Knowing how to handle public health emergencies and first aid treatment benefits responders, including medical and public health professionals. They offer you the confidence to act and inform you of what to do to save your life and those of others in emergency situations like disease outbreaks. Some emergencies require quick action, especially those involving the loss of life and property. Training related to emergency response, life skills, and first aid are available online for interested persons without any limitations of age or education.
Public Health Emergency
Public health systems play an important role in preparing communities to respond to and recover from different types of emergencies. A public health emergency declaration in the United States releases resources meant to handle an actual or potential public health crisis. Here are the key steps in dealing with public health emergencies
1. Remain calm
When faced with an emergency, it is necessary to stay calm. The body is in a state of flight or fight. Like any other animal, humans naturally react when threatened. During this period, the individual is unable to think critically. Panicking in the face of an emergency will only worsen the situation—the individual experiences high levels of emotion that drive their decision-making.
2. Be informed
Panic kicks in when the individual feels the situation is out of hand. Skilled persons trust their ability to act and save lives. It is also helpful to have some useful supplies in giving first aid in an emergency.
First aid treatment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and other life saving skills are available online. Alternatively, you can also read content and download apps on first aid and life skills.
3. Stay focused
When handling public health threats, it is essential to focus on a single task at a time. When overwhelmed, it is easy to drift off. Importantly learn to take up a single job at a time and stay focused on what you are doing at the moment. Remember, you can only save a life at a time.
In the face of an emergency, the body is prepared and packed with adrenaline. Breathing fastens, and so does the heartbeat. Taking a deep breath will help you in staying calm.
5. Train yourself to adapt
It is possible to train yourself on how to adapt to unexpected situations rather than resist. People who readily adapt to unplanned events are less likely to panic in the face of emergencies.
6. Be brave
Emergencies call for breaking the norm and taking charge. The rescuer should be bold enough to create and maintain order. The situation might demand you to be the team leader or use items and facilities belonging to others without their approval.
7. Move yourself and others to safety
Check for the danger that could cause other health emergencies and relocate to a safe environment. Such threats include unsafe buildings/collapsing structures, explosives, and other potential hazards. For example, when a building is on fire, it is only logical to relocate the victims first to a safe location to avoid further tragedies.
Also, remember that you should only move injured persons when necessary. Never move persons with spinal and back injuries. When transferring an injured person, you must drag them in a straight line. Avoid turning or twisting the person as much as possible. You can move the person by pulling their shirt at the top of their shoulders with the victim’s head safely cradled in your forearms. You can also drag the person by their feet in a straight line. The neck and spine should always remain straight as you move the person.
8. CAB (Chest compressions, airway, and breathing) of life support
The procedure applies to victims with difficulties in breathing. Check for a pulse and, if not present, call for emergency medical services. If you are CPR certified, start the procedure immediately. Check the victim for breathing. If there are no signs of breathing, start the rescue breath process immediately.
For those untrained, it is essential to get someone who is CPR certified to perform the procedure. CPR saves thousands of people annually. Today many institutions are providing Online CPR training and certification classes for healthcare workers and working professionals.
9. Check for bleeding
If the victim is bleeding, apply direct pressure on the wound using a clean cloth or a piece of gauze. Also, make use of protective gloves to avoid direct contact with blood. Call a doctor if the victim is bleeding severely or the blood spurts out of the wound. The same should also apply if you suspect internal bleeding.
The bleeding should stop within 10 minutes of applying firm direct pressure, failure to which the victim should see a specialist. You should only make use of a tourniquet as a last resort.
For deep, jagged, or open wounds, always call a doctor. A doctor should also attend to face and chest injuries and foreign objects that remain inside.
10. Check for signs of shock, broken bones, and fractures
Shock occurs when the flow of blood through the body is insufficient. It results from trauma, severe burns, excessive blood loss, poisoning, heatstroke, and allergic reaction. The victim might die or incur permanent organ damage when the oxygen supply is limited for prolonged periods.
Takes less than 20 minutes. learn more
If the victim is under shock, elevate the legs slightly. Unless doing so might result in further injury or pain. Avoid moving the person unnecessarily and keep him or her still.
If the victim doesn’t show signs of life, such as breathing, coughing, and a pulse, the rescuer should immediately start CPR.
Loosen any tight clothing the person might be wearing and keep them warm by covering them with a warm blanket.
Don’t let a victim under shock, eat or drink anything. If the victim is vomiting, lay them on their side to prevent choking. The same applies to victims with blood coming from the mouth. Also, do not place victims with signs of spinal injury in this position.
11. Call for medical assistance
See if the victim has any medical identification on him. For all emergencies, call for emergency response as soon as possible and offer as much information as you can.
Always attend to the most life-threatening emergencies first. These include victims who are in shock and bleeding. Then, start CPR for persons showing signs of cardiac arrest or heart attack. If you are uncertified on CPR, you can perform hands-only CPR as you wait for emergency medical services to take over the situation. It is also essential to learn never to jeopardize your life while trying to rescue others.
There are rural areas that lack local public health departments and instead rely on state public health agencies. First aid training offers skills for various health-related emergencies such as choking, burns, cardiac arrest/ heart attack, bleeding, seizures, stroke, sprains, and heat-related injuries.