Knowing what to do during an emergency can save human lives. If one knows how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation of people, for example, it will go a long way in averting sudden death.
The aim of resuscitation is to help the failing heart come back to life or to keep it functioning while waiting for a doctor to arrive. The term “basic life support,” also known as BLS, is used in the medical field to distinguish the types of medical care necessary to sustain someone’s life until they can receive more detailed care in the event of a medical emergency.
Basic life support is most likely to be needed when somebody is choking, there is cardiac arrest and when a person suddenly slumps or is near-drowning.
There are three main components that someone would want to check when performing BLS. They are circulation, airway and breathing.
First, the patient’s circulation will need to be checked by making sure his or her heart is beating properly so that blood can pump to the organs. In some cases, chest compressions may need to be performed to ensure that blood is circulating throughout the body.
The person’s airway also should be checked for foreign objects, sputum or vomit to make sure that he or she is able to breathe freely. Breathing should also be checked to ensure that the patient is getting vital oxygen into his lungs and the body.
Assessing a casualty
The three priorities when dealing with a casualty are commonly referred to as ABC, which stands for:

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation
  • Airway
  • If the casualty appears to be unresponsive, ask loudly if he is okay and if he can open his eyes. If he responds, you can leave him in that position until help arrives. While you wait, keep checking his breathing, pulse and level of response: Is he alert? Does he respond to your voice? Is there no response to any stimulus (is he  unconscious)
  • If there is no response, leave the casualty in his position and open his airway. If this isn’t possible, gently lie him on his back and open his airway.
  • Breathing
  • To check if a person is still breathing, see if his chest is rising and falling, listen over his mouth and nose for breathing sounds, feel his breath against your cheek for 10 seconds. If he is breathing normally, place him on his side so that his  airway remains clear of obstructions and continue to monitor normal breathing.Gasping or irregular breathing is not normal breathing. If the casualty isn’t breathing, call 767 or 112 for an ambulance and then begin cardiopulmonary respiration.
  • CirculationI
  • f the casualty isn’t breathing normally, you must start chest compressions immediately. Agonal breathing is sudden, irregular gasps of breath. This shouldn’t be mistaken for normal breathing.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone,  untrained bystanders, passers-by and medical personnel alike, begin CPR with chest compressions.
  • It’s far better to do something than to do nothing at all, if you are fearful that your knowledge or abilities are not 100 percent complete. Remember, the difference between your doing something and doing nothing could be someone’s life.
    Signs that a person is not breathing or needs urgent medical help
  • Blue lips, fingernails and/or toenails
  • Cold and clammy and bluish or purplish skin
  • Not responding to squeezing of shoulders or shouting
  • Gurgling and vomiting without waking up
  • Shallow or very slow breathing or no breathing (10 seconds between breaths) If you notice any of these signs you need to take immediate action.
  • Lifeless body or unresponsiveness.
  •  In conclusion, remember the following DON’TS when in emergency situations
  • DON’T ignore someone who is vomiting; has fainted; is confused or irrational; or who has trouble breathing.
  • DON’T leave a person intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs alone.
  • DON’T give palm oil, fluids (even water) or food to someone who is in shock, convulsing or unconscious.
  • DON’T give someone who is affected by alcohol or drugs, other drugs to either wake them up or calm them down.
  • DON’T forget to give the paramedics or ambulance officers as much information as you can about what happened (eg what drug or drugs have been used, what you have done so far).
  • DON’T pour water or give onions to someone who is convulsing.
  • The American Heart Association said people who are not trained in CPR can provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive. To learn CPR properly, take an accredited first-aid training course, including CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) from an accredited provider in your neighourhood.

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