Injuries, especially serious ones, can be very dangerous if the people around the victim don’t react properly or in a timely manner. Heavy bleeding, for example, needs pressure applied to quell the flow. Spinal injuries, on the other hand, should be left alone until professionals arrive. You will likely encounter these or other emergencies. Educate yourself now so you can help someone in need if the situation arises.
Don’t Move the Person
Never move an injured person unless you are sure you can do so without worsening the injury. Moving the victim almost always worsens the situation, particularly in cases of sprained or broken bones. If the person is conscious, encourage him or her to stay still until EMS or other professional help arrives. Keep the injured person on his or her back or side.
Call 911 for any severe injury. If you can’t make it to the car because of a break, if bleeding won’t stop, or if you are having numbness or pain in the left side, call 911. Give the dispatcher any information he or she needs and try to remain calm; the person on the other line can help you decide whether you need an ambulance.
After a cut, remove any dirt or debris from a bleeding wound, but do not try to clean it. Place a sterile cloth or bandage over the wound and press down firmly with your palm. Binding the wound will help maintain pressure. Secure the wound with adhesive tape if available. If you have had proper training, you may provide a tourniquet. When the bleeding stops, immobilize the injured body part.
Some injuries cause difficulty breathing. If possible, clear the airway of any foreign objects. Rescue breathing or cardiopulmonary resuscitation may be necessary. If the victim is conscious but hyperventilating, have him or her lie down. Elevate the legs if possible and encourage the patient to breathe normally. Keep your voice calm to reassure the victim. When professional help arrives, let them take over rescue breathing or CPR.
What Not to Do
When helping a severely injured person, don’t try to remove any object sticking out of a wound. Do not shake or slap the person. Do not pick up a person with signs of a head injury, and do not remove a helmet if you suspect a head injury.