Emergencies can occur at any given moment. Having basic know-how regarding first aid procedures can save a life, but 70 percent of Americans do not know what to do in the event of a cardiac-related emergency. How familiar are you with emergency safety procedures? The most important thing to remember is to first call 911 or have someone else call 911 while you perform safety procedures. Here are a few of the safety procedures you should know:
- How to perform CPR: CPR is used when someone stops breathing or has no heartbeat, and it can save lives when it is performed in the correct manner. Here are the steps describing how CPR is performed (although CPR for young children and infants varies slightly and those techniques are frequently taught in first-time parenting classes):
- Open the air-way, by placing the person on their back and tilting their head back slightly.
- Check for breathing by listening for up to ten seconds for any sounds of breath. If there is no breathing, then you will need to perform CPR.
- Apply chest compressions by placing your hands on the middle of the chest, one on top of the other. Apply compressions that are at least 2 inches deep and you want to try to apply at least 100 compressions per minute.
- Deliver rescue breaths by tilting the person’s head back slightly, pinching their nose shut and covering their mouth with yours, forming a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth until their chest rises. Do this two times.
- Repeat steps c and d from above until the person begins to breathe on their own or until trained medical personnel arrive to help.
- Many of us would not necessarily know what to do if we saw someone choking. Choking cuts off the brain’s supply of oxygen, making it a life-threatening situation. If someone is choking, the standard procedure to dislodge the object is to perform the Heimlich maneuver, which is a special abdominal thrust. Here are a few steps describing how to perform the Heimlich maneuver (the procedure can vary slightly for a small child or a pregnant woman):
- Stand behind the person and spread your feet so that you are well balanced.
- Wrap your arms around the person’s waist.
- Make a fist with one hand. Place your fist just a bit above the person’s navel and grab it with your other hand.
- Perform 6-10 abdominal thrusts. Press hard into the person’s stomach in an upward motion, as if you were trying to life them.
- In case someone is having a heart attack, which is obviously a life-threatening emergency, it is important to know how to recognize the signs. Here are some of the signs:
- Chest pain
- Discomfort in the shoulder, arm or neck
- Heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
If you recognize that anyone is having a heart attack, call 911, offer the person aspirin if it is available, and perform CPR if the person loses consciousness.
- Drowning is one of the most common causes of accidental death. Here are a few tips on what you should do:
- Try to reach the person from shore using a branch, oar, pool skimmer, etc.
- Throw them a flotation device
- If a boat is available, then use that to go to them, which is preferable to swimming out to a victim.
- Swim to them as a last resort and bring a flotation device with you.
These procedures cover some of the most common emergency situations and some of the most crucial steps in getting help for whomever needs it.