Posted on Aug 25, 2020, 2 p.m.
Extreme weather can happen anywhere at any given time, and there are some steps that you can take to help protect yourself and loved ones in the event of a weather emergency, are you prepared?
In regards to a weather emergency there is more to being prepared than planning on boarding up windows, stocking supplies, and making an evacuation route, you also need to plan for possible injuries. During any emergency it can be crucial to know how to keep a level head and perform a few life saving skills in the event that you are not able to get to a hospital. Sometimes one of the most important things you can do is to help a person stay calm to help prevent them from further injury.
Every home, boat and automobile should have a first aid kit. You can purchase one or assemble one of your own. For those looking for example to assemble your own The Red Cross provides assistance with this. While examining items to go into that first aid kit don’t forget to include a list of important medical phone numbers, a list of all medications with dosage and frequency, and emergency contact information. If you can it is a good idea to have a supply of critical medications on hand for anyone who may need them.
Consider becoming CPR certified, especially if you are a parent or caregiver. Should a person drown or become unconscious and not breathing it is important to start CPR right away. Keep in mind that CPR no longer requires mouth to mouth resuscitation, the most important part is to start quickly, and when in doubt start chest compressions quickly.
In the event of heavy bleeding it is important to remain calm and try to stop/slow the bleeding. There are also training courses that you can consider taking for this as well. In basic terms you want to try and stop/slow the bleeding by applying firm pressure on the wound with a sterile cloth. If blood seeps through do not remove the material as you want to promote clotting, continue to apply pressure. If the area can be raised above the heart level it may help to slow the bleeding. Do not remove any foreign objects embedded in the wound, apply padding around it and continue to hold pressure. Place any amputated appendages in a clean bag and then place it into cold water or ice if able to.
You may have to help a person with burns or even lightning strikes. If a person is unresponsive check for breathing and a pulse, start CPR if not detected. You won’t be electrocuted from another person that has been struck by lightning. In the case of burns carefully remove jewelry or restrictive clothing near the wound unless it is burned to the skin. Try to cool the affected area with a cold compress or clean cool running water, being careful around open bodies of water if caused by electrical currents which includes lightning. Also before approaching an unresponsive person be sure to look around the area to make sure it is safe to enter as there could be downed power lines, you can’t help if you get electrocuted yourself.
If you suspect that the head, neck, or back has been injured do not move the person. Call 911 immediately. In the case of extreme injuries attempt to keep the injured limb stable and free from movement, and apply ice gingerly if possible. Temporary splints can be made using common items like thin boards, magazines, or cardboard; wrap with tape or bandage until you can get proper medical attention.
Always remember R.I.C.E for sprains and strains. Rest and try not to put any weight on the area; Ice the injury to help prevent swelling with a cloth between the ice and skin; Compression helps to control swelling; Elevate the injury above the heart level if possible.
Being prepared can be important, but it is important to follow official instruction in the event of extreme weather conditions, do not put yourself in danger to rescue another person and when advised to evacuate please do so as soon as possible.
In an extreme weather event or disaster there could be limited medical resources, and where there is one there will be some sort of triage to determine priority based on the severity of injury. In these situations try to remain calm, and be patient and mindful as you will not be the only one waiting for help.
While these tips may prove to be helpful, they should not replace professional medical advice, or be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. It is always recommended to speak to a doctor or certified medical professional, and call one of these or 911 immediately after an event where an injury occurs.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement