Nearly everyone will find themselves in an emergency situation at some point in their lives, either as a participant in or witness to the emergency. These situations can take on many forms, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, a pedestrian accident, a medical emergency dealing with an illness or an injury or any number of other scenarios. While most people are not trained to handle emergency situations, and certainly no one is trained in every possible scenario, the good news is that you don’t have to be in order to help yourself and those around you. There are a few key things to remember that will make any emergency easier and allow you to get professional help faster.
The first thing you need to do in any emergency, whether you have just been injured or you have just witnessed someone having a heart attack, is take a deep breath and remain calm. This can be difficult to do, but you will be of no use to anyone else, or yourself, if you are panicked and upset. Focus only on your surroundings and what is happening in the moment, don’t allow your mind to wander to every possible outcome or start making things worse than they are. It can be easy to become overwhelmed or try and do everything at once, but remember to relax and only focus on one thing at a time.
Look around you and examine the scene. If someone is ill or injured, make sure their surroundings are safe and they aren’t in further danger. If you are the one who is ill or injured, take a moment to determine how you feel. Knowing exactly what’s wrong will help you communicate that information to someone else so can receive appropriate care. If there has been a natural disaster of some sort, decide quickly what your safest option will be. For example, if there’s a fire, find a safe exit or route that will take you away from the fire. Also check to see if there is anyone nearby who may be able to help, whether it’s a first-responder, someone with a phone who can call 911 or just someone who can assist you some way.
The most important thing to do in an emergency is to call 911 as quickly as possible so that the appropriate trained professionals can be dispatched to the scene. It’s never a bad idea to have some basic training in first aid and CPR if it’s something you feel comfortable doing, but whether or not you have this training, the best thing you can do is get emergency services there quickly. They have extensive training and equipment designed specifically for those types of situations, and their presence will also take the pressure off you.
No one wants to be part of or witness an emergency, they’re highly stressful and very scary. Thankfully, with just a bit of basic knowledge, you can empower yourself and put your mind at ease knowing you have the tools to react appropriately in any emergency.