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Six things you should do after calling an ambulance for someone

Six things you should do after calling an ambulance for someone
It's hard to prepare for a medical emergency, but when the unexpected happens, you can help make a bad situation better – especially if you’re a bystander.
 
If you are first on the scene and find someone who has collapsed or had an accident, or a loved one needs immediate care, what you do in those first minutes is critical. Most ambulances aim to get to a life-threatening emergency within minutes of the initial call. However, a lot can happen in those few minutes and your actions could mean the difference between life and death.
 
Michael Smith, MD, medical director, Carle Regional Emergency Medical Services says that the steps we take from the initial call to the crew’s arrival can have a major impact on keeping the person safe.
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“The priority is to always ensure that no one is putting themselves in a dangerous situation. The last thing we need is another person who needs emergency attention,” Dr. Smith said. “In these situations, tensions and adrenaline are running high and everyone wants to offer as much help as they can. It’s important to know the proper steps to take to make sure both you and the patient are safe.”
 
Dr. Smith offers these 6 simple steps anyone can take while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Give clear instruction on your location and details of the event
 
The dispatcher needs to know as many details as possible to ensure quick and accurate direction for the ambulance on its way to the scene. Be sure to provide an address, condition of the patient, how the events unfolded and any landmark identifiers that may help crews find you more easily.
 
Avoid panicking

It’s important to avoid panicking while awaiting medical professionals to arrive on scene. Keeping calm allows you to think clearly and make the right decisions. Be sure to follow any directions the dispatcher gives you and stay on the line until the ambulance arrives. Often, dispatchers will provide first aid assistance to those on the scene, so it’s crucial you listen carefully for any directions.
 
“It may sound cliché, but remaining level-headed is the most important thing you can do to help us treat the person in need,” Dr. Smith said. “The more chaotic the scene is upon arrival, the more uncertainty there may be about what’s going on. It can be more difficult to immediately start giving the proper care.”
 
Don’t administer any medication or give the person food or water unless instructed
 
“Sometimes our first reaction is to give someone food or water to help them feel better, or perhaps any medication we have on hand. I actually advise against this unless instructed to by the dispatcher,” Dr. Smith said.” “We want to avoid a situation in which giving the person something could actually make the situation worse or creating a choking hazard.”

Begin CPR
 
After calling 911, it's important to provide CPR to an individual who has stopped breathing or does not have a pulse. Avoid moving the individual to another room to prevent harming them until help arrives. Begin CPR by lying the individual flat on their back and opening their airway by gently lifting their chin up and using your other hand to secure the position of their forehead. If it’s possible the individual is experiencing a neck injury, avoid moving or touching the forehead. Check for responsiveness and breathing, and if no pulse is found, begin chest compressions. Repeat this cycle until the paramedics arrive. It’s important to note that many healthcare providers recommend avoiding rescue breaths before starting compressions.
 
“Research has shown that compressions-only CPR without rescue breaths is very effective through the first eight minutes of a resuscitation effort,” Dr. Smith said. “Therefore, people should feel encouraged to give CPR compressions without performing mouth to mouth. This minimizes potential disease transmission. Once trained rescuers arrive, they will have proper equipment to give safe ventilation support.”
 
Use an AED
 
“If you’re inside a building such as an office, supermarket or school, chances are there’s an automated external defibrillator (AED) nearby,” Dr. Smith said. “This is a critical lifesaving tool anyone can use meant to restart the rhythm of someone’s heart.”
 
You should use an AED when a patient is unconscious and is not breathing. The device is also ideal for those who do not have a pulse. If an AED is available, it's important to use it by following the voice and visual responses after turning it on. Attach electrode pads to the patient's bare chest and the device will then analyze the heart rhythm. If the heart is in need of a shock to restart the rhythm, press a red flashing light after the device provides instructions.
 
Clear a pathway
 
“To make it easy for the paramedics to find your location and enter the property quickly and identify your location, turn a porch light on so the address is visible. Clear off toys or personal belongings that are blocking the entrance to the front door,” Dr. Smith said. “You can also clear a pathway in the house to make it easy for the paramedics to access the victim once they are inside of the property.”

With the right steps taken as you wait for the paramedics to arrive, you can help stabilize the victim and increase their chances of survival until medical professionals are on the scene.
 
Visit Carle.org for more information.
 

Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: “Arrow, “emergency, ambulance, Ambulance”, department”, emergency, EMS

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