First Aid Training May Save Your Life as Well As the Lives of Others When You’re in Danger
The primary focus of any type of first aid training, and especially EMS training, is to arm individuals with the skills and know-how to save lives. But what happens when your life becomes endangered as you’re trying to save the life of an individual who is injured or ill? Despite these possibly risky situations, individuals in critical situations still need the necessary care administered, and it’s up to you to do so safely and effectively.
Preventing dangerous situations
First and foremost, take the steps necessary to prevent putting yourself in danger when performing life-saving duties. This will help keep you and the patient safe.
First aid training 101: First assess the situation
First aid training teaches us to completely survey the scene before rushing to care for a patient.
When arriving on scene, whether it’s immediately dangerous or not, a ‘safety assessment’ must be completed to survey for any dangers. Ask yourself the following four questions:
- Is the scene safe?
- Is there additional help available?
- Is there adequate equipment?
- Is personal protective equipment necessary?
Whether you are an EMT with EMS training, a firefighter, a police officer or a bystander, it’s crucial that you take stock of what has happened around you, what is still going on and what could potentially happen to determine which resources need to be called in to assist.
For example, sometimes the most important task is to call 911 for additional help to route an emergency team to a patient as quickly as possible. However, as noted, while you’re assessing the situation, it’s critical that you keep yourself safe as well by identifying any conditions or circumstances that could present a threat.
Now assess the victim
After determining – to the best of your ability – that a scene is safe to enter, it’s time to check the responsiveness of the patient. Start by greeting the patient and assessing his or her responsiveness. For example, ask, “Hello, I’m here to help you. Are you alright?”
A patient’s response to your voice as well as the appearance of his or her eyes – are two key indicators of his or her status. Ideally, a patient will respond to your voice and be able to tell you what is wrong and/or what happened. How a patient’s eyes appear is important as well; are they open and looking around? Do they appear to see you? Are they glassed over?
Determining a patient’s status is crucial to executing next steps.
Now determine the best response – and responders
Some of the most successful resuscitations occur through the efforts of an entire emergency team and not just one individual.
If you arrive on scene without all the equipment necessary to administer the level of first aid needed, call 911 for additional trained medical help. Or if you’re an off duty EMT who sees a house fire in progress, immediately call the local fire department for assistance.
Remember that a key part of EMS training is developing the know-how to quickly identify a patient’s medical need and apply the best solution to that need, which may mean involving other emergency responders. This will keep you from taking unnecessary risks, and possibly help save your life as well as the patient’s.
Learning how to save a life
Health Ed Solutions offers a number of courses for first responders and others who require certification or want to be prepared for a medical emergency. For more information about ACLS, PALS, BLS and other courses, click here.