What to do until help arrives
Saving time is crucial in the case of a medical emergency or farm accident.
Kevin McNab, operations manager with Grey County EMS gave tips on what do do until help arrives, when he spoke at Grey-Bruce Farmers’ Week in January.
If you come upon an emergency, call 911 immediately. An emergency call can always be cancelled but time can make the difference between life and death and emergency workers need to act as quickly as possible. Treatments available are all based upon time frames.
If the patient is going to need care at a trauma centre, an ORNGE air ambulance will be needed to tranport the patient to hospitals in London or Toronto. It takes the air ambulance about 35 minutes to reach a site in Grey or Bruce so time is of the essence.
Know your address. If possible call from a land line. If you’re calling from a cell phone give the fire number of the property and the nearest crossroads.
Call back when you have more information available.
Before offering assistance to the victim, first make sure to protect yourself and others, McNab said. “Don’t become a patient yourself.”
Check for electrical, chemical, or ground hazards, noxious or toxic gases, fire, unstable equipment and buildings or loose animals.
Once you know it’s safe, prompt care that is provided prior to the arrival of the paramedics can mean the difference between life and death or between full or partial recovery.
• Stay calm yourself.
• Have the victim remain still and limit movement.
• Hold his or her head in neutral position.
• Control any bleeding by applying pressure.
• Stabilize fractures by holding the limb.
• Give nothing by mouth.
• If person vomits, turn the patient on their side, keeping body in neutral alignment.
• Reassure the patient, telling them that help is on the way.
If there are others present to help, send someone to the road to direct emergency services to the patient. Clear a path to the patient so emergency vehicles can get directly to the patient.
Once the professionals have arrived and taken over, those who have helped in an emergency situation may have ongoing emotional issues, McNab said. Symptoms may include:
• Crying for no apparent reason
• Difficulty making decisions
• Difficulty sleeping
• Disbelief, shock, irritability, anger, disorientation, apathy, emotional numbing, sadness and depression
• Excessive drinking or drug use
• Fear and anxiety about the future
• Feeling powerless
• Headaches and stomach problems
If you have strong feelings that won’t go away or you are troubled for more than four to six weeks, seek professional help, McNab advised.◊