Emergency Medical Services

Simple First Aid

An emergency is any situation where a person gets hurt or sick and needs help quickly. You may be faced with an emergency and may have to act on your own before an medical help arrives. Here are a few simple tips to help you maintain control of a frightening situation.

In the event of an emergency:

  • Remain calm. Your attitude will help the person you're caring for remain calm.
  • Make sure that it is safe to approach the person who is sick or hurt. If it is unsafe due to electricity, fire, or possible toxic atmosphere, do not go near that person.
  • Call 911 for help. If someone is with you, have them make the call. Give the person who answers your name, telephone number, the address of the problem, and the type of emergency you have. Do not hang up until the operator tells you to.

Bleeding

In a situation where a person is bleeding, you can stop the bleeding with direct pressure to the bleeding area. Brush away any debris you can see. Clean the injury with soap and water. Apply a sterile dressing or bandage to the wound as soon as possible to avoid the potential for infection. If the bleeding continues through the dressing, apply another dressing over the first you can apply pressure to the dressing to help stop the bleeding. To aid the process, raise the limb to let gravity work for you.

Bone and Joint Injuries

You might suspect that a person might have a broken bone due to signs and symptoms that the person displays or the manner in which they were injured. Common bone and joint injuries are:

Fractures (Broken Bones) - a break in the continuity of the bone. These may be closed (no open wound) or open (an open wound).

Signs & Symptoms - deformity, pain, swelling and discoloration, loss of function (cannot move the limb), grating sound on moving the limb, or exposed bone ends.
Dislocation - displacement of a bone end from its joint surface.

Signs & Symptoms - pain or feeling of pressure, loss of movement of the joint, deformity, and numbness or tingling.

Sprains - injuries in which ligaments are partially torn. These usually happen when a joint is suddenly twisted beyond its normal range.

Strains - an overstretching of muscles and tendons.

Signs & Symptoms - pain, swelling, discoloration, usually do not cause deformity.

In the event of Bone or Joint injury:

  • Remove clothing from around the suspected injury.
  • If an open fracture (a break in the skin), clean away the debris. Cover with a sterile dressing.
  • Splint in the position found.
  • Do not attempt to push bone ends back into the wounded area or make an attempt to straighten the extremity.
  • Get medical help.

Put I.C.E. on Your Phone
I.C.E. stands for "In Case of Emergency." In situations where a potential victim is unable to provide important information to attending EMTs, a victim's phone can speak for them. If you add an entry in the contacts list of your phone under ICE, with the name and phone number of persons to contact in cases of emergency, you can save valuable time in potential life-saving efforts.

The Fire Department offers First Aid/CPR training for your convenience. Please contact the Berkeley Fire Department for more information.