May 2008 Safety Tip

 

"SCHOOL'S OUT!!! "

May is the beginning of the summer break for many, particularly students. Summer break is the time when more people are exposed to accidents and injuries because they tend to let 'safety go on vacation' as well. However, May should also be the time for everyone to learn and maintaining Basic First Aid and CPR (cardiopulminary resusitation) training, especially before taking that summer trip, or even hanging around the pool.

Many organizations, Maricopa County included, offer their employees first aid and CPR training. Some community organizations offer this training to the public for a nominal fee. Regardless how you participate, having this training may help you save someone's life.

FIRST AID KITS

A necessity for every house and car should be a first-aid kit. You can pruchase one that is already made up, or you can make one on your own. The kit should be properly stocked and kept in easy reach to help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice.

If you make your own first aid kit, choose containers that are roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes, household-sized tool boxes, or art storage containers are ideal as they are lightweight, spaceous, and have handles.

Your first-aid kits should, at a minimum, contain the following items:

  • first-aid manua
  • adhesive tape and sterile gauze,
  • adhesive bandages in several sizes
  • elastic bandage
  • antiseptic wipes, soap, antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment), antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide), or alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
  • hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • acetaminophen and aspirin (aspirin is not recommended for children under age 12)
  • disposable instant cold packs
  • calamine lotion
  • tweezers and sharp scissors
  • safety pins
  • thermometer
  • plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs, also some people are allergic to latex gloves)
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • mouthpiece for administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
  • your list of emergency phone numbers
  • blanket (a regular blanket stored nearby, or a "space blanket" which can be stored in your automobile kit)
  • extra prescription medications (if going on vacation)
After you have purchased/stocked your first-aid kits, read all of first-aid manual so you can understand how to use the contents of your kits. You should also review the various procedures and kit components with your children if they are old enough to understand. Store your first-aid kits in places that are out of small children's reach but easily accessible for adults. Check your kits regularly, and replace missing or outdated items. You can read more about first aid kits at Numours Foundation and Kids Health.org (opens as a seperate window). To learn more about specific topics requiring first aid, go to the MayoClinic.com (also opens as a seperate window) and type "first aid" in the search text box at the top of the page.

CPR - CARDIO-PULMONARY RESUSCITATION
&
AED - AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS

In some emergencies, the victim's breathing stops, their heart stops pumping, or both. In these life-threatening instances, it is important to know how to administer CPR, and to use an AED if one needed and is readily available. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, life-support techniques should be performed in the following order:

  • Call for help.
  • Restore breathing if breathing has stopped (particularly important for children pulled from the water).
  • Restore circulation if there is no heartbeat or pulse.
  • Stop any bleeding.
  • Treat for shock.

NOTE: BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO ADMINISTER FIRST AID, CPR AND/OR USE AN AED, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE THE APPROPRIATE TRAINING.

The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross both provide formal training. Their training programs allow adequate time to practice on a training mannequin under close observation and supervision of a certified instructor. These organizations' local chapters, as well as your local fire department, for a training schedule. Your employer may also provide this training (County emplyees, please contact the Safety Office for the First Aid/CPR training schedule).

Always perform all life support techniques as quickly as possible after an injury. Brain damage ususally occurs 4 to 6 minutes after cardiopulmonary arrest and the severity of this damage increases each minute there-after.

The American Heart Association uses the term "ABC" to represent the three major life-support functions restored by CPR:

A - Airway
B - Breathing
C - Circulation

CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION IS AS EASY AS "A B C"

The following is a brief synopsis of how to perfom CPR on an adult (infants and children are slightly different):

A - AIRWAY - GET IT OPEN
Place the victim flat on his/her back on a hard surface.
Shake victim at the shoulders and shout "are you okay?"
If there is no response, you or someone nearby calls the emergency medical system - 911 - to get professional help on its way.
Then head-tilt/chin-lift open victim's airway by tilting their head back with one hand while lifting up their chin with your other hand.

B - BREATHING - GET IT STARTED
Position your cheek close to victim's nose and mouth, look toward victim's chest, and "Look, Listen, and Feel" for breathing (5-10 seconds)
If not breathing, pinch victim's nose closed and give 2 full breaths into victim's mouth (use a microshield or similar barrier to prevent transmission of infection as well as to keep any vomit from entering your mouth).
If your rescue breaths won't go in, reposition the head and try again to give breaths.
If still blocked, perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver).

C - CIRCULATION - GET THE BLOOD TO THE BRAIN
Check for carotid pulse by feeling for 5-10 seconds at side of victims' neck.
If there is a pulse but victim is not breathing, give rescue breathing at rate of 1 breath every 5 seconds or 12 breaths per minute.

If there is no pulse, begin chest compressions as follows:
Place the heel of one hand on lower part of victim's sternum. With your other hand directly on top of first hand and arms locked straight, depress sternum 1.5 to 2 inches.
Perform 15 compressions to every 2 breaths. (rate: 80-100 per minute).
Check for return of pulse every minute.
CONTINUE UNINTERRUPTED UNTIL ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE.

AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS

AEDs are pre-programmed devices used to provide treatment/care for cardiac arrest (heart attack) victims. They are becoming more common as a standard first aid tool as is the 'first aid kit' in airplanes and public buildings. AEDs provide an electric charge that interupts the fibrillation, or rapid uncoordinated contractions of the heart, and allows it to begin beating regularly again. Becasue these devices are now becoming more commonplace, please contact the Safety Office or your local American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or local fire department for more information regarding AED training.

USEFUL TERMS

The following are some useful terms to know when performing first aid, CPR or AED.

ADULT--for first aid purposes, an individual over 8 years old
AED--automated external defibrillator
BABY/INFANT--for first-aid purposes, a child under one year old
BRADYCARDIA--a slow heartbeat
CHILD--for first-aid purposes, over one year old and up to the age of 8
CPR--cardiopulmonary resuscitation
FRACTURE--a break or crack in a bone
HEAT EXHAUSTION--a condition where the body's core temperature rises above normal (98 F) and the individual feels sick and dizzy
HEAT STROKE--very serious condition when the victim's body loses ability to regulate its own temperature and the internal or core temperature rises to a dangerous level (104 F and above)
HYPOTHERMIA--the body's core temperature becomes too cold (below 95 F - it happens in Arizona!)
HYPOXIA--low level of oxygen being supplied to the body
LACERATION--a rough, ripped wound
MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION (MI)--heart attack
SHOCK--insufficient oxygen getting to where it is needed in the body, ineffective blood circulation
TACHYCARDIA--the heart is beating too quickly
UNCONSCIOUSNESS--the interruption of the brain's normal activity such that it is no longer aware of its surroundings

We would like to thank Numours Foundation and Kids Health.org, the MayoClinic.com, the American Heart Association, and the American Red Cross for allowing us to link to their respective websites. Please note that all their posted information is protected by copywrite and requires permission to use.

 


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