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Falck San Diego Emergency Responders Offer Crisis Preparedness Tips
By Loralee Olejnik, Community Education Specialist, Falck San Diego
A wildfire or an earthquake can strike at any time and we should all be prepared. But every day, hundreds of people in our community call 911 for medical emergencies, which can be as personally devastating as a natural disaster.
This month, as you practice your evacuation plans and assemble your emergency kits, we encourage you to also be ready for 911 medical emergencies. Prepare with the following tips:
- Learn CPR: About 356,000 people in our country experience sudden cardiac arrest each year. This emergency, when the heart stops beating and someone becomes unconscious, can happen without warning. Bystanders who perform CPR and use nearby automated external defibrillators save lives. There are short, hands-only CPR lessons offered across the community at no cost. You don’t need to have a certification card to perform CPR or use a defibrillator. Just know the basics of calling 911 and pressing hard and fast in the center of the chest.
- Complete a “Vial of Life” Form: If a medical emergency occurs, having all your information together in one place and easily accessible for emergency responders saves valuable time. This can be accomplished by completing a “Vial of Life” form. This document contains medical history, emergency contact information, and special instructions as what to do with pets. The County of San Diego offers a free Vial of Life form for download.
- Clear a path: Make it easier for emergency responders to reach you by ensuring your address is clearly visible from the street, especially at night. Painting your house number on the curb and adding lighting can prevent delays in locating you. Also, make sure to keep a pathway clear inside of the house that allows emergency responders to enter while carrying gear and a gurney. If 911 has been called and there is someone available, send them outside to direct emergency responders to the patient.
We hope you never experience a 911 medical emergency, but if you do, know that our nearly 500 EMTs and paramedics in San Diego are standing by ready to help. Call (858) 405-5859 for more information about our free community outreach and education programs to learn more.