What to do in an emergency

1 Check

If disaster strikes, you may have to provide care. First assess the scene by evaluating:

  • Is the scene safe?
  • What happened?
  • How many injured people are there?
  • Are there bystanders who can help?

When providing care, begin by checking the person for life-threatening conditions.

2 Call

If you encounter one of the following types of emergencies, call 911.

  • Unconsciousness
  • No signs of life
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent chest pain or pressure

When in doubt, always call 911.

Stay calm and DO NOT hang up until the EMS dispatcher instructs you to do so.

When calling 911, provide the following information to the dispatcher:

  • Your name and the number you are calling from
  • A description of what happened
  • Your exact location
  • The number of injured people
  • The condition of the person
  • What help is being given

3 Care

When providing care:

  • Reassure the person
  • Monitor the person’s airway, breathing and circulation
  • Help the person rest in the most comfortable position
  • Prevent the person from getting either chilled or overheated

Content provided by: American Red Cross

Used with permission. Edited by William Moore, MD, medical director of ETMC Emergency Medical Services.
This information was current as of Nov. 20, 2014.

For more information visit www.redcross.org