An emergency is any situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property, or environment. Knowing how to assess the signs that make up an emergency will help you know how to handle it. In addition, being well-prepared for an emergency will pay off when it’s time to handle any emergency.
Top 9 checklist items for Assessing an Emergency
1. Keep calm
Although emergencies require fast action, to effectively handle the situation, you have to remain calm. If you find yourself in a state of confusion or anxiety, stop what you’re doing. Take deep breaths to help yourself relax and calm. To keep calm in a stressful situation you must adjust your behaviour. Acting calmly will also help other people nearby relax as well.
Reassure yourself that you can handle the situation – A pure reason why you panicked in an emergency is as a result of your body’s automatic overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol. The cortisol goes to the brain and slows down the pre-frontal cortex, which is the region responsible for planning complex actions.
By overriding your body’s reaction, you can continue to access your critical thinking faculties. You will be responding from rational thought only. Check around and assess the situation to see what is to be done before acting.
2. Seek additional help
You can place a call to the county’s emergency line for emergency assistance. Use any number that applies to call emergency services outside the country. This number will reach an emergency dispatcher who will need to know your location and the nature of the emergency.
Reply to all questions the dispatcher asks. The job of the dispatcher is to provide quick and appropriate emergency responses. She can only do this by asking these questions.
If you’re calling on a traditional telephone or a GPS-equipped cell phone, emergency services may be able to track your location even if you’re unable to speak. Even if you can’t talk, call emergency services and someone will be able to find you to provide help.
It may be a good idea to go over how you would communicate during an emergency, especially if you have a reason to expect an emergency might arise.
3. Determine the nature of the emergency
- What signs show that there is an emergency?
- Could it be a medical emergency, or there is a threat to the property/building which may result in human injury?
It’s important to stop and take records of the situation calmly before reacting to the emergency.
Injuries due to a vehicle accident, inhalation of, or burns from a fire are examples of medical emergencies. Medical emergencies consist of sudden physical symptoms like; intense bleeding, head trauma, seizure, chest pain, lack of breath or pulse, choking, loss of consciousness, sudden dizziness, or weakness.
An intense desire to hurt oneself or someone else constitutes a mental health emergency.
Other mental health challenges may also be considered an emergency, such as sudden changes in behavior or experiencing confusion, which can be an emergency if they occur without cause.
Behavioral emergencies are best contained by remaining calm, watching from a short distance, and encouraging the person in crisis to stay calm as well. This way you can react appropriately if the situation gets out of hand.
4. Be alert for human-caused emergencies
Assaults of violence at a workplace or home are emergencies that call for immediate response. In most cases, there are no predictable patterns or methods for these emergencies. These occurrences tend to be unpredictable, and they change quickly.
If you find yourself in this kind of emergency, keep yourself safe. Get to a safe location, or find shelter in place. Do not engage in a fight, except you have no choice.
Being attentive and conscious of warning signs at your workplace, which includes any act of physical violence (pushing, shoving, etc.) should be immediate. Your office should have a procedure for workplace violence, including a phone number you can call to report the situation. If you don’t know your office’s procedures, ask your supervisor or a trusted colleague.
Open, honest and genuine communication among the employees and supervisors is part of maintaining a safe, healthy workplace.
5. Determine if you can do anything to help
The most important thing you can do is to remain calm, stay in charge of the situation, and call for help. Sometimes it happens that there is nothing that you can do, and that’s fine. Don’t be worried about admitting that there’s nothing you can do to help.
If others on the scene are upset or fearful, reassure them. Employ them in going to get help.
It’s better and advisable to remain with someone in a supportive way than to do an action that may result in additional damage. If you’re not sure of what to do, simply stay with the person. take their pulse, if possible. Take notes of events as they happen, and engage them on their medical history. This is the information you may need when talking to the emergency team.
6. Take time to think before acting
Being in an emergency can result in panicking thinking and actions. Instead of reacting to a situation, take time to calm down. Breathe deeply before you take any action. Things change suddenly in emergencies. Try not to panic if things suddenly go in a different direction than you’d expected.
Take time to pause whenever you’re overwhelmed, panicky, or confused. If you need to stop in the middle of taking an action to calm down, that’s okay.
7. Get the first aid kit
A first aid kit should include constructive tools for taking care of many medical emergencies. Any first aid kit should have bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, disinfectant, and other useful medical items. If you can’t access the first aid kit, check for other items in your immediate vicinity that might be good substitutes.
You should have a first aid kit at your home, your workplace is required by law to maintain a first aid kit. A good first aid kit should also include a “space blanket” which is a lightweight piece of special material meant to conserve body heat. This is an important piece of equipment for people who are chilled or shaking, as it can help keep them from going into shock.
8. Ask basic questions about the injured person
It’s important to discern the mental state of the victim to better understand the person’s injuries. If the person appears confused by the question or provides the wrong answer, this may suggest additional injuries. If you’re not sure if the victim is unconscious, touch their shoulder. Shout or ask loudly, “Are you okay?”
Questions you should ask include:
- What is your name?
- What is the date?
- How old are you?
If they do not respond to questions, you can try rubbing their chest or pinching their earlobe to keep them conscious. You can also gently touch the eyelids to see if they will open.
Once you’ve determined the basic mental status of the person, check with them about any medical complications. Ask them if they have a medical alert bracelet or another medical ID.
9. Avoid moving an injured person
If someone has a neck injury, moving him could result in injuring the spine. Always call emergency services if someone has a neck injury and is unable to move.
If the person can’t walk because of leg or foot injuries, you can help move them by holding them at the shoulders. If the person is afraid to leave a dangerous situation, respond with reassurance.
Finally, Have an emergency plan
The best response in an emergency is to follow the emergency plan of your home or workplace. Certain people may be identified as emergency leaders, with special training. In an emergency, you will save necessary time and energy by following the plan and your designated leader, even if you don’t fully agree with them.
- Your emergency plan should have a gathering place to gather once you’ve evacuated the home or building.
- Have emergency phone numbers posted near the phone.
- Important medical data should be stored on your phone or in your wallet.
After all, being said, it is very important to stay calm in an emergency and also have your first aid kit at hand all the time. It is better to stay prepared for this kind of situation than to be caught unawares.