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What do I do in an Emergency?

You are driving along the road and come across a car accident. People are walking around and seem to be fine but what do you do? Your neighbor falls out of a tree across the street. Do you help him up or call for help? The answer is, in all situations, call 911. Anyone involved in a trauma situation needs evaluated at the least by EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and most likely by hospital personnel.

What if the person says they are fine?
Often, people will try to "walk it off" but they may have a concussion or underlying injury. Also, people are often in shock after incidents such as this and don't feel pain that comes only a short time later. Anybody who was involved in a motor vehicle crash or fall from a height or any other trauma situation is at high risk for injury.

What should I do?
Do not attempt to transport the person to a hospital by yourself. The person may have a spinal cord injury. Tell all victims to lie on the ground in a safe area and hold still until EMS arrives. Talk to the person and try to keep them calm. If the situation is dangerous for you (live power lines down, car stuck in a ravine that you can't easily get to), do not put yourself in harm's way. Try to keep the person calm from a distance and flag down emergency personnel when they arrive and tell them where the victim is located. It will not help the victim or emergency personnel if they have two victims to tend to when help arrives.

What if I am not sure if an ambulance is needed?
If you see any situation that is questionable, call it in. Let the EMS personnel decide whether or not it is necessary. Minor car accidents with minimal damage to the cars can be handled with exchange of information and no need for an ambulance but if you are ever unsure, call for help. People involved in these situations often are in shock or have a head injury and do not know what they are doing. Common situations seen in this area that always warrant emergent medical care are falls from a height (roof or high tree), car accidents with airbag deployment or damage to the vehicles, ANY type of electrocution, near-drowning and any unwitnessed incidents with pain or confusion of the victim.

When in doubt, call 911 and let the trained emergency personnel evaluate the victim. It could make a big difference in the outcome for the patient.

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