Monday, 7 January 2008

Responding to Emergencies

Knowing what to do when an emergency strikes can be the critical difference between saving or loosing a life, including your own. Perhaps I should begin by giving a simple definition of emergency. Simply put, emergency is a sudden unforeseen crisis (usually involving hazards or its releases) that requires immediate action. There are emergencies all over the world: Nigeria has had its own share, greatly you want to say. I won’t give examples here because the list is endless and I know as you read this piece, several cases come handy – those you have heard, read about, seen or possibly was involved. It’s definitely not an experience you want to have again! Do I hear someone say 'In Jesus name!'
There are many types of emergencies that can strike. I will not try to get into all of them here. However, there are a few areas I want to focus on in this short article and then I hope to encourage you to seriously consider taking time out to learn the best ways to handle varying emergencies that we are mostly likely to face - at home, work or even at play.
There are two things that are absolutely critical when it comes to emergency response. One is preparation. Have a plan; get some training, equipment, contacts and advice, etc. The other is assessment;
assess the situation before you act. If you come across someone on the ground, in obvious distress, something made them thatway. That something could still be there, so be sure to know what is going on before you jump in.
At the home front
When it comes to being prepared, the first step for every family is to have a plan. Do you have a plan for emergency evacuation of your home in case of a fire or any other emergency? Do your children and others that stay with you understand the plan? When it comes to being prepared for emergencies, one of the most important things you can do is take the time to become at the minimum, a trained first aider and learn how to save someone else’s life in crisis period without any risk to your own safety.
What about assessment? Here are the basics. When you come across someone in distress stop and take a moment to look around. That person may be having a seizure, or may be suffering an electrical shock that is actually ongoing and will also put you at risk if you touch him.
Take a moment to take a breath, look, listen, and pay attention to that little voice inside you as well. It’s the voice of safety. Simply ask: What caused this? Get an answer before you proceed to assisting, otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for a disaster. That’s assessment and it’s as simple as that, although difficult to do.
If you are in doubt, don't do it!
'Emotion is not a control measure in safety management' and if you don't believe this, find out from people who have acted on emotions instead of controlled assessments.
Watch before you leap and if you considered it unsafe, don't do it; no matter who is involved!

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