In Case of Emergency
Henry was excited to receive the following article in the mail this week. Tony, his big brother, has some key advice on how to handle emergency situations. Always a good thing to know.
I asked Henry if he thought he would give us a refresher on baby CPR. Henry promised that he know all of that stuff. I am not so confident – not in his memory, nor in mine. I did in fact receive Baby Sitting Certification from 4-H and the American Red Cross. I told Henry this and he asked if that meant I could demand a higher rate. I never did. However I ran across my certification this morning while cleaning out all of my treasures at my parents’ house. I was certified the summer of 1987. Only 22 years ago. I think that I had guessed 23. Maybe my memory is not so bad after all.
Congrats, Tony! We are proud of you.
Your Worst Nightmares and How to Survive Them
by Brenna Fisher
Your best friend has a heart attack during dinner. Your child swallows a bottle of poisonous liquid. What do you do after calling 911? At Palm Beach Community College, Tony Armijo, lead EMT instructor, teaches students how to handle such situations. Check out his first-response tips.
Having a Heart Attack
1. If the victim is still awake, keep him/her calm. “The last thing you want to do is increase anxiety in the person experiencing a heart attack.”
2. If the victim looks like he/she might faint, lay him/her down on the floor.
3. If the victim is unconscious, quickly check the pulse and breathing.
4. If you cannot detect breathing, check the airway for obstructions such as vomit or the tongue on the back of the throat.
5. To remove vomit, roll person onto his/her side and finger sweep vomit out of the mouth.
6. To elevate the tongue off the throat, put one hand on the victim’s forehead and one hand on the chin, and tilt the head back.
7. If breathing does not resume and you cannot feel a pulse, start standard CPR chest compressions and breaths. For adults and children older than 1, the ratio is 30 compressions for every two breaths.
1. Apply direct pressure to the site of the wound.
2. If possible, elevate the wounded area above the level of the heart.
3. If it is a limb injury, you also can apply pressure to the artery supplying blood to that area. For an arm injury, apply pressure to the brachial artery on the underside of the upper arm. For a leg injury, apply pressure to the femoral artery on the front of the thigh between the leg and the groin.
4. As a last resort, apply a tourniquet. This is not recommended, however, because it will cut off all circulation to that particular part of the body and kill living tissue, which can lead to limb loss.
1. Move furniture and breakable objects away from the person having the seizure or lay him/her down in a safe area.
2. Let the patient have his/her seizure. Do not put anything in the mouth. You don’t want the victim to accidentally swallow something like a bite stick.
3. Once the seizure is over, check the patient’s airway to make sure he/she is breathing. Tilt the head back to elevate the tongue off the throat and open the airway. As the patient regains consciousness, his/her condition should improve.
1. If the victim is conscious, sit him/her up in a position that allows vomiting.
2. Stay clear of the vomit so that it does not come in contact with your face or any area where the poisonous substance can enter your body.
3. If the patient is unconscious, lay the person down and roll him/her on his/her side.
4. Check for breathing and clear any vomit out of the airway with a finger sweep.
5. Try to determine what poison or medication the victim has ingested, how long ago it was ingested and how much. This information will help the paramedics and physicians proceed with the appropriate treatment.
6. If breathing and pulse cease, turn to standard CPR compressions and breaths.
1. Don’t become a victim. If you think the electrical lines are still active, avoid the situation.
2. If the incident is inside a household, shut off the power to deactivate the electrical current.
3. The most common problem associated with high-voltage electrocution is cardiac arrest. Once the victim is safely away from the electrical current, follow the steps for a heart attack.
Reprinted from Boca Raton Magazine, March 2009
The article also includes, some of which are primarily useful for your next trip to Florida:
How to Survive an Alligator Attack by Rick Kramer, alligator trapper
How to Break a Front Chokehold by Rick Seid, self-defense instructor
How to Escape from a Sinking Car* by Lt. Mike Wise, dive team coordinator for Delray Beach Fire Rescue
What to Do in a House Fire** by Frank Correggio, public information officer for Boca Raton Fire Rescue
How to Survive if Your Dive Tank Runs Out of Air by Tom Muscatello, owner of the Boynton Beach Dive Center
How to Deal with an Aggressive Dog by Ginny Feldmann, animal control officer for the City of Delray Beach
How to Escape Killer Bees by William Sklaroff, aka “Willie the Bee Man”
How to Save a Drowning Victim by Capt. Tim Fry of Boca Raton Ocean Rescue
*my greatest fear, after a girl from my hometown drowned in her car on prom night
** my second greatest fear, due to an episode of Little House on the Prairie, where Mary goes blind and sets the house on fire by knocking over a lantern, which was also right around the time I received my first pair of glasses