Accidents happen. Now what?
It’s ironic that we’re always so alarmed when we hear about tragic accidents and for some reason think it won’t happen to us. In reality, we don’t know what tomorrow, or even the next hour or minute holds.
We often invest time and money in the ‘obvious’ educational things like excellent schools and books, but neglect to think about first aid training.
Proper first aid training is such a great investment of time and money because you empower yourself, your children, or your students by gaining knowledge of what to do in a crisis and learning various skills on how to deal with trauma. It also allows for exposure to certain scenarios which could be greatly helpful in traumatic situations. For example:
- the time it will take for an ambulance to arrive depending on the distance
- if someone has stopped breathing, their heart can only survive without oxygen for about four minutes before irreversible brain damage is caused
- heavy loss of blood (jugular bleeding) can be life threatening
In levels 2 and 3 of first aid training, students receive very practical training on how to deal with traumatic situations and medical emergencies.
Since accidents happen all around us at the most unexpected times, the earlier one receives first aid training, the better. Generally, high schoolers can already do level 2 and 3 training because kids of this age can usually handle the emotional information to some extent.
Level 1 training or a workshop for grade 6 and 7 or illiterate people to learn basic CPR and emergency treatment is also a great idea.
Staying cool, calm, and collected in the midst of trauma
To stay cool, calm, and collected during an emergency, and to keep family and loved ones who are dealing with the trauma of the event at ease, is a great challenge and an important skill to be mastered.
With first aid background and practical experience you can, in fact, do a lot for someone who’s been hurt or injured.
What to do:
- Remind yourself throughout that what happened can’t be reversed / the situation can’t be changed.
- Don’t focus on the broken bone or the horrifying wound. You need to avoid adopting a ‘tunnel vision’ and instead focus on the patient as a whole – that is, a ‘helicopter vision’.
- What some first aiders find helpful while doing CPR on a victim is to tell themselves that the victim isn’t alive anymore, which means you can’t kill him/her and it doesn’t depend on you whether the CPR is going to be successful or not. At least you are feeding oxygen to their brain, if nothing else.
- If the emergency happened at a remote location like on a farm, for example, it is wise to call an ambulance immediately. If they will only arrive after 15 or 20 minutes, and a person’s heart stopped beating, you should start CPR immediately and not wait. If, there is however a neck or back injury, speak calmly to the person and wait for an ambulance to arrive to avoid any permanent damage to the victim.
- If the emergency has to do with excessive bleeding, it’s also wise to help them into a car immediately instead of waiting for an ambulance. That is if there is enough space for the patient to lie down and for a first aider to sit next to them to talk them through the shock/trauma.
- For wounds caused by violence (e.g. shooting or knife) the aim of the primary survey is to find out if the casualty is still alive.
- Check for dangers to yourself and the casualty.
- If you can remove any hazards safely, do so.
- If you cannot remove the danger, move the casualty if possible.
- Check responsiveness by tapping the casualty’s shoulders.
- Ask a question like “Are you alright?”
- Give a command like “Open your eyes”.
- Check/scan for any movement of the chest.
- Responsive casualty – introduce yourself as a First-Aider and offer help. Keep talking to them and keep them calm and awake.
- If the casualty is not responding, but breathing adequately, call for help immediately.
- Call the emergency medical services. If there is somebody with you send for help immediately.
Make sure you equip yourself and those in your household for the event of a traumatic accident. It pays to know how to stay calm in these situations and responding in the most appropriate way through proper first aid.
Dynamikos empowers people with the knowledge and tools to act in a life-threatening situation. Since April 2005, DYNAMIKOS TRAINING NETWORK CC has provided training to educational institutions and clients across the Cape Metropole and surrounding regions.
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