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When To Call 999

Prompt, effective first-aid treatment can save a life – it’s that simple. It can also prevent a condition from worsening or a minor injury from becoming major. However, it can often be difficult to know when to treat a patient, and when to call the emergency services – but iFast’s professional first aid training courses will ensure that your staff are equipped not just to deal with a casualty, but to know when they should call the experts.

medical emergencies

In the hopefully very rare event of a medical emergency in the work place, as well as treating a patient, or summoning the emergency services, there are also a few Golden Rules which can make a difference until help, if required, arrives:

  1. Maintain your own safety: if you put yourself at risk, you may not be able to help the casualty at all.
  2. Remain calm and ask a colleague to assist.
  3. Call an ambulance if necessary – listening attentively to any instructions if casualty is unconscious, bleeding out or having difficulty breathing.
  4. Request assistance from a designated first aider.
  5. Make the casualty safe: remove any dangers from the area.
  6. Stay with the casualty, observing and talking calmly where applicable. It may become apparent that an ambulance is now required, or transport to the Accident and Emergency department.

knowing when you need an ambulance

Of course, we’re all now acutely aware that the Ambulance Service and A&E departments nationwide are under tremendous pressure, much of which could be alleviated if correct procedure was followed and everyone knew exactly when they should call 999 – and indeed, when they shouldn’t. Calling an ambulance should be only for for serious illness or injury and as a rule of thumb, certain symptoms will always require an ambulance, no question, as these can be life-threatening:

  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness
  • heavy bleeding
  • sudden collapse
  • severe allergic reactions
  • serious burns
  • choking
  • seizures
  • obvious open fractures

The key is ‘life-threatening’. However, even if it’s not immediately apparent that a casualty is in real difficulty, an experienced, well-trained first-aider’s instinct can be a reliable indicator. If there’s any doubt at all it’s usually best to be on the safe side – or at the very least to consult 111, a doctor or pharmacist – or, if it’s not a life-threatening emergency but requires medical help fast, visit A&E. The more staff who attend first aid courses, the better and the more staff will benefit.

Health and Safety at work are your responsibility and you have a duty of care to your workforce, as well as a legal obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees. Don’t leave it to chance – equip your staff with the knowledge and skills to make a difference – or save a life.