The Four Key Rules to Basic Life Support

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Learning what to do in an emergency is the most important thing you will ever learn. Most people think they will never need this knowledge as it ‘won’t happen to them’ but it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality and your swift actions may save someone’s life.

First Life Support Rule

Learn to recognise signs of a medical emergency so you can dial 999 early and give them a better chance of survival. Even if you’re not sure, you should still phone them.

Second Life Support Rule

In a collapsed patient, dial 999 and then check the person’s mouth is clear and airway open by a head tilt chin lift manoeuvre. Check if they are breathing normally for no more than ten seconds. If they are not breathing normally, begin CPR immediately. Start 30 chest compressions with a rate of 100-120 compressions every minute (two per second) – then two rescue breaths OR if you are not prepared to perform rescue breaths , just do chest compressionsonly CPR at a rate of 100-120 compressions until the emergency services arrive.

Any chest compressions are better than doing nothing as you need to pushbloodaround their body to increase their chance of survival. Compression only resuscitation has become popular as a way for bystanders to help save a life.

Third Life Support Rule

Prompt defibrillation gives a cardiac victim a better chance of survival. This is why it is so vital that all offices, community groups and schools have an automated external defibrillator (AED) and have attended a course so they know how to use one. AED’s and training courses with instructions on AED use are available through A to E Training & Solutions.

Fourth Life Support Rule

Making sure your casualty gets to hospital early and receives expert care is crucial to theirsurvival. Have you heard of the ‘golden hour’? Patients who receive vital care in the first hour after collapse have a greater chance to survive than those who don’t. That’s why dialling 999 at the first sign of collapse is so important.

Medical Emergencies

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Would you know what to do in a medical emergency? Choking, heart attacks, burns or seizure – whatever the problem, anyone can be faced with a medical emergency. Here are some things you can do that could help save a life:

Heart Attack – One of the first ways you can help a person having a heart attack is to recognise the symptoms so that you can get prompt assistance. Symptoms include central crushing chest pain – people state it feel can like a tight band around their chest, pain / numbness down one or both arms, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, sweating and anxiety.

If anyone has these symptoms, dial 999 even if you aren’t sure.

If the person is still conscious, make sure they don’t move around so that they don’t put too much strain on the heart. If they are an adult, you can get them to swallow a whole aspirin tablet (chewed first) while waiting for the ambulance as this will help to make the clot in their heart less sticky and help maintain the blood supply to the heart.

If the person has collapsed, you should check his airway. If he is not breathing normally and you don’t have an AED device, you should do chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions a minute until help arrives.

Adult Choking – If the person cannot cough effectively, talk or breathe, it is a severe obstruction and you should act quickly. Remove any obvious obstruction. If you can’t, give five back blows, reassess and then five abdominal thrusts to try and dislodge it. Dial 999 early and continue with cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives. If the patient collapses, start CPR.

Burns – If someone has a burn, move them away from the heat source and run cold water over the burn for at least ten minutes (this prevents further burning), move clothing away from the burn area and cover it with cling film to protect it. Dial 999 or 111 for further advice.

Seizures – If someone has a seizure, you should remove any harmful objects so they cannot hurt themselves. Place a cushion under their head and stay with them until the seizure is over, then place them in the recovery position to keep their airway open. If the person has never had a seizure before, it lasts longer than a few minutes or you are not sure you should call 999.