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What To Do Until Help Arrives

What To Do Until Help Arrives

When there is an injury that seems beyond what you can handle – call 911! 

Know your limits: 

Don’t try to take on more than you can handle.  While you are waiting for help, here a few tips, and remember, the dispatcher on the other end of the phone will help and guide you as well.

Signs of shock: 

Weak, faint, dizzy, pale or grayish skin, confused, agitated, cold & clammy

Put the person on their back, elevate their feet, and keep the person warm.


You can stop most bleeding with pressure. Bleeding often looks a lot worse than it is. Put a dressing on the wound and apply pressure.  If bleeding does not stop, add a second dressing and continue with pressure. 


Press both sides of the nose and lean forward. Do not lean the head back. 


If you have a puncture from an object like a knife, nail or sharp stick, do not remove the object.  Leave in place until EMS arrives.  

Head, Neck, Spine Injury: 

It could be a head injury if the person fell from a height, was hit in the head, was involved in a car crash, or fell off a bike and was not wearing a helmet.  They may not respond, they may seem sleepy or confused, they may vomit, complain of a headache, have trouble seeing or walking, or have a seizure.  If you think there is a neck or spine injury, do not move the patient.  

Broken Bones, Sprains: 

See Also

Do not try to straighten or move any injured part that is bent, deformed or possibly broken. 

Heat-related Emergency: 

Muscle cramps, sweating, headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness. Move the person to a cool shady area. Loosen tight clothing. Encourage the person to drink water. 

Completely unresponsive and not breathing: 

Begin CPR. Stay calm and reassure the person that help is on the way. 

BY: Cinda Seamon

Fire & Life Safety Educator, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue

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