first response to emergency situations

First Response to Emergency Situations

Knowing the appropriate first response to emergency situations is vital when someone you know suddenly becomes ill or injured. It’s important to assess the emergency at hand, determine if you or the victim are in any danger, locate the place to call for immediate medical assistance, and respond quickly and effectively until help arrives. 

Many people believe they know the correct way to respond to the most common emergency situations, like helping someone who’s choking or having a seizure. However, most of the general first aid knowledge could be debunked. We’ll take a look at some of the myths that surrounds the appropriate first response to emergency situations.

Someone is choking 

What is the best response to someone who is choking? Are you to give them the Heimlich maneuver, hand them a glass of water to drink, or pat them lightly on the back? Your response to this situation depends on if the person is able to speak or make any sound. The Heimlich maneuver should be used when there’s a full blockage, meaning they cannot speak and/or are turning blue. 

If some air is getting through, refrain from taking action. Instead, encourage them to keep coughing because a partial blockage can be coughed up. Do not give someone who’s choking anything to drink because fluids could take up the little space of air that is left to pass through. Never perform the Heimlich on a child younger than a year old. 

first response to emergency situations

Snake Bites 

According to the Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, the chances of being bitten by a snake are 1 in every 37,500 people and only one in 50 million will die from a snake bite each year. Still, there’s a common misconception on how to handle being bitten by a snake. Many people think you should suck the poison out with your mouth, cut the wound open with a knife to let the poison drain out, or tie a tourniquet around the wound. 

The best response to handling a snake bite is to splint the wound or to place a clean bandage around it and rush the person to the ER. Tying anything around the snake bite could stop blood circulation and could lead to the loss of a wound.  Sucking and spitting the poison could cause the other person to get infected and a slight cut to the wound could damage the tendons and nerves of the area. 

You suddenly burn yourself on a hot pan or fire. 

Many people believe the first response to treating a burn wound is to coat it with ice, butter, or even mayonnaise. However, all of these solutions are wrong. The correct way to treat a burn wound is by rinsing it in cool water and applying an ointment to it. Applying any fatty substances like butter or mayo to the wound could cause further damage to skin tissue.  You should go to the ER if the burn is larger than your hand or is on a sensitive area of the body like the face. 

Handling a seizure 

Tending to someone who’s having a seizure is a very serious matter. Should you move them? Do you pry their mouth open and place something in between their teeth, or should you watch them and time the seizure? All of these things are common mistakes people make when helping someone who’s having a seizure. 

Opening their mouth or moving the person in any kind of way could cause injuries like muscle tears. The person having a seizure should only be moved if they’re near a space where they could fall and hurt themselves.  If this is the case, place them on their side and call 911. If the person is a known epileptic, only call for emergency help if the seizure lasts more than five minutes. 

Sprained Ankles 

The big debate here is whether you should use ice or heat to comfort a sprained ankle. It is best to use ice for an ankle sprain. Applying heat could increase the swelling and slow down the healing process. It is also important to keep the leg propped up. Many people don’t seek medical attention for a sprained ankle. However, if it’s too painful to place pressure on the foot, then you should see a doctor because you might be dealing with a fractured bone. 

sprained ankle

There are other myths surrounding medical emergencies that can be debunked. Like the best way to handle a child with a fever is to rub them with rubbing alcohol. The best home remedy is to instead, put them in a cool bath and give them Children’s Tylenol if they’re old enough. 

To learn more about proper management, assessment, and first response to emergency situations, watch Vibrant TV’s new show Emergency Down Under as the brave men and women of the British Emergency Forces combat crime and help people in medical emergencies in the cities and bush of Australia.