When an emergency situation happens, the first reaction is to panic. Especially if you have never been in such a situation before. When there’s blood gushing everywhere, broken bones, ribs, or noses, anyone can go into a state of panic.
Yes, even if you happen to be a trained first aider. The adrenaline that courses through your body can make your heart beat faster and make it difficult to think clearly. That’s when mistakes often get made, when we can’t stay calm and think with a clear head.
Making mistakes is not something you should be afraid of. That’s a common fear that harbors inside the hearts of a lot of first aiders or first responders. What if I make a mistake when someone else’s life is in my hands? That should never be a fear that stops you from helping someone in need.
The important thing is that you have done your best to help, even if a mistake or two gets made along the way. Any kind of help is better than no help at all. In fact, you never know when your little bit of effort just might be the difference that saves someone’s life.
It’s not everyday we find ourselves in an emergency situation so panicking is very common. As for the mistakes? Well, there are always ways around that. Here are the most common mistakes individuals make when administering first aid and what you should do instead:
- Forgetting About Your Bleed Control Kit – Your bleed kit is part of your first aid arsenal for a reason. Tourniquets, pressure dressings, and gauze bandages are examples of life-saving bleeding control devices that the public may use to assist control bleeding and save lives. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to use any of these equipment, use them immediately. Bleed control kits are meant to heal wounds as effectively as possible. Each piece can be used on its own or in combination with others.
- Forgetting About Your Own Safety – As a first responder to a severe accident, you must prioritise your own safety. Your safety is just as important as the safety of the victim. If you are injured on the same spot, you will be unable to adequately give help and will require extra assistance from EMS. In your rush or desire to immediately help, many first responders often forget to check their surroundings before rushing to the scene. Ensure that the scene is safe, then seek for and manage the mechanism of damage, such as a bandsaw. If someone in our shop injures their hand seriously while using the bandsaw, we must first control that. Turn it off, disconnect it, whatever it takes to secure your safety so you can attend to the wounded person.
- Forgetting to Call 911 – Another mistake that often gets overlooked in the chaos and frenzy of the emergency situation is to call 911. Once you’ve assessed the severity of the situation after checking your own safety, quickly call 911 and alert them about what has happened. If the victim needs your immediate attention, get someone else in the surrounding vicinity to call while you get to work on your first aid.
- Not Trying to Stay Calm – You are the only one who can calm your emotions. As hard as it may be, you need to force yourself to take a deep breath and push aside all that panic that you feel. Giving in to worry, anxiety, and dread is another typical error done amid severe calamities. While these feelings might be beneficial in alerting our bodies that they are in danger and that we must act quickly and wisely, they can also be a hindrance in an emergency. That is to say, they can force you to freeze and focus solely on the tremendous influence of your emotions, preventing you from taking the brave measures necessary to keep yourself or your loved ones safe. You must be prepared to put panic aside for the time being in order to take the appropriate steps. There will be plenty of time for you to process your emotions and let it wash over you after the moment is over.
- Not Applying Tourniquets In the Right Place – A tourniquet is a compression device that is used to halt serious bleeding from a vein or artery. Tourniquets should only be used on limbs and not on joints such as the knees or elbows. You can go as high as possible on the limb or 1-2 inches above the incision. A tourniquet should only be loosened or removed with extreme caution once it has been placed. There is a misconception that if a tourniquet is applied, the victim would lose their limb. This is not the case. It’s based on old, out-of-date data. Keep in mind that one tourniquet may not be enough to stop the bleeding; if this is the case, the second tourniquet should be placed over the first. A correctly placed contemporary tourniquet can stay in place for hours before causing irreparable harm. Furthermore, a tourniquet may be the most effective treatment for the injury, and this alone exceeds the risk of limb loss. CAT and SOF-T tourniquets are the most often provided tourniquets, but beware of imitation versions.
- Trying to Move Someone Who Is Seriously Injured – If you’re the first person on the scene of a catastrophic accident, such as a vehicle accident or a serious sports injury, you might be inclined to try to move the individual to ensure they’re okay. When someone is seriously injured, your first instinct may be to believe that you need to move them to somewhere safe right away. It’s not a good idea. They might have a major spinal cord injury and any movement could result in irreversible neurological impairment or paralysis. The only time it’s okay to relocate a patient like this is if there’s an immediate threat of harm, such as a fire, explosion, or collapsing structure. If none of these threats are present, then call 911 and refrain from trying to move the victim.