Lifestar: Expert advice

Shumaker, Baldwin, Childers and Carie give advice for when the public faces an emergency

• Learn CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). In buildings with AEDs, those responsible for their upkeep should make sure the machines are checked weekly for working batteries and extra electrode pads, and ensure all employees know the location of the machine.

• If you witness an accident, call 911, help if you can, and stay at the scene to provide first responders with accident details. “It helps prepare us for what we need to call in,” Childers said. For instance, she said, a witness to a recent fatal accident shared how one vehicle hit the other at an angle, and that information helped responders determine how to extricate a victim.

• Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street, either posted on the house, on a mailbox, or curb.

• Have a Vial of Life (a container with a list of current medications/conditions, often kept on a refrigerator shelf), a medic-alert bracelet, or sign up for a life-alert system. The medication list should include names of family doctors and pharmacies.

• Know basic first aid and have quick access to basic supplies, like bandages, tourniquets, alcohol or peroxide. Have a safety plan for tornadoes and an escape plan for house fires. Have a weather radio and keep fresh batteries in your smoke/fire and carbon-monoxide alarms.

• Know what to do with allergic reactions and asthma attacks. If you or a family member have severe allergies, make sure you have an EpiPen available and it’s up-to-date.

• Teach children their correct address, phone number, and their parent/guardian’s first and last names. Make sure they know how to call 911 and when it’s appropriate.

• Call for help immediately when someone falls; those who live alone or work alone should keep a cellphone in a pocket where it’s readily available.

• Keep a blanket, water, snacks, cellphone charger and first aid kit in the car (and your tornado safe space), along with a copy of the medication list.

• During hotter months, make sure the elderly or ill have access to air conditioning or a fan; everyone should stay hydrated and use sunscreen. During cooler months, make sure friends and family have proper heat.

Share This