When Seconds Count

The thought of dealing with a medical emergency may be unpleasant, even frightening. But the fact is that medical emergencies can happen unexpectedly. When they do, preparation can make a positive difference. If you’ve planned ahead or taken steps to educate yourself about what to do in the event of an emergency, you’ll have more confidence in your ability to handle the situation when you’re faced with a crisis.


During an emergency:

The first order of business is to stay calm. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can handle this. If you’re helping someone else, speak slowly and let the person know what you’re doing. (“I’m calling 911 now” or “I’m going to move some of your clothing around now so I can get a better look at your injury.”)

Check to see if the person is conscious and breathing. If they aren’t, you will need to call 911 (or ask someone else to call 911) and then begin CPR. If you suspect that someone has a spinal injury, do not attempt to move the person unless it’s a matter of life or death.

Think about the overall situation. What is the most important thing to do first? In some cases, the first order of business may be to check yourself or someone else for injuries, or to dial 911. In other cases, it may be wiser to take these actions after dealing with more serious matters first, such as applying pressure to a bleeding wound, or extinguishing or getting away from a fire.

Find more first aid tips.
Learn more about emergency preparedness kits.

If you determine that you need to call 911 or visit an emergency room:

– Speak slowly and clearly, and provide your location as soon as possible.

– Consider if you need to call ahead to the emergency room and let them know about the situation and your impending arrival.

– While driving, avoid the urge to speed or disregard traffic stops if the situation isn’t life threatening.

– If possible, contact your physician on the way – he or she may wish to meet you at the emergency room.

– Is possible, bring your health insurance card with you, as well as a list of any medications you or the person you are helping is taking. If you’re assisting someone whose medical history you are not familiar with, ask them if they have any allergies or chronic medical conditions. In cases where the person cannot speak, look for medical ID bracelets or search their wallet or handbag for information which may be helpful to the ER team members.

The GRMC Emergency Department features a Level IV Trauma Center, private rooms, and minor medical care for less critical injuries and illness. We’re here when you need us, around the clock, 365 days a year. Learn more.

Learn more about preparing and planning for a healthcare emergency.