Vol. LXVII No. 6 — June 1989
We are deeply grateful to the American Red Cross for preparing information on what to do in case of First Aid Emergency. With many of our lodges located on second or third floors, usually with no elevator service, we really need to be aware of what to do should an emergency anse.
Not only should we have First Aid assistance available in the lodge rooms, but many Masons are interested in another aspect of our Masonic outreach "community service."
We hope this Short Talk will help point out the seriousness of the problem when First Aid assistance is required — it's needed now!
You're seated at a banquet, dinner is winding down and the evening's speaker advances to the podium. But he doesn't make it. Reaching for the microphone, he clutches his chest and collapses to the floor. He is having a heart attack. Would you know what to do? Would anyone in the room know what to do?
Since the turn of the century, the American Red Cross has been committed to teaching Red Cross first aid to the public. The organization has always believed that a citizenry educated in first aid is better able to prevent the thousands of needless deaths each year from heart attacks, strokes, choking and other common health diseases and accidents. About 1,500 people die every day from heart attacks alone. When Red Cross CPR is combined, within minutes, with quick delivery of the right medical care, it has been shown that about 40 percent of heart attack victims can be resuscitated.
Thus, there is no better way to learn how to prevent a needless death in your home, your office, your lodge, or your civic group's banquet hall than by taking a Red Cross first aid and CPR course. Virtually every community in the country has access to Red Cross-certified courses which, when successfully completed, allow one to help save the life of one's spouse, one's child, one's best friend or a complete stranger.
The key to saving the life of your banquet speaker, in this instance, is knowing how to evaluate the situation, provide appropriate Red Cross first aid immediately and at the same time access a fully equipped emergency medical services (EMS) team (i.e., an ambulance). Normally this means going yourself or sending someone else to a phone, and dialing 911. The caller should be prepared to tell the EMS dispatcher —
- The exact location of the emergency (address, nearby intersections or landmarks, name of building, room number).
- The telephone number of the phone being
- The caller's name.
- What happened.
- The victim's condition.
- The help being given.
Do not hang up. The dispatcher may have more questions.
In general, there are several steps that should be followed in any kind of emergency from the time that one recognizes the problem to the time when help arrives.
Before you intervene in an emergency make sure that you have taken steps to survey the scene.
Step one: Find out if the scene is safe. You can't help someone else if you become a victim yourself. This applies to such things as toxic accidents, traffic accidents and some natural disasters such as a flood where there is fastrunning water.
Step two: Find out what happened. If the victim is conscious, ask some specific questions to find out what's wrong and how bad it is. Often the scene itself will reveal the nature and extent of the problem. If the victim is unconscious, look for a medical alert tag, which may tell you how to provide medical care to the victim. This can be done while you check breathing and pulse.
Step three: Find out if there is more than one victim. In an auto accident, people may have been thrown from the car or walked away in a daze.
Step four: Find out if there are bystanders who can help. Shout for "HELP." A bystander may be able to seek help while you are assessing the victim's condition. If a bystander is a family member, he or she may be able to provide more medical information and offer emotional support while waiting for the EMS team to arrive.
Step five: Tell the victim and the bystanders that you are trained in Red Cross first aid. This will help to reassure the victim and let others know that a trained person is in charge. Before giving Red Cross first aid to a conscious victim, it is important that you obtain his or her consent. Simply say, "Hi, my name is (blank). I know Red Cross first aid and I can help you until an ambulance arrives; is that OK?" A Primary Survey of the Victim
When you come upon an accident victim, he or she may not be moving. To determine whether a victim is responsive, gently tap on the shoulder and ask, "Are you OK?" If assistance is needed, you may need to shout to get help while you proceed with the primary survey by checking for an open airway, breathing and circulation (the ABCs) .
Airway: Does the victim have an open airway (the passage that allows the victim to breathe)? The most important action for successful resuscitation is to immediately open an unconscious victim's airway using the head-tilt/ chin-lift method. This lifts the tongue away from the back of the throat and opens the airway.
Breathing: Check for breathlessness. Look for the chest to rise and fall, listen for breathing and feel for air coming out of the victim's nose and mouth.
Circulation: Is the person's heart beating? (Does the person have a pulse?) To check to see if the victim's heart is beating, feel for a pulse at the side of the neck. This is called the carotid pulse. Is the person bleeding severely? Feel and look over the victim's body to determine if bleeding is present. If there is severe bleeding (arterial bleeding), it must be controlled immediately. Complete the ABCs before beginning any urgent Red Cross first aid treatment, as there may be more than one life-threatening problem occurring at the same time. Life-threatening conditions must be given first aid before less serious conditions. It is more important, for example, to give breathing to someone who is not breathing than to splint a broken arm or bandage a minor cut. In an emergency, remember to shout for help and find a way so that you or a bystander can immediately phone for EMS assistance. The above outlines the foundation of Red Cross first aid. However, anyone who is serious about learning first aid so that he or she is prepared to save a life, must take a Red Cross first aid and CPR course. Call your Red Cross chapter for information about when the course is offered. A Red Cross instructor can come to your lodge to teach the course. And remember, the life you save may be your wife's, your child's or your best friend's. Emergencies only happen to other people-until it is too late. So call your local Red Cross chapter now.
Courses Offered by Red Cross Chapters
- Adult CPR
- Infant and Child CPR
- Community CPR
- CPR:Basic Life Support for the Professional Rescuer
- Standard First Aid
EMERGENCY ACTION PRINCIPLES
Survey the Scene
- Is It Safe?
- Check for Unresponsiveness
Do a Secondary Survey
- Vital Signs
- Head-to-Toe Exam