A life-threatening emergency can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. If you have gone through some training, you could save a person’s life. Here are five life-saving skills you need to know no matter where you live, what you do for a living, or how old you are.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a critical skill you need to know. This is a process of performing both artificial ventilation and chest compressions. CPR maintains the flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body if a person goes into cardiac arrest. Without training, it’s possible to cause additional injuries to a person.
If it has been a while since you first took CPR training, you may be due for a re-certification. A CPR renewal course will keep your skills up to speed. If you’re certified in both child and adult CPR, you may want to take a renewal course for both of these skills.
2. How to Use an AED
An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a piece of equipment that delivers an electrical charge to the heart of a person who has gone into sudden cardiac arrest. An increasing number of organizations and businesses are installing them. This is due to the fact that they could help restore normal heart rhythm and keep a person alive until first responders are able to get to the location. An AED may be mounted onto a wall.
It may also be installed in a portable box. The wall-mounted units and portable units usually use a button to deliver the electrical charge. These devices have instructions written on them. Some have voice narration when they are activated for use.
3. How to Stop Bleeding
The heart pumps blood quickly, and a cut, laceration, nose bleed, or other injuries could quickly deplete a person’s blood supply, causing them to go into shock while waiting for emergency assistance. Learning how to stop bleeding is a key skill you need to have. If possible, always keep a clean pair of disposable, medical-grade gloves with you. To stop bleeding, you need to apply constant direct pressure to the affected area for 15 minutes. You may do this either with your hands or with medical tape or wraps. If you can, lift the affected part of the body so that it is higher than the heart.
This reduces blood flow to that part of the body, explains the Mayo Clinic. It is best to do this with a clean cloth or towel, but in an emergency, even a shirt will work for this. Do not lift up the cloth to check on the wound. After 15 minutes, you may check it. If it’s still bleeding, you need to get the person emergency care as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if there is an embedded object in the wound, you should not apply pressure to it.
4. Heimlich Maneuver
If a person is choking, the Heimlich maneuver may help them expel whatever is blocking their airway. Before doing the Heimlich maneuver, you need to make sure the person really is choking and not having an asthma or panic attack or some other issue. Call for emergency help and tell the dispatcher that the person cannot breathe.
To do the Heimlich maneuver, stand behind the person who is choking. Wrap your arms around their waist. Place your legs between theirs in order to prevent them from falling if they faint. Make a fist with one hand. With your thumb pointing toward their belly, give a fast, strong upward thrust.
5. Identify a Stroke
A person having a stroke needs treatment as soon as possible. Knowing how to identify a stroke allows you to call for help. The signs include face drooping, arm weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, dizziness, and slurred speech.
Each of these five skills requires practice. Even if you live alone and only interact with other people once in a while, knowing these skills could help you save a neighbor’s, friend’s or loved one’s life. Parents, grandparents, childcare providers, and others who interact with many people, including children, should keep up-to-date on all of these skills and take regular refresher courses so that they are ready to help if it is ever needed.