What you do during an emergency situation can greatly improve the outcome of the victim. After assessing the victim and providing initial first aid, you should call for emergency help or dial 9-1-1. Remember that the information you provide to the emergency dispatch operator is crucial in saving the life of the victim.
Guidelines for calling 9-1-1
- Stay calm and speak clearly. Do not hang up or cut the phone unless the emergency operator tells you to do so. The emergency rescue service may give instructions so listen carefully.
- Inform the emergency dispatch operator of the location of the victim, what happened, the condition of the victim, and what first aid treatments have been provided, if any. Provide details about the victim, such as name, age and number of victims, if known.
- Give an exact address or location of the emergency. If possible, provide landmarks or street directions that can help the rescue staff in finding you.
- Make sure you leave your name, telephone or mobile phone number, and address in case the emergency services need to call you back.
- Stay at the scene of emergency until help arrives
What to do while waiting for help
After calling 9-1-1, the operator alerts the nearest rescue service to respond to your call. While waiting for the emergency services, you should stay with the victim. Make sure you remember and carry out specific instructions provided by the emergency services operator. If you know basic first aid and are willing, provide appropriate first aid for the injury sustained by the victim.
Do not move the victim, unless he or she is in clear danger. Keep the victim warm and comfortable. If there are other people or bystanders, send one to the street to meet the ambulance. Set up an early warning device such as hazard light or turning on the porch light so that the rescue crew can spot you easily. Clear the route leading to the victim such as moving the furniture or plants or cars.
If the emergency occurs in your home, you can arrange for the children to stay with a neighbor or friend while you bring the victim to the hospital. Pack a small bag for yourself in case you need to stay in the hospital. Make sure that you bring the healthcare information card of the victim. If you need to leave your house and no one will be left, turn off all electrical appliances and lock up the house.
Gather information about the events leading to the accident or previous medical history. If possible, write down medications and allergy information of the victim or find medical history form of the victim.
Some helpful information you can provide the emergency responders include:
- the last time you with the victim
- diagnosed medical problems of the victim
- if unconscious, how long the victim has been unconscious
- any advance directives
The information you provide to the rescue services can help them prepare necessary emergency supplies. This way they can help the victim better.