Basic Life Supporting Skills to Handle Emergency Situations
I recently took a Safety and Protection Training Course as a requirement to get my license. Initially, I was about to skip it thinking all the normal major stuff would be talked about but I am so glad I decided to attend it. Like most of us I knew how to handle emergency situations a little bit but had absolutely no idea as to why we perform certain actions. I think all of us should know these basic steps and the reason behind it as any sort of emergency situation can arise anytime and anywhere where paramedics might not be readily available. This is just a general guide of how to handle certain emergency situations & make use of basic life supporting (BLS) skills.
1) Firstly check if its safe going near the area of accident. For eg, if it’s a car accident park your vehicle atleast 200 meters away from the damaged vehicle and then move slowly towards the spot of accident, as there might be chances for the vehicle not to blow up in flames immediately but after a few minutes. The same goes for any accident occurred in a building. Move ahead once you feel there is no danger.
2) If you see any person who is hurt or injured severely, make sure you check that person’s response before doing anything. At first, ask the person verbally if he can hear you and if he’s alright. If you receive no response that way, find out physically by tapping or shaking the person’s shoulder lightly.
3) If you receive a response, it indicates the person’s conscious and still alive. However if you don’t then proceed on to check his breathing for 10 seconds from the nose as well as the mouth. Make sure you do this by making the person lie on his back in case he is in some other position. Do not drag or shake the person hardly with a lot of strength as there might be some injury caused to the spinal cord which might not be visible. We really don’t want to cause any harm than what’s already done. If the mouth is closed, open it a little to allow passage for airway. Don’t sit or stand very near to the person’s face. Also, open any doors or windows if the patient is lying in a closed area to allow ventilation.
4)If you still don’t feel any breathing perform a head tilt and chin lift. You can do this by placing your one hand over the patient’s forehead and two fingers of your other hand below his chin lifting it up as shown in the picture below. How this helps in breathing your may ask ? Normally when a person gets unconscious all his muscles relax including his tongue which ends up rolling backwards blocking any passage of airway. While performing head tilt and chin lift, the neck gets extended moving the tongue forward away from the back of the throat & clearing the airway if tongue is blocking it.
5) If you still don’t feel any breathing after performing step 4, check if there is anything solid inside the mouth blocking the airway & remove it. Do a log roll, if there is any liquid like vomit or blood which an unconscious person cannot throw out of his mouth. Try to roll the person either on his left side or right side taking in account which side has suffered less injury so not to give pressure to those regions.
6) In case, the person still is not able to throw out whatever is there in his mouth, try to do a recovery position as shown in the picture. It is done supporting one knee & one elbow on the ground. If you have to attend more than one injured person then you can make the patient lie on this position even upto 6 hours.
7) Resort to Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if none of the above helps. Do chest compression as shown in the picture in the middle of the chest by interlocking your fingers of both hands and press only the heel of the hand to give pressure. Make sure you don’t give pressure directly on victim’s ribs. Compress the chest upto 1 ½ to 2 inches straight down. You should give 100 compressions in 1 minute with 2 rescue breaths every 30 seconds. Rescue breathing is breathing into a person’s mouth. Never do direct mouth to mouth breathing with a stranger. Use a ventilation mask, cloth or even a tissue paper if nothing else is available as shown below. Keep giving compressions & rescue breaths until the person starts breathing on his own.
8) If you notice a lot of bleeding specially from parts like arms or legs, tie it with any clean cloth available, apply direct pressure there and then try raising those injured parts above the heart. This method called elevation will decrease the pressure at point of injury and will reduce the bleeding due to gravity. In case of parts above the heart like the neck or the head raise it upwards, if possible. This step of raising a wounded part should be done regardless of the person being in a state of consciousness of not. But before performing elevation make sure the bleeding parts are not broken. Feel the limbs, if you don’t think there are any broken bones then proceed along with elevation. This step can be taken even while having a normal cut in your fingers or wrist to prevent loss of blood.
I hope we IMBBites know more about BLS than what they did before 🙂