When Someone Collapses: How to Respond

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

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Have you ever wondered what you would do if someone collapsed in front of you? Hopefully it's something you'll never face, but it's a reality many have had to deal with. If this were to happen, would you know how to respond? Having some first aid training is useful in emergency situations, but what if you've never been taught? Here are some things you should do if someone collapses in front of you.

Keep Yourself Safe
The first rule of helping anyone else is to keep yourself safe first. You won't improve the situation by getting yourself in trouble too. Before you try helping the person, make sure it's safe for you to do so. This involves a few common sense checks- for example, could there be an issue with electricity or structural issues with the building that could be dangerous? Is there traffic that could pose a danger if the person collapsed on the road? Are there any chemicals or dangerous substances, or did the person fall into water?

Calling for Help
Calling for help as soon as possible is imperative when someone collapses. Even if they have only briefly fainted, it's still important for them to be checked out at a hospital. There are two types of help to ask for. First, see if there is anyone on the scene who can lend assistance. They might have first aid training, or they could just lend a hand. You will need to call an ambulance as soon as possible to get someone on the scene, and receive instruction from the call handler. They can talk you through checking the person's airways and administering CPR or other emergency measures.

Checking Response
When someone collapses, you need to check if they're able to respond. Talking to them to see if they can hear you is the first step. If they remain unconscious, you should check their airway. Use your eyes and ears, and see if you can feel their breath too. Putting someone in the recovery position will keep their airway open. 

Emergency Assistance
You or someone else might have to provide emergency measures on the scene. If CPR is required, first see if anyone is trained to provide it. If you call 999, an operator will at least be able to talk you through it if not. If you are in a public place, there might be a defibrillator available, which can be necessary if someone has had a cardiac arrest. If you check on a defibrillator like a PAD 360P, it will show you instructions for how to use it. You don't need training, and you can use one on adults and children over a year old.

Watching someone collapse and dealing with the aftermath can be a shock. If you have to go through it, consider talking to someone about it afterwards.


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