Save a Coworker’s Life and Learn First Aid!

June is national safety month.  Companies around the country will be reminding workers to practice safe habits in the workplace and at home, but are you also keeping the health of your coworkers in mind?

Learning basic first aid techniques can save the lives of your family members, friends and coworkers, and can be fun! Practicing these techniques can make homes and workplaces safer for everyone:

CPR and Defibrillators

To administer CPR on an unresponsive person who is not breathing or whose heart has stopped beating due to a heart attack, drowning or other medical emergency, follow the steps of CAB (compression, airway, and breathing.) Dial 911 before beginning, and follow the instructions on an AED defibrillator if one is available.  If you are not trained in CPR, then administer hands-only CPR.

Compression

Place the heel of one hand atop the chest and between the nipples, and the other on top of the first hand. Use your upper body to push down on the chest, approximately two inches. Begin pumping about 100 compressions per minute. After 30 compressions, move to the next step.

Airway

Tilt the person’s head back and lift the chin forward. Check for rising chest motion, listen for breathing sounds and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ears. If the person is not breathing normally, move to the next step.

Breathing

Pinch the person’s nostrils shut and cover his or her mouth with yours. Blow one breath, lasting for about one second, into the person’s mouth and check for breathing. Administer a second breath. If the person still is not breathing normally, begin the cycle over. Continue until the person is breathing normally or emergency medical help arrives.

Choking

If a person is experiencing inability to breath due to choking, begin the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the blockage. The universal sign for choking is the hands clutching the neck.

Steps

  1. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the waist.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and place it slightly above the person’s navel.
  3. Grab the fist with the other hand, and press hard into the abdomen in an upward thrust. Continue until the blockage is dislodged or emergency medical personnel arrive.

Heat Exhaustion and Hypothermia

Working in extreme weather conditions can cause heat exhaustion- or the opposite, hypothermia. Understand the signs of both, and what to do when they occur.

Heat Exhaustion

Signs: Dizziness, nausea or vomiting, heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, flushed face, weakness or fatigue

How to treat: Immediately remove the person from the source of heat and into a cool environment, or the heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. Lay the person down and elevate the legs. Give the person water to drink, and spray them with cool water. Call 911.

Hypothermia

Signs: Shivering, slurred speech, shallow breathing, weak pulse, clumsiness, drowsiness, confusion

How to treat: Remove the person from the cold, if possible. Protect the person from the cold, especially around the neck and head. Gradually warm the person, beginning with the center of the body. DO NOT warm the person with a hot bath, and do not attempt to warm or massage the arms or legs. Call 911.

Knowing basic first aid techniques can help protect ourselves and those around us. This month, take time to practice these methods, and always be aware of your surroundings.

To have emergency first aid information with you at all times, you can download theAmerican Red Cross First Aid app for your phone. A full list of first aid techniques for other medical emergencies can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid

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