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First aid

School students save the life of a man who had a heart attack

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  • ENSURE YOUR SAFETY!
  • ASSESS THE CONDITION OF THE VICTIM!
  • CALL OR ASK A BYSTANDER TO IMMEDIATELY CALL THE EMERGENCY NUMBER 112!
  • START QUICKLY WITH LIFE-SAVING FIRST AID!
  • PROVIDE FIRST AID UNTIL THE ARRIVAL OF THE AMBULANCE!

Warning signs

  • In case of a trauma or a health disorder, the condition of the person requiring assistance is life-threatening, when:
    • he is unconscious and unresponsive to voices or touching;
    • he breaths abnormally or less than 10 times a minute or more frequently than 30 times a minute;
    • he has pain in chest or rapid heartbeat and weakness, which persists more than a few minutes;
    • he has a visible life-threatening injury, such as bleeding, a burn, or an open fracture;
    • he has survived a serious accident (explosion, traffic accident, high fall, etc.), however, no external signs of injury are evident yet;
    • he has other signs that indicate a dangerous health condition, such as
      • paralysis,
      • worsening confusion condition,
      • seizure lasting more than five minutes,
      • hypothermia,
      • very sharp and sudden pain.

How to ensure your safety

  • When spotting an injured person and starting to provide first aid, make sure that you are not putting yourself in the same kind of danger, due to which the injured person needs help, such as a poisonous environment, electricity, surrounding traffic, attack.
  • Call or ask a bystander to call the emergency line 112.
  • Be visible.
  • Avoid contact with blood.

How to check the condition of the victim

  • Is the victim conscious?
    • Address the victim in a loud voice.
    • If the victim does not respond, shake their shoulders with moderate strength.
    • If the victim does not respond to shaking, pinch them.
    • If the victim does not respond at all, he/she is unconscious.
  • Is the victim breathing normally?
    • Free the victim’s respiratory tract by bending his/her head carefully backwards.
    • Listen for 10 seconds to see whether the victim is breathing normally and if his chest is moving.
    • If the victim is breathing normally, place the victim in a stable position on his/her side.
    • If the victim has stopped breathing or their breathing is not normal (gasping, gurgling, shallow or less than 10 times in a minute), start CPR immediately.
  • If you notice gushing or extensive bleeding, stop it immediately.
  • Immediately call the emergency number 112 or let someone else do it. If necessary, the alarm centre will give instructions and guidance on providing first aid to the victim.

Worth knowing

  • If you know that you are far away from the nearest ambulance crew, consider the option of driving to meet the ambulance to receive faster medical attention, or transporting the victim to the hospital, especially in the case of an allergic reaction with difficulty breathing, or in the case of gunshot and stab wounds.
  • Notify the alarm centre of transporting the victim. Agree on the route, destination hospital and sign for the ambulance coming to meet you.

10 basic skills which you should learn to provide first aid:

  1. helping in case of loss of consciousness (fainting, seizures);
  2. heart massage and CPR of child as well as adult;
  3. helping in case of choking;
  4. acting in case of a stroke and a heart attack;
  5. freeing the respiratory tract of an unconscious trauma victim;
  6. stopping massive bleeding;
  7. turning an unconscious person over to the side;
  8. helping in case of low or high body temperature;
  9. first aid in case of chemical damage and burns;
  10. handling a person experiencing a psychotic episode.

By calling the emergency number 112, you will be given guidance, upon need, to resuscitate and provide first aid.

How to stop severe bleeding

  • Call or ask a bystander to call immediately the emergency number 112.
  • When doing CPR on a stranger, use rubber gloves or a plastic bag wrapped around the hand when providing the aid.
  • Place the victim in the supine position.
  • Press on a large wound using your fingers or the palm of your hand.
  • Apply a compression bandage or a rolled piece of cloth to the wound. Tie it strongly or apply pressure to it.
  • If severe bleeding of a limb does not stop, apply pressure with the fingers on the artery supplying the limb with blood or apply a tourniquet.
  • If possible lift the injured limb higher than the heart.
  • Stop bleeding until the ambulance arrives.

How to turn the victim over into a stable position on his side

  • An unconscious victim, who is breathing, must be turned over into a steady position on his side with face inclined forwards. This way the airway stays open and any sputum, vomit and blood can be drained out, if necessary.
  • You may leave the victim unattended for a short period, placed in a stable position on his side, while you go and get help.
  • If you are unable to place the victim in a stable position on his side, keep him on his side yourself.
  • Constantly monitor the condition of the victim. If it is hot, offer him shelter and keep him cool and if it is cold, cover him with an item of clothing or thermal film.

How to do CPR

  • External cardiac massage
    • Make sure that the victim is on a solid surface. Kneel down next to him/her.
    • Open the victim’s respiratory by tilting his/her head backwards and lifting the chin.
    • Place your hands in the middle of the victim’s chest.
    • Press hard (5-6 cm deep) and fast (100 times a minute) on the chest.
    • Press without pausing on the chest until the arrival of the ambulance or until the victim starts breathing normally or regains consciousness.
    • If there is a publicly used automated external defibrillator (AED) near the victim, use it! Switch it on and follow the instructions.
  • External cardiac massage together with rescue breathing
    • If it takes a long time for the ambulance to arrive, also provide rescue breathing in addition to the chest compressions. When providing rescue breathing to a stranger, use a resuscitation shield, if possible.
    • Make sure that the victim’s mouth is empty.
    • Tilt the victim’s head back and pinch his nose closed with fingers.
    • Take a deep breath, put your mouth tightly on the victim’s mouth and blow air into his/her lungs for 1 second. If the air is delivered correctly, the victim’s chest will rise visibly. Provide 2 ventilations in a row.
    • Provide 2 ventilations following every 30 compressions, until the ambulance arrives.
    • If there is an automated external defibrillator (AED) near the victim, do not hesitate to use it! Switch it on and follow the instructions.
  • If you do not have sufficient strength to continue the external cardiac massage, invite other people to help.

What to do in a crisis

Every state does whatever it can to prevent or respond to crisis situations. Still, help will not always reach all people quickly enough because some crises can affect a large part of the population and last for days or even weeks.

Until help arrives and services are resumed, your welfare and that of your loved ones will largely depend on your own preparedness.

The web page “Kriis.ee” contains tips on how to get prepared for various types of crisis situations and what to do if there actually is one.

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