Most of us like to think that if the situation called for it, we’d be a hero. We’d rush across the road to save an elderly lady, we’d run into a burning building to save a baby. However in the moment when something bad happens, many of us respond in the same way. We’re crippled with fear or panic. We’re only human after all. When someone collapses, it’s usually a race against the clock. A heart attack, stroke, allergic reaction or other issue could mean that the longer the person is unconscious the less chance they have of making a proper recovery later on. For this reason it’s worth having some knowledge, some idea what to do if someone nearby collapses suddenly.
The first thing to think about when someone collapses is keeping yourself and others around you safe. Creating further danger and injury will do no one any good and create more pressure for the emergency services. Stay out of roads, be wary of structural damage. If for example something has fallen and hit their head, make sure the area is now safe and you’re not in danger of it happening again. Another thing to be wary of is electricity. If a person has collapsed due to electric shock, touching them could cause you to be shocked. Keep your wits about you, and make sure you’re not going to make the situation worse before jumping in to help.
When someone collapses, you should immediately check if they are able to respond. Ask if they can hear you, you could ask simple questions such as if they are able to speak and if not, if they can wiggle their fingers and toes. If they remain unconscious, check their airways and breathing. Put them into the recovery position which will keep their airway open.
Call for Help
While you are checking for response, you or someone else should be calling the emergency services. If someone has been unconscious, even for a short time they should be checked out by a medical professional. If you’re in a location that’s difficult for a regular ambulance to reach, medical flight transport can get them to hospital in the shortest time possible. This is of course essential when it could be a life or death matter. Dial for an ambulance right away, speak clearly and give your location. Be prepared to follow instructions and administer CPR if the emergency services operator on the phone tells you what to do. If you have a defibrillator nearby (these are often found in public places) you may be asked to use this.
Sometimes collapsing isn’t too much of a cause for concern. Fainting sometimes happens, and there could be lots of reasons why. Many aren’t serious. However you should never take a chance, call the emergency services and let them check the person over. It could literally save their lives. It’s important to remain calm, take precautions and follow the instructions of the professionals.
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