4 Dos and Don’ts in an Emergency

It’s more than just stop-drop-and-roll.

1. Don’t…
Move someone who has been in a serious fall or accident

Her neck or back might be broken, a broken rib could puncture a lung, or you could make a break much worse.

Do This Instead
Leave her where she is. If the person is in danger (a car fire, for example), recruit three or four bystanders to help you lift the victim without altering the relative position of her body, especially the neck.

2. Don’t…
Begin first aid without calling 911 first

Even though your instinct is to help the victim first, he needs professional help to arrive as quickly as possible.

Do This Instead
Make the call or instruct a specific bystander to do it.

3. Don’t…
Refuse medical treatment after you’ve been in an accident

Your body releases adrenaline and other pain-killing hormones in an emergency, and they can mask the pain from serious injuries.

Do This Instead
Listen to the medical staff on the scene. Take their advice, especially if they want to take you to the ER for further observation.

4. Don’t…
Pull a knife, piece of metal, or stick out of a deep wound

You could damage organs or trigger uncontrollable bleeding.

Do This Instead
Carefully place a cloth or bandage around the object to stanch the bleeding, and keep the person as calm and still as possible until help arrives.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest