Any person having to call 911 for assistance is technically the first responder. As such, you must be sure to stay calm and communicate with others to gain trust and reduce anxiety. You should be able to give clear and concise medical information to the 911 operator so that they will be able to relay these facts to the ambulance en route. Training and preparation can be the difference between life and death. Knowing what to do while waiting for emergency services and what to expect when they arrive will help you save a life.
Assess the Situation
Look, listen, and feel your patient for a quick assessment of the situation. Look for any immediate dangers that may affect the patient. Threats could include breathing difficulty, bleeding, or any other injury that may be visible. Listen for breathing sounds such as rattling, wheezing, or gurgling. If you are unsure if the person is breathing, place your cheek by their mouth and feel for an exhale of breath. You must report any information gathered to the 911 operator.
The Information They’ll Need
Paramedics are trained to get all possible medical information while on location. Unfortunately, even nurses experience burnout that might cause them to miss things that you see at the scene. That is why you must be able to supply any records that may be able to assist in helping the patient. Information about current medications, prior health problems, and family doctors will be vital. You will also want to share any history of drug or alcohol abuse. Paramedics need to know the patient’s hospital of choice, medical power of attorney information, and whether the person has a DNR.
Easy Access to the Patient
Many mobile phones have a GPS location, but this does not mean it will be able to pinpoint your location. Mobile phones are also not linked to a fixed location or address, making it imperative that you give the address and description of the area to the 911 operator. Be sure any doors are unlocked and move any clutter that may be in the way of emergency equipment. The ease of access to the patient will make issuing treatment quicker.
Being prepared in an emergency may seem like common knowledge, but it is not always easy to stay calm. Knowing what is expected of you while you wait and what will happen when help arrives will make your job easier. Remember that staying calm and communicating well is the best way to help save a life.
If you want to be proactive when it comes to dealing with emergencies, then consider training in CPR, AED, and Basic First Aid!