Emergency First Aid

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by Jeff Frazier

Basic Medical Training Project:

Goal: To increase medical knowledge of a group, in order to make it more self-reliant and better able to handle medical emergencies likely to be encountered during their activities.

If living or working in a remote or rural area, more personal responsibility must be taken in the area of healthcare. Unlike in the city, an ambulance may be 20 minutes away and after arrival, the transport time may be 20 – 30 minutes to the nearest hospital. Having basic skills is vital.

Group Assessment: Evaluate the people around you. Ask who has any medical training, even if it was in the past. Find out who has taken CPR or other pertinent classes. On the other hand, have your people let you know if they have a medical condition, such as diabetes or a heart condition. People may want to keep this information private, so encourage people to record this information in a way that the data is available, especially if this person were unable to convey the information. Each person filling out a personal information card may be useful.

Pre-Planning: Designate roles beforehand, if possible. Have a person tasked with calling 9-1-1 or to go summons help. Have another person (or two), with medical experience, ready to take care of a person in case of sickness or injury. Remember that these designated people could become the casualty, so be ready to adapt to the situation and have back-up plans.

Prevention: If pursuing potentially dangerous activities, try to mitigate the risks. This would include wearing safety glasses and gloves around tools and equipment. Also, simple things like marking off work areas to keep people out of a dangerous area, such as around a saw blade, for example, would be helpful. It is far easier to prevent an injury than treat it.

Medical Kit: Have a basic medical kit, kept in an accessible area. Include supplies based on what types of injuries you expect to encounter. Band-aids, dressings, and bandages can be used to control bleeding or cover burns. Splinting materials could be used to stabilize sprains, strains or breaks in extremities. Stock medical kits with supplies you are comfortable using.

Scene Safety: When approaching the scene of an accident, look for hazards that could create additional injuries. It only makes matters worse if the people coming to help to get hurt, too. Turn off anything that has moving parts, like tools or tractors. Look for sources of electricity and try to figure out what hurt the patient in the first place, so you can avoid them.

Wound Management: Simple cuts, scrapes and even minor burns can be treated on site. It is especially important to keep the wound clean, to give it the best chance of healing without infection. With burns, make sure you stop the burning process. Irrigating wounds with water or saline will help flush out bacteria. Apply antibiotic cream as a precaution. For more serious wounds and injuries, go to the emergency room for stitches or more comprehensive care.