How to Save a Life: Basic Emergency Responses You Should Know

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A lot of things can happen in the most unexpected times. You might be having a serene dinner in a restaurant somewhere when all of a sudden, a person on the other table chokes on their entree. In that scenario, you can be one of two types of people: the observer or the savior.

There’s no shame in being an observer in a situation like that, especially if you have no training or background in that field. But wouldn’t you rather be more proactive and prepared to handle such emergencies? Doing so can make you feel less helpless and in charge of your own life.

Many organizations offer basic training in emergency response for anyone who wants to learn. This is so that normal people who have no expertise can be more helpful in the unlikely case that they find themselves in such situations.

How to perform a resuscitation

When you see a person having a hard time breathing or drowning, the first thing you have to do is to call 911 or have somebody else do it for you. Confirm that the person no longer has breath sounds, and then prepare to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Begin by laying the person on their back and open their airway by tilting their head. Use two hands, one on top of the other, and place them on the person’s chest. You can mimic the rhythm of Staying Alive’s chorus when you’re giving chest compression so that you won’t get lost with panic.

If the compression fails, you can try to deliver rescue breaths by pinching the person’s nose and blowing air through their mouth to make their chest rise. Two rescue breaths are recommended before continuing chest compression. Continue this cycle until you see any signs of life.

How to do a Heimlich maneuver

Choking often happens in both kids and adults because foreign objects are blocking their throats or windpipes. There are correct ways to give first aid to choking people because improper handling can cause problems even further.

This is called the Heimlich maneuver or abdominal thrust, and it can be done through the “five-and-five” approach. Begin by standing behind the person choking, bending them at the waist with your other arm across the person’s chest for additional support. Then introduce five separate blows between their shoulder blades.

After that, perform five abdominal thrusts by wrapping your arms around their waist. You can make a fist with one hand, place it above their navel, and then grab your fist with the other hand in quick, upward thrusts. Do this cycle until the blockage is dislodged.

How to make an improvised splint or tourniquet

Knowing how to improvise a splint is wise, especially when you need to secure broken bones or sprains. This can be easily performed in case of emergencies, such as during hiking or bathroom slips.

You’ll need a rigid surface to secure the broken bone. This can include rolled-up papers, sticks, or planks. You will also need something to set the splint in place, like a shoelace, medical tape, or cloth strips.

If you need to secure a broken finger, for instance, you can tape two fingers together to prevent further pain. You might also need to attend to any bleeding before securing the splint, in which case you’ll have to put pressure directly on the wound.

This is where knowing how to make an improvised tourniquet can come in handy. Although improvised ones are only to be used in uncontrollable bleeding on the arms and legs, they are proven to be life-savers before getting proper care.

To make an efficient tourniquet, you’ll need a cloth or bandage to wrap around the limb, a rigid object to tighten the bandage and something to secure the object into place. This can be a good way to handle uncontrollable bleeding, provided that you placed the tourniquet in the right place, which is above the wound.

Knowing how to perform basic life support techniques can make you feel safer, even if you never get the chance to use that knowledge. It’s always better to know that you can save your life or others’ lives in case of emergencies instead of being helpless.

You can get certifications after undergoing basic training. It is always recommended to undergo proper training and application if you can so that you can learn the right way to conduct basic life support, instead of depending on materials on the internet.

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