You are first on scene at an accident or medical emergency.
So, what should you do?
Hopefully you have a first aid kit, but more on that later.
1) Make sure the scene is safe. Is it safe to approach the patient? Look out for weapons, traffic, fires, unusual odors, or electrical hazards. Firefighters don't run towards a scene for a reason. Only move a patient if there is an imminent danger (usually fire).
2) Check if the patient is conscious. Yell loudly, "Hey, buddy are you ok?" while kicking their shoe, or tapping their shoulder soundly.
3) IF THEY DO NOT WAKE UP, CALL 911.
4) Are they breathing? Look, listen, and feel for breathing. Look for chest rise (open clothing as needed), and listen and feel for air moving at the mouth.
5) If they are not breathing, begin CPR. The 911 dispatcher can direct you through this process. Make sure they are on a hard, flat surface.
6) Control heavy bleeding, if present. Apply clean bandages and direct pressure.
IF the patient is CONSCIOUS, collect more information from the patient. Introduce yourself and ask if you can help. Ask them:
- What is your name?
- How old are you?
- What happened today?
- Do you have any medical conditions?
- Has your doctor prescribed any medications?
- Do you have any allergies?
Record all this information down on paper. If you have time, take a set of vital signs (pulse and breathing rate). Feel the radial pulse in the wrist, and using a watch, count the number of beats in 30 seconds. Now count the number of breaths in 30 seconds. Double these numbers to give you the rate per minute.
Try to make the patient comfortable until Fire/EMS arrives. Give the information you collected to Fire/EMS, and talk loudly enough that they can all hear. Keep the report short and concise.
"Hey, this is Bob... he's 56 years old. He suddenly started having crushing chest pain while walking 25 minutes ago. This has never happened before. He has a history of high blood pressure, and takes a medication called xxxx for that. Last set of vitals was pulse 110, respirations 24."
If the patient isn't awake when Fire/EMS arrives, you will be the only person with this information.
Take a first aid and CPR class so you know what to do in an emergency. You can contact the American Red Cross or American Heart Association for classes.
Keep a first aid kit with a few essential items around while on patrol.
Some essential items:
- Pen / Notebook
- CPR mask
- Dressings / Gauze
- Disinfectant / wipes
- Emergency foil space/camp blanket