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How to be Prepared for a Medical Emergency

Friday, May 25, 2012

 

It’s not always easy to think clearly or quickly in a crisis, when it’s critical to act quickly. During National Emergency Medical Services Week, take a moment to think about what you would do if a medical emergency were to strike you or your loved ones.

Take some tips from UMass Memorial EMS which, with more than 70 professional paramedics and a fleet of 15 ambulances, provides 9-1-1 coverage for the city of Worcester and the town of Shrewsbury. “We respond to more than 32,000 ambulance calls and 1,000 requests for Life Flight, the region’s air ambulance,” said Dan Meisels, Director of UMass Memorial EMS. “Our staff is trained to provide advanced life support, and we respond to emergencies every single day. We know that the people who call us for help are not as accustomed to emergencies, and we want to help before we’re needed.”

Know When to Call

Not all illnesses or accidents require urgent care, but you should call 9-1-1 if the someone:
• Is unconscious or semi-conscious
• Has trouble breathing
• Has severe stomach or chest pain
• Doesn’t have a pulse
• Is choking
• Is drowning or had a near-drowning
• Has a seizure or prolonged seizure
• Has severe burns or bleeding
• Is vomiting blood or passing blood in their stool or urine
• Has a broken bone
• Has moderate or severe head, neck or back injuries.

Know How to Call

In a medical emergency, 9-1-1 is the quickest and best way to get help. Teach children how to dial it, too. When you call, remain calm, and speak slowly and clearly:
• Your name and the address from which you are calling.
• The phone number you are calling from
• The exact location of the person who needs help
• The nature of the problem
Stay on the phone with the emergency dispatcher, who will give you instructions and ask you questions until the ambulance arrives.

Have Information Handy

“It’s also very helpful for the first responders if people have a list of their medical conditions and medications available,” said Meisels. “That helps us give the best care, even when the patient is unconscious or not able to speak for themselves.” Many people keep this information on the side of their refrigerator or next to the phone.
 

 

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