. Aspirin should not be given to anyone under age 18.
  • Creating your kit – once you’ve gathered all your first aid kit essentials, you’ll need a way to keep them clean and dry. You don’t have to buy an expensive fancy medical bag. A water resistant make-up bag or tool kit will do the job.

Some first aid tips the ‘average Joe’ can master:

  • Run cool water over the burned area, soak it in cool water (not ice water), or cover it with a clean, cold, wet towel.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
  • Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  • Use over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen for pain.
  • Do not apply butter, ice, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn.
  • If a burn appears to be severe, or you develop signs of infection, you need to call for professional medical assistance.

It is always best to be well prepared. Make sure you have your handy medical kit available to react to both minor and more serious incidents. The basic assistance that anyone can provide to a burn victim while waiting for professional medical help to arrive can be of vital importance to the treatment of serious burn wounds.

Make sure you know your basic first aid tips, have your kit available, assist the burn patient and call for professional medical assistance – there is no excuse, anyone can be of help. For any Emergency call Maponya 911 Rescue on 086 196 0960!

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Advice after a car accident

If you have ever been in an accident, you will know and understand what a stressful experience it is. To think clearly is not easy, especially if you or someone else had been injured. A million thoughts run through your head and it’s very difficult to understand what exactly just happened to you, let alone remember what the correct procedures are, which you need to follow. For this reason, we’ve put together 7 tips, which you can print out and keep in your car or save on your mobile device.  This way, if you are involved in an accident, you will know what steps to follow to ensure the best possible outcome.

  1. Stop:

You need to stop immediately. This will help you to assess the situation and decide what the next step might be. A driver who fails to stop after an accident when required to do so by law is liable to be prosecuted and, if convicted, receive a hefty fine, or sent to prison for up to nine years, or even both.

  1. Stay Calm:

We know it’s very difficult to stay calm but try your utmost best. When you stay calm, it helps you to think clearly, it subdues the situation and you remain focused on the facts and bringing comfort to your loved ones.

  1. Assess Injuries:

Assess if you or anyone else might have sustained injuries and where the injuries might be. Injuries may be internal or external. If a person is injured, provide whatever assistance that you are capable of untill emerency services arrive.

  1. Call the Authorities:

Depending on the scale of the accident, you might have to phone the Police and an Ambulance service immediately. If you do not give this information to the police or traffic officer at the scene of the accident, you must report the collision at a police station or at an authorised office of a traffic officer within 24 hours, with your driving licence. If there has been a collision involving two vehicles and nobody is injured, the drivers may decide to pay for their own repairs and to forgo a claim against each other. The police need not be called to the scene of such an accident, but it must be reported – by both drivers – at a police station within 24 hours.

  1. Take notes on the incident:
  • Pictures
  • Date, time and place the accident occurred
  • The other vehicles’ make, model and colour, registration number/s
  • Details of the owner of the other motor vehicle, if not the driver – i.e. name, address and telephone numbers (home/work/cell).
  • Name, address and telephone numbers (home/work/cell) of any witnesses.
  • Name of police or traffic officer, if present, and their police station.
  • Name/telephone number of the towing operator.
  1. Insurance

Phone your insurer, tell them about the accident and provide all the relevant information they might need.

  1. Afterwards

At the time of the accident there might be internal and/or external injuries but often we forget about the emotional injuries and scares someone might have sustained during the accident. Make an appointment with any relevant medical practitioners to receive adequate help and assistance.

An accident is a traumatic experience. Please follow the rules of the road, stay alert and remember the above tips. Save our number on your phone if you are ever in need of medical assistance 0861 960 960

tips for easter

Stay safe during Easter.

10 Safety tips for the long trip.

If you’re one of the thousands planning to hit the South African roads and highways for the Easter holiday season, this year, then you will know the dangers that may lie ahead. The World Health Organisation (WHO) regards South Africa as one of the world’s worst countries for road safety

Every year, hundreds of people tragically lose their lives on our roads during this time. Here are ten pieces of sound holiday travel advice to save you gas, save your sanity, and maybe even save your life:

 

  1. Plan:

The key to making your holiday travel or long road trip safe and relaxed is planning. As they saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Take a few extra hours and plan for your safety. This includes working out the route you are taking; the amount of time to allow getting there, this includes planning regular rest breaks. If possible, budget for a GPS.

  1. Rest:

Rest is crucial. It keeps you alert. During long trips drivers can feel tired and may be tempted to keep going to make up time, putting themselves, their passengers and other road-users at risk. If possible, share the driving responsibility.

  1. Distraction:

There might be all kinds of distractions on the road. From road works, to traffic to kids making a lot of noise and having fun in the car. Please stay alert. Have activities for the kids to keep them busy and let someone else answer the phone while you are driving.

  1. Patience:

Patience is a virtue and we need to work at it as much as possible. During the Easter season you are bound to be sharing the road with many people going on holiday. You are working and they are enjoying the scenery. Be patient. It will save your life.

  1. Weather:

Try to get a projected weather forecast for all the provinces/countries along your route. Again it comes down to a little bit of preparation before the long haul. Bad weather can stop even the best of drivers. Knowing the elements, will give you an upper hand.

  1. Speed:

Arriving a few minutes later at your destination is better than not arriving at your destination at all. Stay within the speed limit and always choose an appropriate speed for the driving conditions.

  1. Delays:

Delays are inevitable when you are on the road. Expect them and learn to love them. Delays could be caused by road constructions, congestion or simply due to the time of day you find yourself on the road. Remember to stay alert at any hijacking hot spot.

  1. Emergency kit & Number:

We tend to forget about having an emergency kit, until we actually need it. This kit could include anything from a bandage to a blanket. Emergency kits are available at leading pharmacies. Have an emergency number saved on your phone. If you don’t have an emergency number, you can save our national number 0861 960 960.

  1. Road Worthy Check :

Make sure that your truck is road worthy. Have the breaks, shocks and other minor technicalities checked. There is nothing too small when it comes to ensuring safety.

  1. Blind Spot:

Always check your blind spot. Many accidents could have been avoided & lives saved if people had only checked the blind spot regularly.

 

We hope you have a fantastic Easter season. Always remember, whether you are staying around or on the long road, we are here if you need us.