Get SET for Safety this Summer

Hiking man helping his girl friend climbing a rock while travelling together in sunny outdoors

This summer while on vacation or at work, injuries can happen, so it is important to know what to do to keep your friends and family safe. St. John Ambulance, Canada’s leading first aid, and CPR charity, offers some summer safety tips to get us SET™ for Safety with Safety Education and Tools.

Emergency Scene Management – If you’re the first person to arrive at the scene of an emergency, it’s crucial to make sense out of the chaos. Take charge of the situation. Look for hazards and make the area safe. Try to find out what happened. Identify yourself and get permission to help. Is the injured person responding? If not, get medical help immediately. Make sure the airway is open. Check for breathing. Give CPR if needed. Check for shock and severe bleeding and give first aid if needed. Reassure the injured person that help is on the way. Provide care until medical help takes over. Don’t give anything by mouth. Record details of the incident and the first aid that was given. Give a report to the paramedics when they arrive.

Burns – It is simple to avoid sunburns by using an appropriate sunscreen protection. However, severe burns can happen quickly in the summer inside or outside the home. The size, location, and depth determine the severity of the injury. Immerse the burn in cold water to relieve pain. Cover the burn with a dry, sterile dressing and bandage it lightly. Do not use ointments. If the burns are on the face, the breathing of the patient must be monitored. Get medical help if the injury is serious.

Unconsciousness – If you discover someone unconscious, send for medical help immediately. If the person is on his back, the tongue could drop to the back of the throat and block the airway. Ensure an open airway and adequate breathing. Check circulation. If you don’t suspect a head or spinal injuries, turn him onto his side with his head tilted back for drainage. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Check airway, circulation and breathing often.

Fractures – It is the sound everyone dreads – the crack or crunch of breaking bones. For a fracture, steady and support the injured limb. Do not move the person. Dress wounds and control bleeding. Check for circulation beyond the site of the fracture. If impaired, get medical help quickly. If the injured person must be moved from the site, make sure to secure the patient’s limb with padded splints and bandages. Reassure the injured person and keep him warm.

Shock- Shock is more than surprise – it means there is inadequate blood circulation in the body. This can be life threatening. You need to recognize trauma and care for it immediately. Know the signs; Watch for restlessness, decreased consciousness, pale skin color, profuse sweating, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and a weak, rapid pulse. Loosen tight clothing at neck, chest, and waist. Reassure the injured person, and keep warm. Monitor airway, breathing, and circulation. Give CPR if the person stops breathing. Don’t give the person anything by mouth.

Wounds & Bleeding – Cover the wound with a pad of clean, preferably sterile dressings. Wear vinyl gloves if available and apply direct pressure to the wound. Help the injured person sit or to lie down. If blood soaks through the dressings, don’t remove them. Add more dressings and continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops. Bandage dressings in place. Give first aid for shock.

St. John Ambulance has 23 branches in BC and can provide you with first aid training and emergency products to empower you to take charge of injuries and emergencies this summer. Please get SET for Safety at work, home, and play. www.sja.ca or www.shopsafetyproducts.ca