The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
As we close out our year of preparedness items, our final monthly topic is emergency medicine. Even without large-scale disasters, life-threatening illnesses and accidents can happen any time in any place. Just watch the Lexington Fire Department’s incident status board for an hour to see how many medical emergencies are dispatched in our community on a regular basis. Your basic first aid skills can make a real difference in the first critical minutes before professional responders arrive.
If you take a good cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class (as we discussed in last week’s post), you’ll also learn about the medical tool called the automatic external defibrillator (AED). When properly used, an AED can analyze a patient’s heart rhythm, determine if the patient is experiencing a heart attack, and deliver an electric shock to correct an irregular and life-threatening heartbeat. A Red Cross CPR class will also teach you how to use an AED safely.
Over the past couple of decades, the price of AEDs has decreased and their performance has increased. Today’s systems are usable by a layperson. While they’re still a bit expensive for the average home first aid kit, they’re within the budget of many businesses. While you’re out and about in the community, keep an eye out for a sign like the one to the right, which signals a place where an AED has been provided for emergency use by the general public.
If you want to look into obtaining an AED for your workplace, school, or place of worship, check out the American Red Cross’ resource page on AEDs.