Editor’s note: The following information does not replace certified first-aid training or the services of medical and emergency personnel.
Despite the best planning and training, medical emergencies can happen at your congregational events and worship services.
When a medical emergency strikes, the following steps should be taken immediately:
- Make sure the area is safe to enter before attending to the victim. If there is a down wire or other safety hazard, your own safety could be at stake.
- Do not attempt to move a stricken person unless the situation presents an immediate, serious hazard.
- Administer first aid only if you have proper training.
- Remain calm and call 911 or other local emergency assistance. Be ready to clearly state your address, location and phone number. Do not hang up until so instructed by the dispatcher.
- Once the victim is being cared for by medical personnel, prepare to provide any information that may be important in treating the injury or illness.
- Get the names and telephone numbers of all witnesses.
- Notify the victim’s family. Explain the situation calmly and accurately — do not attempt to offer a diagnosis of the medical emergency. Tell the family which hospital the patient is being taken to and the nature of care being provided.
- Cooperate with police and other investigators. Answer questions about the accident and give them contact information for the witnesses.
- Notify your insurance agent and provide details of the emergency and witness contact information. This will facilitate fast, equitable settlement of claims.
- See to the needs of others in your group.
- Witnessing a medical emergency or death is traumatic for all involved — especially children. Prepare to arrange support and counseling. Do not forget that you, too, might need support.