I am frequently told stories about coming up on the scene of a car accident.
These stories are almost always told in a way that describes a feeling of helplessness and uncertainty.
Most people go about their day completely unaware that on their way home from work, they’ll come across a bad car crash, and when they are presented with the unexpected, they realize how unprepared they are to handle it.
This adds to the stress of the situation greatly because they’re don’t know what to do. In this article we’ll explore a few topics so you’re better prepared to help someone who needs it.
It’s impossible to be prepared at all times and knowing what to do when you don’t have any medical gear can be the literal difference between life and death.
Even a paramedic with a fully stocked ambulance has finite supplies, and if the situation is bad enough, anyone could easily run out.
If you haven’t already read what to do for bleeding, make sure you check that out before you continue with this article so everything makes sense.
Sucking chest wounds are treated quickly and effectively with the quick application of a chest seal. Penetrating trauma to the chest can cause a Tension Pneumothorax (TPT), a potentially life-threatening condition, but how can you treat it with no medical gear?
It’s impossible to be prepared at all times. We’re likely to be caught off guard and without important gear when an emergency happens. This is why training skills is so important.
Skills are weightless and with us all the time if an edge is honed every now and then. Skills sharpen or dull depending on how often they are used. Gear is great, but you also need to know what to do if you don’t have any, or, you use up everything you have.
This will be a multiple article discussion about what to do in the event you don’t have any gear with you. All you have is your mind, a bad situation, and an injured person in danger.
This is first because blood loss is the injury that will kill your casualty the quickest, but the simplest to prevent. If you’ve been following the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel or reading any of the articles on this web site, then you already know a tourniquet (TQ) is the first choice for treating life-threatening wounds to arms and legs.
TQs are easy to use and fast to apply with very little training, and are clearly the optimal choice. But what if you don’t have one… or there are more casualties and/or wounds then you have tourniquets for?
In Part 1 of Handling Emergencies Like a Pro, we talked about how to make a quick plan on the way to the casualty. Professionals do this all the time and it’s a great way to get past a lot of the indecision. But, to come up with a workable plan, you need to be trained.
Any high-level professional will tell you they are constantly training. Developing and maintaining skills takes a big stress load off your shoulders by allowing you to focus on the bigger, more dynamic picture. Since you have applied a Tourniquet (TQ)so many times in training, you aren’t thinking about each and every step when you do. Instead you’re thinking ahead about the next problem.
The Yellowstone and Sweetwater trauma kits, our flagship products, hit the market to wide acclaim and remain very popular with our customers.
But now comes the time to release the next installment in our line of quality medical gear.
We take great pride as a company to provide the best possible gear at prices affordable for everyone, and requests have been flooding in for us to sell a more comprehensive kit able handle everything from major trauma to minor injuries.
The hardest part about emergency trauma care is managing the chaos that tends to invade every situation. Basic first aid is surprisingly simple, but the nature of it being an emergency rachets up the stress and quickly makes those simple things surprisingly difficult.
So, since the hard part of emergencies is really just about managing high levels of stress, how can we be more effective first responders?
Professionals are no different then you, they just have better methods of managing the stress. Let’s look at some of the ways to prevent being overwhelmed when everything and everyone around you seems to be falling apart.
Having a commercial, purpose-made tourniquet ready to go in an emergency is essential for keeping someone alive. Trying to build your own on the spot takes time you don’t have and won’t be nearly as effective as something like the CAT.
And no, your belt is not an acceptable substitute of a quality tourniquet. I run into people all the time that say they would just use their belt to control a life-threatening bleed because they haven’t stopped to think about how it might actually be done.
If you've ready any of the articles in this blog, you may have heard me harping on the fact that, in an emergency, the first step should be to call 911. Emergencies are concerning because of the lack of available resources needed to keep a casualty alive.
Emergencies don’t generally occur in a hospital fully staffed with experienced doctors and nurses with complex medical equipment and access to a broad range of pharmaceuticals.
So, we need to get the casualty to those resources as quickly and as safely possible by getting EMT’s on scene with an ambulance.
Since this may be the most important thing you do to save the life of the casualty, we need to discuss how to speak with a 911 operator in an emergency when you are likely to be a little shook up.
It’s easy to get things mixed up, rush your words, and speak incoherently when adrenaline is running full tilt.
If you’re just jumping into this article, go check out the last article I wrote explaining the degrees of burns and some of the risk factors associated with them. This way, you’ll better understand what I’m talking about in this next in the series about how to treat this type of emergency.
I'll start this off with saying burns are nothing to screw around with. Not only can they be very dangerous, but burns are very painful.
In my circle of friends and family I am the community medic and I get calls asking about one thing or another. Whenever I get questions about burns, I always recommend the victim gets seen at a hospital.
This ensures they are treated for their injury and keep it from getting worse, but perhaps more motivating is that the burn victim will be able to get some relief from the pain.
Burns are extremely painful. Even a mild sunburn is uncomfortable, so any injury causing a serious burn is likely to be excruciating. Go to the hospital so the victims pain is managed to acceptable levels.
How to Treat a Burn
Put out the Fire
One of the risks of treating a burn is becoming a burn victim yourself by not making sure the fire is out before touching the casualty. Scene Safety is a very important aspect to emergency medicine. Don’t become another victim in your attempt to take care of the casualty.