Emergencies - What to Do?! : Medical


A Medical Emergency is an injury or illness that is acute and poses an immediate risk to a person’s life or long term health



  • Have the person apply firm steady pressure to the bleeding wound for 5 – 10 minutes with a clean cloth or paper towel. Assist in applying
  • pressure if the person is unable to do so.
  • If bleeding is pulsatile (spurting in time with the heart beat), very heavy, or persists despite pressure, call 911 immediately.
  • Have person lie down. If the person is bleeding heavily from an arm or leg, elevate their arm or leg above heart level.
  • Stay with person until help arrives.

Burns – Chemical:

  • If you are SURE the chemical does not react with water, immediately flush the chemical away from skin or eyes with cool running water for
  • 15 minutes.
  • Remove any contaminated clothing or jewelry.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if the chemical burns involve the eye, hand, foot, face, groin or buttocks or if there is continued burning or pain after flushing.

Burns – Thermal:

  • First degree burns cause skin redness and pain. They can be treated with cool compresses.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if the burns result in one or more of the following:
    • Cause severe pain
    • Blistering
    • Involve hands, feet, face, growing, or buttocks
    • Are larger than 2 inches
    • Appear charred, black or dry


  • If person is coughing, speaking or able to breathe do nothing. Stay with the person, encourage them to cough, and be prepared to help if they become worse.
  • If the person is conscious but unable to cough, speak or breathe:
    • Call 911.
    • Give 5 back blows followed by 5 abdominal thrusts. Continue to alternate 5 back blows with 5 abdominal thrusts until obstruction is dislodged
    • To perform back blows bend the person forward slightly at the waist and support them while delivering 5 sharp back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
    • To perform abdominal thrusts stand behind the person and wrap your arms around them so that your hands are located near the top of their stomach below the rib cage. Place your fist over their upper stomach below the ribs and grasp your fist with the other hand.
    • Thrust inward and upward.

Seizures (Convulsions):

  • Call 911.
  • Move objects away which might injure the person during the seizure.
  • If possible, roll the person gently onto their side and support them. Do not try to restrain the person or place anything in their mouth.

Unconscious Individual:

  • Call 911.
  • If you are trained in CPR, evaluate the unresponsive person and act according to protocols.
  • If an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, follow AED instructions for further actions.


American Red Cross First Aid App