Everyone should know basic first aid. You and your children should know how to call 9-1-1. 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.
Once you’ve called 9-1-1, here’s how to manage the scene until one of Lexington’s “buggies” arrives:
• Stay calm and keep others calm. Help is coming.
• Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 dispatcher. If the scene or your patient’s condition changes, you’ll want to get this information to the incoming responders as quickly as possible. The dispatcher also may have additional emergency instructions for you.
• Maintain control of the patient. If there’s a possibility of spinal injury or if he’s unconscious, don’t move him or let others move him unless there’s an immediate threat to safety (fire, chemical leak, snakes). Don’t give him anything to eat or drink unless instructed to by the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
• Delegate tasks to other bystanders, particularly if you’re dealing with more than one patient. Give people something to do so they can feel like they’re part of the solution.
• Have someone watch for the ambulance and guide the crew to the patient. This is especially important if you’re in a hard-to-find location, a large or complex structure, or a building with poorly-posted street numbers.