When you see someone who looks injured or ill, should you stop and help? If you do stop, what would you do?

The most important thing you can do is ask if the "patient" is okay. Does he or she need medical assistance? If so, or if the patient isn't sure, call 911. It's that easy to do your part.

If the patient doesn't answer, make sure he or she is breathing and has a pulse. If not, someone will need to perform CPR until we arrive.

That said, you should always call for help if:

  • The patient is unconscious.
  • The patient has injured his or her head, neck, or back.
  • The patient has difficulty breathing or is breathing in a strange way, such as wheezing or gurgling.
  • The patient has chest pain or pressure.
  • The patient cannot be moved easily.
  • The patient is bleeding severely.
  • The patient vomits blood.
  • The patient has seizures, a severe headache, or slurred speech.
  • The patient has pain or pressure in the abdomen that doesn't go away.
  • The patient has possible broken bones.
  • There is fire or an explosion.
  • There are downed power lines.
  • There is swiftmoving or rapidly rising flood waters.
  • There is a possibility of poisonous gas or fumes.
  • There's been a vehicle accident.

In other words, if it looks like an emergency, sounds like an emergency, or smells like an emergency, call Southern Platte Fire at 911. It's better safe than sorry, and the patient can refuse transport to a hospital once the ambulance arrives. No medical bills are incurred if no further services beyond evaluation are rendered.

A wellprepared citizen has basic knowledge of first aid that he or she is willing to share until medical help arrives. For first aid training, adults, teens, and children can enroll in a community firstaid course at a local hospitals or organizations, such as the American Red Cross  or American Heart Association.