Emergency response cards

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Learn how to respond in an emergency when someone has been injured.


Plan an activity where you invite someone with first aid experience to teach you the basic steps in emergency response and first aid. Learn how to respond to specific emergencies that could take place in your area. Make a list of possible emergencies—such as a car accident, animal attack, severe fall, or fire—and practice emergency response and first aid for each one. Following are eight steps commonly used in emergency response that you could practice during your activity.

As part of your activity, make laminated copies of these steps to keep in your first aid kit so that you can continue to review them and be prepared to help in an emergency.

  1. Check the scene. Stay calm. Establish control and identify the emergency. Before you act, stop and look over the whole scene. Take steps to protect yourself from any diseases that could be transmitted. Ask yourself these questions: Are there dangers in the area? How many people are injured? Are there other people nearby who can assist me? How can I help others stay safe? Is it safe for me to assist?
  2. Call for help. Specifically assign someone to call for help, or send two people to get help. If you are the one reporting the emergency, be sure to give the most accurate location and directions possible and provide as much information as possible about the extent of the injuries victims may have. Wait for any questions and obey all instructions from emergency personnel. Write down any information you receive from them.
  3. Approach the site carefully. Keep your own safety in mind. In order to be able to help someone else, you must remain safe yourself. Be aware of possible dangers, and protect yourself from exposure to blood.
  4. Treat life-threatening cases first. Immediately treat the cases where someone’s life is threatened, such as when a victim has stopped breathing, has no heartbeat, is bleeding severely, has been poisoned, or is choking.
  5. Protect from further injury. Assess your surroundings. If the victim is in immediate danger, move him or her immediately. However, moving someone who has been injured can be dangerous and could increase the severity of his or her injuries. Move victims very carefully and only when necessary.
  6. Recognize signs and treat victims for shock. Check for signs of shock in the victim, including a fast pulse, mental confusion, decreased blood pressure, and fast breathing. Shock is life threatening. Every victim should be treated for shock immediately, even if you don’t recognize the signs at first. Shock treatment usually involves helping the victim lie down, treating obvious injuries, and keeping the victim warm.
  7. Treat other injuries. Check the victim for other injuries. If the he or she is mentally alert, you may ask him or her to identify parts of the body that hurt or check mobility in arms and legs. Pay as much attention to how well a victim responds as to what he or she says.
  8. Make a plan and reassess. Check the victim’s condition every 5 to 15 minutes. Watch for any changes. Contact and inform emergency personnel of any changes.

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