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Prepare for an Emergency

In a medical emergency, seconds count.

Taking some simple steps now to prepare your family and home could be invaluable if you ever need to call for help.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Post your address and detailed directions to your home in a common area of the home. In an emergency, you could be so anxious that you won’t remember them – or you might need a guest or someone who is less familiar with the location to make the call. Post this information in an easy-to-find spot, such as on the refrigerator or at a family message center. Make sure all family members and frequent visitors know where to find it.
  • Keep your family’s medical records – including a list of all medications being taken – handy and up-to-date.
  • Prepare for the ambulance to arrive: Make sure your home can be identified, even in the dark. Your house number should be visible and large enough to read from the road. Turn on an outside light. If possible, have someone go outside to wait for the first-responders and medics.
  • Stay on the line: When you’re talking with a medical dispatcher, you’re talking with someone who can save a life. Remain calm, stay on the line and answer all of the dispatcher’s questions. Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you. Remember, the ambulance already is on the way; the dispatcher can provide lifesaving assistance until the ambulance arrives.
  • Learn CPR: Being prepared for an emergency can take away much of the fear and anxiety. The American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and many hospitals sponsor free bystander CPR courses.