Anyone can one day be confronted with an emergency situation: a heart attack in the middle of the street, a choking child, an accident… We are not all trained in first aid, but we are able to intervene in our own way to help. The Red Cross lists a number of simple actions and a procedure in four steps per calamity.
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Rescue in four steps
If you witness an accident, illness, fall, or other problem that endangers people, there are four steps to follow, according to the Red Cross. They make it possible to correctly grasp the situation, regardless of the circumstances.
- Securing the accident site and the people involved: it is about assessing the risks (traffic, fire, etc.), ensuring the safety of the victims as much as possible without endangering themselves and the security perimeter†
- Assess the victim’s condition: It is important to communicate with her by introducing yourself, explaining her intentions, and reassuring her, with the evaluation of her state of consciousness being essential for the rest of her treatment.
- Ask for help: careless emergency service contacted (fire brigade, Samu, police, etc.), they should be given as much information as possible (telephone number, name, location, nature of the problem, circumstances, victim’s condition, first measures taken, etc.).
- Carry out first aid actions†
The basic gestures
In case of choking, for example during a meal, the Red Cross advises two techniques that only apply to adults and children older than one year:
- blows to the back to support the victim’s chest, repeat no more than five times,
- abdominal compressions, which consist of encircling the victim with his arms at the level of the abdomen and pushing his fist between the navel and the sternum, up to five times.
In case of bleeding, pressure should be applied to the wound with the hands (by asking the victim to do it himself or by protecting the hands) and then put the person down while maintaining the pressure. If you have to free yourself, for example to alarm, The Red Cross explains how to apply a relay buffer.
If the victim is unconscious, the airway should be cleared by tilting his head back and lifting his chin to lift the tongue into the back of the throat. It is important to loosen the person’s collar, tie, and belt. Subsequently, the Red Cross advises checking whether the victim is breathing and placing him in a safe side position, described here†
If the victim is unconscious and not breathing normally, they are in cardiac arrest† Once help is called, it can be life-saving to alternate chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth (30 compressions over 2 breaths) until they arrive. The technique of these two gestures is explained on the site of La Croix Rouge. In addition, some places are now equipped with automated external defibrillators (trains, public places, etc.), in which case it is sufficient to bare the victim’s chest, keep everyone at a distance so that no one comes into contact with them, and follow the instructions of the device.
In the case of heart disease, the victim complains of chest pain and possible breathing difficulties, abdominal pain, nausea… After the emergency services have been notified, Red Cross recommends placing the person in a comfortable position and regularly checking that they are conscious and breathing.