Emergency Preparation – Basic Need: First Aid

First Aid

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They don’t call an event a disaster if there are no injuries! Get over the sight of blood or other injuries, your life or another’s may depend upon your First Aid Skills. We could make an entire newsletter containing First Aid lessons. In this issue, we’ll touch on some basics related to emergency preparedness and include some links for further study.

Immediately after an unpredicted or forewarned disaster, there are generally two types of response. One is Panic and the other is Normalcy Bias or Negative Panic.

Using these responses people are either running around screaming and maybe bleeding or just staying right where they were when the event occurred, in a state of disbelief.  Both types of reactions are dangerous. People in panic mode can cause additional damage and injuries. People not responding can become participating victims by not responding to get away from the danger.

As difficult as it is to imagine bad things happening, we need to think about what kinds of events could happen in our homes and communities. Is your community subject to hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes? Do you know what accidents can happen and what can be done before help arrives?

What kind of accidents can happen in your home? Falls, cuts, electrical shocks, burns from explosions? Multiply that by a large number of people involved and it is easy to understand what pandemonium will be like.  Now is the time to get out the First Aid book and assemble a First Aid Kit. A few basic items can make a big difference in survival.

The proper response is to quickly evaluate personal danger and respond accordingly. Only when you know that you are okay and will not be in danger while assisting others, can you be of value. Many fatalities occur because victims received help too late or because people on the scene administering first aid didn’t know what to do. During an emergency situation, often there are more injured people than helpers, so helpers should establish the priority of victims to aid first.

When you find a victim, check for a response. Ask “Are you OK?” and whatever other actions make sense, like touching. If there is no response, send or call for help. These are the 4 B’s of First Aid:

  • Breathing – are they? Includes airway obstruction and breathing impairment
  • Bleeding – covers circulation and deadly bleeding
  • Breaks – includes all bones, including spine and skull
  • Burns – bad ones turn into blisters filled with fluid that isn’t in the blood where it belongs

 

First Aid kits for home use can be procured in a variety of stores from big box to pharmacies. When you get your purchase home, open it and review the contents. Make sure your kit includes tweezers that actually grasp, hydrocortisone cream for itching insect bites, pain relievers, gauze and tape, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, allergy medications as well as assorted sizes of bandages.

Next, before an emergency event occurs, take time to learn some basic techniques. MedicineNet.com  has online first aid essentials slide shows with photos and explanations. Local Red Cross chapters and most volunteer fire departments offer training. Community colleges also offer EMT and paramedic training. Community emergency response teams (CERTs) are in need of volunteers and will provide the necessary training to teach members how to assist in a disaster until other help arrives.

September 2013, Every Needful Thing                              Billie A. Nicholson

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