Chapter 2- Action at an Emergency

Emergencies are:
unusual and rare.
different from one another.

a vital link between emergency medical services (EMS) and the victim.

Bystander Actions
Recognize the emergency.
Decide to help.
Call 9-1-1 if EMS is needed.
Check the victim.
Give first aid

Bystanders are less likely to offer help in public places because they:
lack knowledge.
are confused about what is an emergency.
are influenced by the characteristics of the emergency.

The quality of help provided by bystanders can be inadequate or potentially dangerous.
Poor decisions can be made.
Outdated and unproven first aid procedures may be used.

Recognize the Emergency
Physical distance
Time exposed

Deciding to Help
Appreciate the importance of bystander help.
Feel confident enough about helping.
Be willing to take the time to help.
Put the potential risks of helping in perspective.
Feel comfortable about taking charge.

Deciding Not to Help
It could be harmful.
Helping doesn’t matter.
Obstacles can prevent helping.
No other bystanders are helping

Call 9-1-1 if EMS is needed.
Wrong decisions include:
Bypassing EMS

Know When to Call 9-1-1
Is the victim’s condition life threatening?
Could the condition get worse on the way to the hospital?
Does the victim need the skills or equipment of EMS?

When Is Immediate Transport Necessary?
Chest pain lasts 2 minutes or more
Uncontrolled bleeding
Sudden or severe pain
Coughing or vomiting blood
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
Sudden dizziness, weakness, or fainting
Changes in vision
Difficulty speaking

Wounds That Need Immediate Care
Signs of shock occur
There is a cut to the eyeball.
A deep cut to the abdomen causes moderate to severe pain.

Call 9-1-1 First
Many victims should be moved only by trained personnel.
An EMS ambulance can get a victim to the hospital quicker.
EMS care can increase a victim’s chances of survival and rate of recovery.

How to Call EMS
Most communities dial 9-1-1 to receive emergency assistance.
Emergency numbers are usually listed on the inside front cover of telephone directories.

When calling EMS
Speak slowly and clearly.
Give the victim’s location.
Give the phone number you are calling from and your name.
Describe what happened.
Do not hang up until instructed to do so.

Rescuer Reactions
First aiders must stay alert and working.
Desensitization can be effective in eliminating fears and anxieties.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a feeling of emotional letdown.

Scene Size-up
In 10 seconds, look for:
cause of the injury or illness.
number of victims.

communicable disease
a disease that can spread from one person to another

Standard Precautions
Assume that all victims are infected and can spread an organism that poses a risk from transmission of infectious diseases

Wash before and after contact with a victim.
Use soap and water if possible.
Rub hands together for 15 to 20 seconds.
Wash wrists, palms, backs of hands, and fingers.
Dry completely with a clean towel.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Provides a barrier between the first aider and victim
Exam gloves

What is the most common PPE?
Exam gloves, they should always be worn

How to Remove Gloves
Partially remove the first glove by pinching at the wrist
Remove the second glove by pinching the exterior with the partially gloved hand.
Pull the second glove inside-out toward the fingertips
Grasp both gloves with your free hand, touching only the clean, interior surfaces.

Other Personal Protective Equipment
Mouth-to-barrier devices
Recommended when administering CPR
Eye protection

Cleaning Up
Wear heavier gloves than lightweight latex or vinyl.
Use absorbent barriers to soak up blood and other materials.
Clean the area using soap and water.
Discard contaminated materials properly.

Exposure to Blood or Body Fluids
Wash contaminated area with soap and water.
Report incident to supervisor.
Contact personal physician.
Seek medical care if exposure was significant.

Blood borne Diseases
are diseases carried by an infected person’s blood, such as:
Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)

Airborne Diseases
transmitted through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

To assist a dying person:
Avoid negativity.
Assure the victim you will locate and inform his or her family.
Allow some hope.
Do not volunteer information to others.
Offer simple, clear, honest information if asked.
Use a gentle tone.
Use a reassuring touch.

The grieving process

To deal with a family member:
Leave the confirmation of death to a physician.
Allow survivors to grieve.
Provide simple, honest, clear information.
Offer support and comfort.
Do not leave an individual survivor alone, but respect privacy.

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