One December morning during a snow storm I responded to an emergency call. An individual had been outside shoveling wet heavy snow when he went into cardiac arrest. It was a Sunday morning the roads were extremely icy and full of snow. Traffic was not moving fast anywhere and the snowplows had not had time to get out. I only had to go a few miles but because of the traffic conditions it took approximately 10 minutes. I arrived a few seconds behind the ambulance.
An emergency can happen at any time and any place. Many places have a first aid kit or other equipment such as an AED (automated external defibrillator) to treat people. Items like this can only save lives if the person knows how to use them. The actions you take in the first few minutes after an injury or other medical incident may save someone’s life.
Call 911 instead of trying to take the injured or ill person to the hospital yourself. It may seem like waiting for the ambulance will make it take longer to get help, but an ambulance crew can start providing care as soon as they arrive. They can get the patient to the hospital quickly and safely. Stay calm and try to keep the patient calm. Don’t move a patient who was injured in automobile accident, fall, or who was found unconscious. If the patient is cold, cover them up with a blanket. Have someone watch for the ambulance to help direct them to where the patient is. This very important, especially if you’re at a business, apartment complex, or your address is difficult to find from the roadway. Several homes are well off the main roads and can be difficult to spot for first responders.
Helping others in an emergency isn’t hard to learn as you might think. Learning how to apply bandages, recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest, shock, learning how to perform CPR and the use of an automatic external defibrillator can save a life. First responders may not be on scene for several minutes or more. It is up to the individuals like you to be ready to help someone. The person whose life you save may be someone that you care about.
I encourage you to contact your local fire department or American Red Cross Chapter to learn what first aid classes are available in your area.
Now, I bet you’re wondering what happened. I can tell you that the person’s family on scene had recognized the symptoms of the cardiac arrest. They had their family member sit down and rest. They monitored him until help arrived. Another family was standing at the end of their street, which was a side street and difficult to locate do to all the snow covering the street signs and addresses. The ambulance was able to administer immediate care and get the individual to the hospital quickly even with the bad road conditions. This story has a happy ending.
Ask a Trooper
If you have a questions or comments please email them to email@example.com, or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Brighton Post, 4337 Buno Road, Brighton, MI 48116.