How to Recognize Emergencies

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Recognizing an emergency is the first step in responding. An emergency is a situation requiring immediate action. A medical emergency is a sudden illness such as heart attack, which requires immediate medical attention. An injury is a damage to the body, such as broken arm, which results from a violent force. Some injuries can be serious enough to be considered emergencies.
The victim of an emergency can be anyone- a friend, family member, a stranger, or you. An emergency can happen anywhere- on the road, at home, work, or play. Recognizing an emergency may be difficult at times. You may become aware of an emergency because of certain things you observe such as unusual noises, sights, smells, symptoms and signs, or behavior.


Noises are often the first thing you may call your attention to an emergency. Some noises that may indicate emergency are:

1. Noises that indicate someone is in distress, such as screaming, yelling, moaning, crying, and calling for help.
2. Alarming identifiable noises, such as breaking glass, crashing metal or screeching tires.
3. Abrupt or loud noises that aren't identifiable such as collapsing structures or falling ladders.


Unusual sights that indicate a possible emergency can go unnoticed by the unaware observer. Some examples of sights that may signal emergencies are:

1. A stalled vehicle.
2. An overturned saucepan on the kitchen floor.
3. A spilled medicine container.
4. A fallen chair.


Many smells are part of our everyday lives, for example, petrol fumes at petrol stations, the smell of chlorine at swimming pools or smoke from a fire. However, when a smell is stronger than usual, is not easily identifiable or otherwise seems odd, it may indicate an emergency. You should always put your own safety first if you are in a situation in which there is unusual or very strong smell as many fumes are poisonous.


It may be difficult to tell if someone's appearance or behavior is unusual, particularly when the person is a stranger. However, certain symptoms and signs or behaviors could indicate an emergency. For example, if you see someone collapse to the floor, that person obviously requires your immediate attention. However, you will not know if first aid is needed until you approach the individual, who may have merely slipped and not be in need of any help. On the other hand, the person may be unconscious and need immediate medical assistance. Other symptoms and signs and behavior that could indicate an emergency may be less obvious. They include:

1. Breathing difficulty.
2. Clutching the chest or throat.
3. Slurred, confused, or hesitant speech.
4. Confused or irritable behavior.
5. Sweating for no apparent reason.
6. Uncharacteristic skin color- pale, flushed, or bluish skin.

These and other signs may occur alone or together. For example, a heart attack may be indicated by chest pain alone, or chest pain may be accompanied by breathing difficulty and sweating.


About This Blog

This blog has been designed to facilitate your learning and understanding of how to do First Aid especially when responding to emergencies. You can follow the step-by-step plan of action for an emergency and provide care for injuries or sudden illness until professional medical help arrives. First aid training will clarify for you when and how to call for emergency medical help, eliminating confusion that can occur in an emergency.

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