The First 5 Minutes

Posted Monday --- February 4, 2008 --- 10:00pm

Would you know what to do if your friend collapsed to the ground at the mall?

Or if your toddler fell down the stairs at home and went unresponsive?

NBC-15's Sarah Carlson brings you the crucial information you need to know.

In the first five minutes before help arrives.

These are simple steps the experts say *too few* people know about.

It's important for us to point out that this story is NOT meant to replace an official CPR or safety training course.

But, we hope you'll take 5 minutes to know what to do --- in the First 5 Minutes.

In an emergency, time is your biggest enemy.

Imagine if your co-worker or friend suddenly collapsed and you're the only one there to help.

In the event of cardiac arrest - where the heart stops - the FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT thing to do is call 911 immediately.

Then -- within seconds, shake the person and shout their name to see if you get a response.

Roll the person onto his or her back, tilt the chin and check for breathing.

And when that chest doesn't move, start CPR:

Sue Olson from UW's EMS Center demonstrates. "I pinch the nose and seal my mouth around their mouth and (blows twice) give two gentle breaths."

30 times, very quickly, then repeat the mouth-to-mouth.

The key here is having a plan.

"That scenario where someone goes down in front of you is where every second absolutely counts."

Dr. Azita Hamedani, with UW Hospital's Emergency Medicine Department, says what you see makes a difference.

Dr. Hamedani says, "The first thing to do is well are they truly unresponsive or are they sleeping or are they intoxicated. That's where it's not just a pat hey are you okay, its' more like a vigorous shake."

She says when it happens quickly and the victim clearly doesn't realize what's happening -- ACT FAST.

And if you're in a public place - school, mall, airport - send someone else to grab the closest defibrillator, or AED.

They're becoming more available and easier to use.

We've all done it, chopping vegetables while trying to talk on the phone, feed the baby. But would you know what to do if you missed the mark with that knife?

First of all --- DON'T LOOK!!

"It's hard to look at your own wound and really figure out how bad it is and a lot of times doing that will make people sick to their stomach or light-headed," says Dr. Shawn O'Brien of St. Mary's Hospital's Emergency Department.

Second, call 911 if you think you can't drive yourself to the ER or Urgent Care.

Try to keep some gauze in your medicine cabinet. It's best at absorbing and keep pressure on it.

"Not just wrapping it and letting it be because a lot of times that will soak up the blood and it will keep bleeding. But really holding firm pressure on it," says Dr. O'Brien.

The good news about a FALL is that a person who's seriously injured will likely stay still on their own. But, be sure to encourage your child or loved-one to stay where they are until help arrives.

Otherwise ask lots of questions and take note of where the person is feeling pain.

If it's near the neck or head, DON'T MOVE THEM ---- call 911.

Now to another one of the most common emergencies -- choking. Experts say choking often happens when someone is eating and laughing at the same time.

Sue Olson explains, "The important thing to do there is ask them, are you choking, can you cough that out, are you breathing okay? "

If they can't answer, don't be afraid to call 911.

Then, come from behind the victim, wrap your arms around their middle, just below the rib cage and come with upward thrusts into the abdomen.

Dr. Hamedani says it's crucial to BE A HISTORIAN for the person on the other end of your 911 call.

Dr. Hamedani says, "This is something that I don't think the public gets enough education about. The more information you can provide, kind of succinctly, the more helpful it is."


You can make one FOR YOURSELF and your family members and be sure to keep COPIES ON YOU!


Has your son or daughter recently had surgery? Your mom just finished cancer treatment?

She recommends getting in touch with someone you know in the health care field.

Ask for 5 minutes of their time to help you craft these lists --- it could save your life!

In the CPR demonstration you just saw, we used a mannequin from CPR "Anytime" ... a relatively new "at home" kit you can even order online.

It's less than $30 and you can learn it in less than 30 minutes!

We've also prepared a one-page 'tip sheet' for you. (SEE Tip Sheet BELOW)

Free CPR Training
February 16th
UW Health

CLICK HERE for link to Buy the CPR Anytime Kit.


***** The first five minutes of an emergency -- NBC-15 News
Tips from the experts *****

Cardiac Arrest:
When the heart stops and victim is not breathing.

Call 911
Send someone for closest a.e.d. (defibrillator) if available
Shake and shout
Roll victim onto back, tilt chin, check for breathing
Start c.p.r.
Two gentle breaths, followed by 30 quick chest compressions

Deep, bleeding cut:

Don't look!
Call 9-1-1 if you cannot get help yourself
Use gauze to absorb blood
Keep pressure on it, don't just wrap


Encourage victim to stay put
Ask questions about pain
Be especially careful with neck, back and head... call 9-11


Often when victim eats and laughs
If they can talk, they may be able to move object on their own
if not, call 911
Perform Heimlich maneuver
From behind, wrap arms around middle, fists just below rib cage
use upward thrusts into the abdomen

Be a historian:

Make a medication list
Write a medical history
Ask a health care professional for help

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