Home > Health Library > Dealing With Emergencies
Review this topic before you need it. Then,
when you are faced with an emergency or injury, you will know what to do.
Your confidence in dealing with both major and minor emergencies will be
reassuring to an injured person.
Some of the medical emergencies
you may find helpful to review are:
Steps to take when an emergency occurs:
If the person is unconscious or does
not respond to your voice or touch, be ready to start CPR.
CPR section of this
Call 911 or other emergency services, such as the local fire department, sheriff,
or hospital, if you need help.
See tips on how to
prepare for the emergency room.
If you are needed in an emergency,
give what help you can. Most states have a Good Samaritan law to protect people
who help in an emergency.
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is pushing down on a person's chest and breathing into his or her mouth. It is
used in emergencies when someone's heart stops beating, or when he or she is not breathing
normally (may be gasping for breath) or is
not breathing at all.
CPR works to move blood to the person's brain to help prevent brain
damage. CPR can help keep someone alive until a health professional arrives.
The steps of CPR are C-A-B:
CPR Basics has the basic steps for CPR. Use it for quick
information on hand placement for chest compression,
compression rates, compression depth, and ratio of compressions to
The American Heart
Association recommends taking a class on how to give CPR and then use the steps below as a reference.
Tap or gently shake the person and shout, "Are you okay?" But do not shake someone who might have a neck or back injury.
That could make the injury worse.
If the person does not respond, follow
Positioning your arms and body for
doing chest compressions:
Positioning your arms and body for doing chest
If you are not trained in CPR, it's okay to only give chest compressions. Studies have shown that CPR can work well with chest compressions
breathing is more important to do for
children and babies than adults.
If you are trained in CPR:
may be a pocket mask at a nearby first aid station or in a first aid kit. You can use the mask to give rescue breaths, but don't delay starting CPR to find one.
To give rescue breaths:
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are machines that are
programmed to safely deliver an electrical shock to a person who has collapsed
from a heart problem. Each AED has instructions for that machine.
AEDs are in many public places. Before you use an AED, follow all the steps for CPR. To use an AED, place it next to the person who has collapsed and turn it on. The AED has a computer inside that will tell you what to do next.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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