Family Action Plan—Medical Emergency
With Planning, You Can Alleviate the Severity of a Medical Emergency
When a medical emergency strikes your household, things can go from the usual semi-hectic to complete chaos very quickly. During an emergency, the focus should be on the care of the injured person or child, and there is little time to rifle through your medical files to find phone numbers and shot records. A medical emergency may happen suddenly, without warning and can be severe enough to cause loss of life. Heart attacks, strokes, seizures, severe asthma attacks and traumatic accidents can leave victims permanently injured or worse.
Understanding what to do when a shocking event like a medical emergency occurs may not only minimize the injuries the victim suffers—but make the difference between life and death.
Here are some simple steps everyone in your family can take to make sure if a life-threatening medical emergency occurs, you’ll be able to help.
✔ Above all, stay calm. Panic is often the first instinct when an emergency occurs. Take a few breaths you need to. Ask the injured family what happened, if there is pain and any other pertinent information he or she is able to communicate.
✔ Summon for help right away—call 911 if the circumstances are critical. In emergency situations, it is the best first step to take, especially if the victim can’t communicate what’s wrong or if he or she is in grave danger. If you cannot call yourself immediately without leaving the scene and there are others nearby, stay with the victim to keep him or her calm and send someone for help to call 911 from a landline. If there are children in your household, teach them how and when to dial 9-1-1.
✔ Learn First Aid. The Red Cross, the YMCA and many other community organizations offer classes and training in basic first aid. Many kids have the benefit of learning first aid in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. By knowing first aid, you’ll know important fundamentals such as how to treat someone in shock, how to stop severe bleeding and knowing not to move a victim with a broken bone until the injury is stabilized—either with a splint or being placed on a stretcher.
✔ Know CPR. Experts now say that CPR—even poorly done—is better than no CPR at all. Many people shy away from learning CPR because mouth-to-mouth resuscitation makes them uneasy. Recently, it was determined that CPR without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is enough. What’s most important is the chest compression. If you’re a parent with a small child, or you’re responsible for a child’s safety, learn how to perform CPR on infants, toddlers and kids.
✔ Talk about emergencies with your family. Use one of your "family meetings" to discuss what should happen if someone needs to go to the hospital. This should be a calm discussion, without raising tensions or fear, but fear itself should be discussed. Children in the family should know that it's OK to be afraid and to talk about their fears. Remember that the more you discuss what may happen and how to help in an emergency situation, the less frightening it can be.
✔ Keep a First Aid kit well-stocked and in a secure accessible place in your home. Many people keep them in the kitchen within reach or a nearby closet or bathroom vanity. Routinely check the contents of your kit. Discard and replace any expired medicines. If members of the family have diabetes or other blood sugar disorders, consider keeping candies, lozenges and other quickly soluble sweets in your kit or your pantry.
✔ Create a personal medical inventory for every member of the family. This includes a brief medical history, known allergies especially to medicines, and current medical treatments. Record emergency contact numbers (doctors, clinicians and pharmacists) whose assistance might be crucial to an ambulance crew or emergency room staff. Some families are now putting these documents on a flash drive that they can keep in their first aid kit.
✔ Install a home monitoring system. In addition to alerting the fire department and police when fire alarms and smoke detectors are triggered, these systems often have a medical/police emergency button that even kids can push. Be sure it’s installed where every member of the family can reach it. Consider getting personal medical alarms for anyone in your home with an acute health condition.
✔ Post your house or apartment number prominently. Finding your address quickly can make a vital difference to emergency responders.
These guidelines should help you formulate a complete, personalized action plan that fits exactly with your family’s situation. In addition to the nine tips listed here, do some research online including sites like AmericanRedCross.org and MayoClinic.com.
*Content expressed in Home Security Source does not represent the thoughts and opinions of ADT Security Services, Inc. unless explicitly indicated.