You want to be of help during emergencies and not just be a bystander who does nothing. But do you really know what to do? The practices that you know may not be as helpful as you think. Make sure that you are not doing these during emergencies:
Treat Bleeding by Putting the Wound under a Tap
By putting a large bleeding wound under a tap, you’ll actually worsen the situation and make the wound bleed more. You’ll wash away clotting agents that are on the skin by putting it directly under running water. What to do: Put pressure on the wound with a pad to slow down or stop the flow of blood.
Treat Nosebleed by Tilting the Head Back
When you tilt the head back you’ll risk the chance of the casualty vomiting as blood will run down the back of the throat. What to do: Tilt the head forward, pinch the nostrils and breathe through the mouth.
Induce Vomiting in Someone Who has Swallowed Poison
If you ask the victim to vomit, you may bring him more pain. Some poisons burn the throat as they go down, so they will also burn as they come up. What to do: Take note of the poison’s product name and ingredients listed on the container, and call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
Treat Burns by Putting Butter or Cream on It
Putting butter can actually trap in heat and can increase the risk of infection on the affected area. What to do: Put the burnt area under cool gentle running water for a minimum 20 minutes. In the absence of water a hydrogel can be used.
Put a Stick or Spoon in the Mouth of Someone Suffering From a Seizure
Putting a stick or a spoon into the mouth of the victim will not do anything. It’s not true that a person suffering from a seizure will swallow their tongue. You should also not hold the person down and give them water or food. What to do: Ensure that there is nothing within the person’s reach that could harm them. After the seizure, if the person is lying down turn them onto their side to protect and open their airway.
Stop Someone from Choking by Slapping their Back
By slapping the victim’s back you could force the object further down. Apply the Heimlich manoeuvre. What to do: If the person is still breathing, encourage him to cough out the object or piece of food. If the victim is no longer breathing or is unconscious, apply CPR. If they are conscious give up to 5 back blows followed by up to 5 chest thrusts, repeat if needed.
Move an Injured Person to a More Comfortable Area
If you attempt to move an injured person, you may risk injuring them more. What to do: only move them if in immediate danger. Wait for paramedics to safely transport them to the nearest medical facility. If you think the victim has a broken bone, pack and support using a cushion or piece of clothing to avoid unnecessary movements.
Immediately Help Out Even if You Don’t Have Any Training
The biggest misconception of all: Anyone can do first aid. The phrase just lacks three words to make it true and that is ‘with proper training.’ If you didn’t undergo any first aid training, you didn’t get any OHS training or don’t know squat about first aid, you shouldn’t be the first to rush out to an emergency and attempt to help the victims. Even if your intentions are good, you may worsen the situation by doing things that will harm the person.
If you really want to help out, you should ask experts who are at the scene what to do. Better yet, you should enrol in a first aid training course so you’ll really know what to do during emergency situations. Anyone with proper training can do first aid.
Debra Wright blogs about a plethora of topics including first aid and other fields. Wright considers The First Aid Training Company as one of the leaders in OHS training.