Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At The Emergency Scene

Written by Neill Abayon

When faced with an everyday situation, you should follow a set routine and establish your priorities. If possible, send someone to call for medical help while you deal with the situation. Make sure that you are in no danger and make the scene safe. Then check the victims condition and carry out treatment as appropriate.

GETTING APPROPRIATE HELP - Life threatening emergencies requires medical assistance. If possible, ask a bystander to contact the emergency services by dialing 911. Useful information to have at hand includes:
* Details of what happened.
* Number of people injured.
* Type of illness or injuries.
* Whether or not person is breathing.
* The exact address with landmarks if possible.
* A contact phone number.

Do not hang up until the operator tells you to. He or she may be able to guide you through first aid procedures if you are unsure what to do.

MAKING SCENE SAFE - The cardinal rule of first aid is to ensure that you can give assistance without endangering yourself. Do not rush to the scene: Walk slowly and steadily, look around you for potential dangers, call for emergency help and advice and consider whether the danger poses a continuing risk to the injured person. If it does, assess whether you can safely move him or her. If in doubt, do not approach the scene. Keep everybody else back and call for emergency help.
Potential Dangers Include:
* At the scene of an accident - other cars, broken glass or metal, or an unsteady crash vehicle.
* Chemicals, fire, or electricity.
* Aggressive behavior in those who may be ill, hysterical, or as a result of drugs or alcohol.
* Sharp objects on the floor such as knife or syringe.

TREATING THE INJURED OR ILL - If you can give first aide safely, your priorities are to maintain an open airway and resuscitate if necessary, to treat serious bleeding and to treat for shock. If faced with several injured people, always approach the quietest first - a person who is shouting is at least able to maintain a clear airway.

Determining what may be wrong with an injured person is part of the treatment. To help you reach a provisional diagnosis you need to consider:
* What actually happened (from what you or a bystander has observed).
* The signs (what you can see, hear,touch, or smell on the victim such as pale skin, swelling, noisy breathing, or alcohol on the breath).
* The symptoms (what the injured or ill person tells you - for example, he or she feels dizzy or is in pain).

First aid by its very nature is often a highly emotional activity. It is important that after helping at the scene of the accident, you give yourself the chance to discuss what happened, what you did and how you feel with your family and friends.

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