Not knowing how to handle emergency situations can be very scary. It helps to always be prepared. Understanding basic first aid can help minimize and prevent serious injury. At times, it can even save a life. Knowing what to do during common medical emergencies will give you the confidence to act quickly and calmly.
How to Prepare for Common Medical Emergencies
It is very helpful to maintain an up-to-date list of emergency contact numbers. Keep this vital list posted near a landline and program the numbers into your cell phone:
- Local police
- Fire department
- Poison control
- Family doctor
Also, keep a current list of medications for you and everyone in your home. Know medication types, why they are taken, and how often. Record any allergies to medications. Keep this information in your medicine cabinet and on your person (in a wallet or purse). In an emergency, medical personnel will need to know what medications you and your household members are on to avoid negative drug interactions.
How to Handle Emergency Situations
A complete assortment of basic first aid supplies should always be readily available. A minimum of bi-annually, check the shelf life of your products to make sure they are up-to-date. A basic kit should include the following essentials:
- Pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen
- Antibiotic (anti-bacterial) ointment
- Cold packs
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Latex gloves
- Fluids for rehydrtion
- Safety pins
- Soap/cleansing wipes/disinfectant gel
If you or anyone in your family has any special requirements due to something like diabetes, a severe allergy, or a heart condition, include whatever provisions are needed to handle any possible complications.
Store a first aid kit in your car and in the home, always have one near. Remember to replenish your supplies in both kits every year.
Also, learn how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Certification courses are typically offered by The American Red Cross, local hospitals and fire departments and the American Heart Association.
What to Do in An Emergency
In the event of an emergency, first inspect the area for potential dangers, such as fire, falling objects of a gas leak. Do whatever you can, safely, to prevent any further accidents. If you are involved in an auto accident, set up flares if possible, or put down markers around the scene. You may need to move the victim out of harm’s way, to avoid oncoming traffic or fire. Otherwise, do not move an injured person. Immediately call 911, the sooner you get help, the faster the injured will receive medical assistance.
Proceed with caution so you do not harm the injured person any further. Unless the scene is unsafe, never move someone with a potential spinal injury. Inspect the person’s breathing and circulation. If there is evidence of an airway obstruction, or if the injured is not breathing, begin CPR immediately. Continue administering chest compress ions until the patient revives, or until emergency medical personnel arrives.
Knowing what to do in an emergency, and having the right supplies readily available, will help you stay calm and remain focused. If you ever start to panic, step back and take a few deep breaths. Count to 10 and return to the scene. Remind yourself you are prepared and able to handle emergency situations.