First Aid (cont.)
How to Recognize an Emergency and What to Do
By definition, emergencies happen unexpectedly. They are not planned nor are
they welcomed. It is important to have a little preparation to know what to do
should a life threatening situation occur.
Calling 911: Most of the United States uses 911 as an emergency code,
but it's important that if you are using a cellphone that it is capable of
notifying the 911 dispatch center about your location. Most do, but some don't.
Some other emergency considerations are as follows:
- Injury victims: Most injury victims should not be moved unless they are in danger of
becoming more injured, for example from a burning car or submerged in a lake
or river. It is often best to keep the victim warm in the same position that
they are found in case there is potential for a spinal cord injury. A fully
intact person can be paralyzed if they are moved inappropriately. Most
broken bones are painful and need emergent care.
- Overdose victims: Whether accidental or intentional, making the victim
vomit is no longer recommended. It is important to get medical advice
because even over-the-counter medications can be lethal if too much is
injested. Intentional overdoses should always be considered a medical emergency.
- Stroke and heart attack: These two medical emergencies are very time
sensitive because both involve important organs that have lost their blood
supply. Time is of the essence in these emergencies, and chest pain and stroke symptoms
are true emergencies.
- Passing out and unconsciousness: It is not normal to be
unconscious, and while there are many easy explanations, the situation may
be life-threatening. If a person passes out or is unconscious, seem medical
care immediately. Often, a young person will drink and/or ingest drugs and
will pass out. Friends of the victim are often afraid to seek medical care
for fear of "getting in trouble." Many young lives could be saved if friends
of a person passed out from drugs or alcohol had gotten the victim medical
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