What should you do whilst waiting for the ambulance services?
- If the casualty is conscious –
- Keep yourself and the casualty calm.
- Check that they have no problems breathing and control any bleeding with direct pressure.
- Keep them warm and dry.
If the casualty is struggling to breathe, the best position for them to be in is sitting down in an upright position. Try and establish why they are having difficulty and if they have any medication to help – are they asthmatic? Could they be having an acute allergic reaction? – if so help them to administer any medication straight away. If their condition doesn’t improve, phone the ambulance service again and tell them what is happening.
Possible Heart Attack
If you think they might be showing signs of a heart attack – sit them down in an upright position (lazy W if they are comfortable with this) and encourage them to take their GTN spray if they have one. If they do not feel better and they have been prescribed a 300mg aspirin they should chew this – phone the emergency services again and stress that it is urgent. If they become unconscious and stop breathing – start CPR.
If someone is showing signs of a stroke – get them to a stroke unit as soon as you can. If there is a delay with the ambulance and you feel safe transporting them, take them there yourself. It is of critical importance that they are swiftly assessed as if they have a blood clot and are treated quickly enough it is possible to reverse the damage. A good First Aid course should equip you with all the skills to prioritise injuries and to know how to help whilst waiting for an ambulance. Continue to reassure the casualty and keep them warm and dry.
Possible Spinal Injury
If they are conscious and you are concerned that they may have damaged their spine – encourage them to stay still and explain how important it is that they avoid twisting their back or neck. If they are unconscious and breathing, even if you are worried about their spine – you should very carefully roll them into the recovery position, protecting their neck and back to avoid twisting.
Article supplied by Emma Hammett from First Aid for Life. It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk for more information about courses.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.