#16 What to do in an Emergency

The goals of first aid are to help the injured or sick person recover; prevent the injury or illness getting worse; provide reassurance; organize help; make the person as comfortable as possible. For minor injuries, first aid may be all that is needed. More serious injuries may need medical attention & further treatment. Sometimes first aid is needed to deal with life-threatening injuries that may even involve resuscitating someone whose breathing has stopped. Correct & rapid assessment of what should be done is therefore crucial & often a matter of common sense applied under very difficult circumstances.


If you have to deal with a life-threatening emergency & you have other able bodied individuals around, send them to get help or have them phone for help immediately. If you are on your own & properly trained, follow these steps before arranging for professional help:


  • Breathing- if choking, clear airway. If breathing has stopped, death can result within 6 mins., carry out resuscitation. If breathing has stopped, there is no rise and fall movement of the chest or abdomen, the face becomes a bluish gray color and there is no exhaled breath. Continue to give artificial respiration about 14-16 times per minute. If breathing is still absent, check heartbeat, if heartbeat has stopped, do CPR if you have been trained to do it.
  • Control severe bleeding. Deal with severe burns & guard against shock. Drowning: speed in starting artificial respiration is essential. Electric Shock: turn off current or safely separate the victim from the source of the current (with a dry, non-conducting object). Heatstroke: move the victim to the coolest place possible & wrap them in a cold wet sheet. Snakebites: attempt to describe the snake’s appearance; there are 4 major kinds of poisonous snakes in North America: rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth & coral snake. Poisoning: try to contact a Poison Control Center & for exposure to chemicals, try to locate the applicable Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help the physician.
  • Call your supervisor and Courage Safety (949-498-2688) as soon as possible to report an injury or accident.


The procedures described above are all for life threatening situations, they need medical help immediately. You should be prepared & appropriately trained in CPR & First Aid. Emergency telephone numbers should always be available & nearby.