What would you do if your child started to choke? Or if you discovered a co-worker unconscious and not breathing? What would you do if you stopped at an automobile accident and found a victim bleeding severely? You'd probably send for an ambulance. But what then? What do you do while you wait for help to arrive?
When an emergency occurs, generally you will know it. You can tell by the seriousness of the situation, or by the type of injuries you see, or by the way the victim looks that it's time to call an ambulance. You should call the emergency medical services (EMS) system whenever the situation is more than you can handle. Here is a list of some instances when calling an ambulance is definitely the right thing to do:- Major bleeding
- Electric shock
- Possible heart attack
- Difficulty breathing
- Absence of breathing
- Poisoning - if poison control center advises, since 70 percent can be treated at home
- Attempted suicide
- Some seizure cases - most do not require medical attention
- Serious burns
- Imminent childbirth
When serious situations occur, do not first call your doctor, the hospital, a friend, relatives or neighbors for help. First call the EMS system (911 in most communities). Calling anyone else first will only waste time.
Over the past years, each community has developed an EMS system. Today the ambulances respond with state certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
Calling the EMS system has several advantages:
1. Many victims should not be moved except by trained personnel.
2. The EMTs who arrive with the ambulance know what to do. In addition, they are in radio contact with physicians at the hospital.
3. Care provided by EMTs at the scene and on the way to the hospital can affect the victim's chances of survival and rate of recovery.
4. Time will be saved in getting the victim to the hospital.
If the situation is not an emergency, call your doctor. However, if you are in any doubt as to whether the situation is an emergency, call the EMS system for an ambulance.- Are you interested in teaching first aid? The National Safety Council's new training program seeks interested and qualified people to become training agencies. Using state-of-the-art books, videos and slides, you could teach church groups, Scouts, schools and businesses. For more information contact the National Safety Council First Aid Institute toll-free at 1-800-621-7619, extension 7206.