Order of Priority in an Emergency
In EVERY emergency situation, there is a logical order to be followed.
First, it is important to carefully assess the scene of an emergency BEFORE any further steps are taken. The purpose of this assessment is to assure it is safe to provide first aid care. For example, an unconscious victim might be lying on a live power line. If a rescuer were to touch the victim before the power could be shut off, the rescuer would become a victim as well! Always be sure it is safe before you attempt to help a victim!
Once you determine it is safe for you to help a victim, you should immediately determine if the victim has any life threatening conditions.
Begin by checking to see if the victim is responsive. Ask; "ARE YOU OK?" If there is no response, you must get someone to immediately summon an ambulance! Recent studies have conclusively shown that victims who are not breathing and do not have a heartbeat have a substantially greater chance for survival if they receive prompt advanced medical care in a hospital or by trained paramedics.
Only after a call is placed for emergency medical services does a volunteer attempt to further help an unconscious victim.
If there are bystanders on the scene, summon someone to your side to provide assistance.
If the victim is on his stomach, first place the victim's arm closest to you above his head. Then turn him over by placing one hand on the victim's hip and the other hand at the victim's shoulder. Turn the body in a smooth, even straight line so as to not cause further injury in the event of existing spinal cord injury. With the victim now on his back, OPEN THE VICTIM'S AIRWAY by placing the heel of your hand on the victim's forehead and the tips of your fingers under the bony part of the jaw. Push down on the forehead while lifting up the chin until the jaw is pointing straight up. Now place your ear over the victim's mouth and LOOK, LISTEN & FEEL for breathing for 3 to 5 seconds. LOOK at the chest to see if it is rising, LISTEN for sounds of breathing and FEEL for air coming from the victim.
IF THE VICTIM IS NOT BREATHING, RESCUE BREATHING IS REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY!
Rescue breathing will provide vital oxygen to a victim who cannot breath on their own. After giving a victim two breaths, the pulse is checked at the Carotid Artery to ascertain if the victim has a heartbeat. This artery is located on the side of the neck and is found by first positioning the fingers on the victim's Adam's Apple, then sliding the fingers down into the soft groove on the side of the neck. The pulse is checked for 5 to 10 seconds.
If the victim has a heartbeat, but is not breathing, RESCUE BREATHING is required. If the victim is NOT breathing AND does NOT have a HEARTBEAT, CPR is required without delay!
These initial steps of checking the AIRWAY, BREATHING and CIRCULATION (pulse), together with a check for major BLEEDING, constitute THE PRIMARY SURVEY, which looks for life-threatening conditions!
IMMEDIATE FIRST AID TREATMENT
IMPORTANT WHILE THIS TUTORIAL IDENTIFIES LIFE THREATENING CONDITIONS REQUIRING RESCUE BREATHING OR CPR, THESE SKILLS REQUIRE INTENSIVE TRAINING AND PRACTICE.