As people, when we witness a car accident or an injury our first instinct is to rush to the rescue. We want to help and that is great. It means that there is still hope for the human race; however, most of us watch too much TV. On television, the first person on the scene rushes forward and knows exactly what to do. With sleeves rolled up, he carries the accident victim to safety and stops a spurting artery, then plunges into CPR. When he has revived the grateful patient, he ducks into the delicatessen across the street and performs the Heimlich maneuver on a woman whom he noticed was choking and asking for help. Every one applauds and our hero modestly shakes hands and disappears into the crowd. He goes home and waits for the mayor to track him down with a key to the city.
Life Is Not Television
Guess what… life is not TV. First of all, in real life, our hero would have probably been hit by the next passing car when he rushed into the street. He could have made a neck injury much worse by carrying her to “safety.” That artery he stopped bleeding was probably contaminated blood, which is now all over him. On TV, they slap on a tourniquet, which means he will probably be in court losing his house and property when the family sues. If the woman had an artery that was spurting blood, her heart was not stopped, but he would have surely stopped it performing CPR. As for the woman who was choking, she did not need the Heimlich maneuver if she was asking for help. Choking people cannot speak.
CALM is Caution + Aware + Learn + Move
Rather than letting all this cynicism dissuade you from helping a fellow human being in distress, take a few moment to learn what you should do immediately following an accident or injury. Learn how to keep your head and stay safe. You can do this by staying CALM. Caution-Aware-Learn-Move. Call 911 before you do anything else.
• Caution: Take a few deep breaths and think. If they witness an accident or see someone injured, most people become excited and rush to the rescue. You could put yourself in harms way if you do not stop and remember to use caution when you approach the injured person.
• Aware: Be aware of the situation and be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for traffic if it is a car accident. Then, if the person is conscious, make them aware of you. First of all, you know nothing about them. You do not know how they will react-so move slowly. Introduce yourself and your intentions. Always be careful when stepping into the street or scene of an accident. Tell them that you want to help. They may not know what has happened. Be aware of details that you may need later.
• Learn: Perform a careful triage of the situation. Take mental notes. Everything that you learn now could be an important clue for emergency personnel or the police. Learn how many are hurt and what the worst, life-threatening injuries are and treat them first. Learn the injured person’s name and use it often to reassure them. Ask them questions about their injury or accident as well as where they live, how they are enjoying the weather, and anything else to take their mind from the situation.
• Move: Now that you are safe and you have assessed the situation, proceed with first aid until help arrives. Move forward and treat the most threatening injuries first. Recruit help if no one is offering-for the minor things. Be ready to move if the situation becomes unsafe.
CALM is the Word For The Day
Using CALM will help you to think about what needs to be done. It also helps you to avoid mistakes. Do not forget to keep yourself safe by using the universal techniques for first aid safety.