6 Basic Emergency Skills You Might Save Someone’s Life With

by Scott Elliot

Tragedy can strike at any time.

Whether you are at the office, at school, at home, taking a vacation somewhere, or simply going about your neighborhood to run errands, you may never know when a life-threatening event can arise.

Life is full of black swan events that are unpredictable, and you’ll never know when you’ll find yourself in a similar situation.

Granted, community resources exist. These include emergency hotlines like 911. And those critical moments between the incident and between emergency services arriving can spell the difference between life and death.

It might be an immediate family member or relatives, close friends, acquaintances, workmates, or a stranger you passed by in the streets – you never know who might need help.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 basic skills everyone should know which can surely come in handy in emergency situations.


Learn how to do CPR

It is safe to say that cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, is probably the most widely recognized first aid skill. If performed correctly, this skill can restore breathing, resume blood circulation, and avoid permanent brain damage (note that irreversible brain damage can happen within 4 minutes without oxygen!) in the affected individual. This skill helps respond to individuals under cardiac arrest who may be unresponsive, unconscious, and have stopped breathing.

While there are a lot of videos and tutorials over the internet which teach us how to do CPR correctly, it is still highly recommended to get in-person training. After all, it is difficult to gauge how deep and how fast each chest compression should be from our screens. With the help of a dummy, we can practice our skills better and make ourselves confident in doing one to a real person if the situation calls for it! Sure, it takes time and effort to invest in learning this skill, but you’d probably thank yourself in the future for it.


Know how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver

6 Basic Emergency Skills You Might Save Someone’s Life WithChoking is a highly common cause of accidental deaths.

Especially with kids who might be at an age where they want to explore everything in their surroundings, choking could bring danger.

It could also happen even to us adults. Do you remember how to do the Heimlich?

In this maneuver, the Red Cross recommends leaning the choking person over your arm, putting your arm under theirs and across their chest, and giving them 5 hard hits on the back with your other arm. In most cases, this should do the trick of dislodging the obstructing object from their windpipe/throat. However, if doing this does not resolve the issue, it is time to proceed with abdominal thrusts.


Learn how to use a defibrillator

As we know, CPR is often done until the automated external defibrillator (aka AED) is available on site. The AED is a machine used to restart the heartbeat by producing and sending an electric shock to the heart and is usually utilized by the responding emergency medical technicians (EMT).

But what most people may not know is that defibrillators are also provided for and are readily accessible in several areas within communities like their workplaces, grocery stores, public parts, etc.

Plus, upon turning on the AED, there is often an automated voice that will give instructions and guide you on how to properly use them. This way, help can be provided immediately as needed, especially at times where help can take longer than expected or at remote locations that are not immediately accessible to EMTs.


Know how to respond to drowning

Going to the beach or the pool for a swim is summer pastime for many of us. But the hazards are real. Drowning is a very real risk, which requires a trained eye to spot. That’s because most individuals experiencing water distress may even appear normal to other people.

What do you do when you identify someone who might be experiencing water distress?

Contrary to your instincts of jumping head on to the water immediately, you should be aware that a drowning person can cause you to drown as they grab on to you and try to keep themselves afloat.

Therefore, it is recommended that you throw a floater or reach over using a rope, branches, or anything they can hold on to. Another alternative to this would be to wait until the person has calmed down a bit and try to grab the person from behind, then drag them to safety. This way, you can ensure the safety of both you and the person you are rescuing. Remember that you cannot save someone if you are drowning too!


Learn how to administer a tourniquet

6 Basic Emergency Skills You Might Save Someone’s Life WithAccidents can happen anytime and anywhere, and you might witness someone deeply wounded and profusely bleeding. In this situation, knowing how to do a tourniquet properly will definitely be a welcome advantage.

It is a fact that severe blood loss can lead to untimely death. Thankfully, doing a tourniquet can prevent that from happening, as it temporarily stops blood flow into the area of injury.


Know how to provide first aid for severe burns

Burn injuries can vary in their severity (first, second, and third-degree), their cause (electric, fire, chemical), and their extent (limbs, face, full body). And because of this, their management can vary tremendously as well. Particularly for severe burns (aka third-degree burns), they would most definitely require immediate medical attention, and the first aid response to such events is extremely crucial to what the outcome would be.

Hence, doctors and experts encourage people to read about how to manage different burn cases while waiting for the ambulance. Who knows, you might be saving a life someday!

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