Importance of Accurate Communication in an Emergency

emergencyToday I went to a local pool and tennis club to inquire about a swimming membership. As I entered the main area, I overheard a woman say, “I don’t know what to do. She’s just lying on the floor and not moving.” Two more women quickly went into the women’s bathroom. I thought, well, this could be anything. Let’s see how this unfolds. I started to engage with someone at the front desk but we were then interrupted by one of those women saying, “Call 9-1-1! She’s unconscious.” Immediately, I decided to get involved.

Unconsciousness is a life-threatening situation when someone can no longer respond to you. It frequently is the beginning of cascading events in which the body shuts down in various ways – stopped breathing, no pulse, etc…

My years of training as a Red Cross CPR/First Aid Instructor had prepared me well for this moment. Mentally reviewing the ABC’s, (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) I introduced myself to the woman and she ushered me into the bathroom. As it turns out, the young woman, while pale and shaky, was still conscious – thank goodness! She was able to answer my questions such as are you a diabetic, do you have allergies, when was the last time you ate something, etc… It’s important to get as much information as you can just in case the person does go unconscious.

EMS personnel arrived promptly, I told them what I knew, and they took over the scene. She was still conscious as they placed her into the ambulance.

Lesson learned: In an emergency, if you can help, get involved. Clearly and accurately communicate what you know. And if someone is no longer responding to you, that means they are unconscious and they need immediate help. Call 9-1-1.

*Update – the young woman is fine. She was severely dehydrated.

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