Would you know what to do if someone collapsed in front of you? There are many dangers in the world around us and you never can tell what is going to happen next. It’s always better to be prepared for an emergency than to hope one will never arise.
This aim of this article is to help you tackle everyday emergencies if they came your way, along with basic first-aid tips for a variety of injuries and situations. Don’t worry it’s easy.
How to wisely react in emergency situations:
The very first thing you should do in an emergency situation is to stay calm. If the situation is too severe or if someone has been badly injured, make sure you call 112 (Nigerian emergency line) or call 911 if you are in the United States or Canada. Then, while you’re waiting, see what you can do to help the person.
Check the surroundings:
Evaluate the situation. Are there things that might put you at risk of harm? Do not rush into a situation where you could end up as a victim yourself. If you do, you might just end up worse than the victim and be of no use to anyone.
If approaching the victim will endanger your life, seek professional help immediately; they have higher levels of training and know how to handle these situations. First aid becomes useless if you can’t safely perform it without hurting yourself.
Never, ever put yourself in danger! As much as this seems to lack compassion, remember that being a hero, in this case, means nothing if you come back dead.
How to carry somebody heavier than you:
Usually it’s best to leave a person who’s hurt where they are until medical help comes. You should never move a person who might have a head, neck, or spinal injury. In other cases, however, you might need to move someone to a safer location. If you’re not very strong or that person is heavier than you, here’s how to lift that person without hurting yourself in the process. This technique is called a Fireman’s Carry:
1. With the person facing you, take the person’s arm and pull it over your shoulder.
2. Kneel down or crouch down so the person’s middle is against your shoulder.
3. Thrust up with your legs and hips to stand. Don’t lean forward or you’ll hurt your back.
4. The person will now be hung over your shoulder and you can walk around.
Image credit: wikiHow
Basic first aid
Learning basic first aid techniques can help you cope with an emergency. Though you should always seek professional medical help as soon as you are able, but following correct first aid procedures, you may be able to keep a person breathing, reduce their pain or minimise the consequences of injury until better help arrives. This could mean the difference between life and death for them. Basic first aid allows you to quickly determine a person’s physical condition and the correct course of treatment.
It’s always best to take a class, so you know the proper procedures and have practiced them beforehand, but even without official training you could save a life if no one else is around with more CPR experience.
This is a very important skill to learn especially in cases of Drowning or Cardiac arrest.
I should also note that Cardiac arrest and Heart attack are not the same thing – A Cardiac arrest is when the heart ceases to pump, or beat, because of an abnormal electrical impulse within the heart itself. A heart attack is a lack of blood flow to a specific area of the heart.
A heart attack can be one cause of a cardiac arrest.
How do you perform CPR?
To ease concerns about having mouth-to-mouth contact with a stranger many prefer the ‘Hands only’ method. Check to see if they are breathing normally, if not, start compressions. Don’t worry its simple:
1. Bare the person’s chest if possible.
2. Place your hands on the lower half of the breast bone (the sternum).
3. Push to a depth of 1/3 the width of their body with both hands at a rate of at least 100 times per minute (sing “staying alive” by the Bee Gees and push to the beat).
4. Make sure you come all the way up after you compress.
It becomes more important to maintain that pressure through compressions than performing just about any other treatment when someone’s heart has stopped.
Image credit: IMHS
In the case of Cardiac arrest, CPR will not “start” the person’s heart beat again. It will only move blood around the body in an effort to sustain the functions of the body until medical help is available.
Large or severe burns should be treated by a medical professional, but Dr. Matthew Hoffman offers this advice on WebMD for steps you can take:
Immediately after a burn, run cool tap water over the skin for 10 minutes. Then, cool the skin with a moist compress. Don’t put ice, butter or anything else directly on the burned skin. Clean the skin gently with mild soap and tap water. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) for pain. Simple burns involving only the very surface of the skin do not need dressings.
Right away, gauge the severity of the bleed. If bleeding is light you may wash the wound with running water or if there is dirt or debris in the wound, try to gently clean it out with water, soap or a sterile cloth or pad. but don’t attempt to remove large or embedded objects.
If someone is bleeding heavily, they will not be able to form a clot and they could bleed out. You can stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the wound, ideally with a sterile cloth, although you can also use ripped pieces of T-shirt or anything else you have on hand and press firmly – It is essential to put pressure on the wound right away, and if the cloth you use soaks through, do not remove the pressure for any reason until medical professionals arrive.
Nose bleeds, also known as Epistaxis are very common in both children and adults and can be caused by trauma to the nose or simple irritation of the mucus membranes. Do not make a nosebleed victim raise their head or lie down, as this can actually make the bleeding worse.
Instead, sit the injured down with his head leaning forward. Ask the injured to breathe with his mouth, pinch the nostril (soft part below his nasal bone) closed for as many as ten minutes, allowing the broken vein in the nose to close and apply a cold dressing to the forehead. Loosen his/her tight clothing.
If bleeding continues after pinching the nose for 10 minutes send the injured to the hospital at once.
If the victim is unable to cough, speak, or breathe, call for help and get the person to the hospital. If you encounter a conscious, choking individual that is coughing you can follow these guidlines:
1. Encourage continued coughing.
2. If the object doesn’t dislodge, lean the victim forward and deliver 5 back blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand (not too hard that it injures the victim but firm enough to get the object out).
If the back blows didn’t get the object out, it’s time to perform the Heimlich maneuver:
1. Stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around his waist.
2. Bring your hands together, with the hand closest to the victim’s stomach made into a fist.
3. The knuckle of your thumb should be our positioned and pressed between the victim’s bellybutton and the bottom of his rib cage.
4. Simultaneously squeeze and thrust your hands inwards and upwards.
Repeat this until the food or object is expelled (5 heimlich thrusts should be enough).
There are little variations to this maneuver when performing it on a baby, someone who is pregnant or obese, animals and on yourself.
A broken bone, however common, can be treated with the following steps:
1. Immobilize the area. Make sure that the broken bone doesn’t have to move or support any other body parts.
2. Numb the pain. Often, this can be done with an ice-pack covered by a towel.
3. Make a splint. A bundle of newspapers and sturdy tape will do just the trick. A broken finger, for example, can also use another finger as a stabilizing splint.
4. Make a sling, if necessary. Tie a shirt or a pillowcase around a broken arm and then around the shoulder.
Seizures can be scary things for people who’ve never experienced them before. Luckily, helping people with seizures is relatively straightforward. Clear the surroundings to protect the person from hurting themselves.
Contact emergency medical services if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if the person is not breathing afterwards. After the episode has ended, help them to the floor and put something soft or flat under their head. Turn them onto their side to ease breathing, but do not hold the person down or try to stop their movements. Be friendly and reassuring as their consciousness returns and do not offer food or water until fully alert.
1. Do not feed or hydrate an unconscious person. This could cause choking and possible asphyxiation.
2. Do not leave the person alone. Unless you absolutely need to signal or call for help, stay with the person at all times.
3. Do not prop up an unconscious person’s head with a pillow. If the victim has trouble breathing for example, this would only make things worse.
4. Do not slap or splash with water an unconscious person’s face. These do not help in any way.
5. It is important to learn how to swim, you might need it someday.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not direct advice for your specific situation and should not be treated as such, nor should it be viewed as a replacement for proper professional first aid training. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or stop medical treatment because of information in this article.