8 Emergency Skills You Need To Know To Help Save A Life

Have you ever wondered, “should an accident happen, how can I save myself or others?” Every other day, we hear a friend, close relative or acquaintance just slumped and died. Or there was an accident and victims couldn’t make it to the hospital alive. There are many dangers in the world, lurking around us and knowing some countries health care systems are not up to standard, having basic knowledge, common sense, and not panicking can ensure you come out on top of most emergency situations. Can you just imagine calling 911 in Nigeria? (Correct me if I’m wrong but personally I’ve not seen or heard 911 coming to the rescue). We rush and take the victim to the hospital which might cause more harm than good; first, not positioning the victim correctly to aid him and secondly, Rumuola traffic must hold you if going towards that axis. Pray it’s not on a Wednesday , ‘cos Oil Mill market must have caused someone’s demise. Even if you live where the healthcare system  is standard, it is still best you know these because Life no get duplicate. My Sister-in-the-Lord is already shouting somewhere, “Death is not our portion! No weapon fashioned…..”. Auntyyy, still learn these tips, you could be saving a life.

1. CPR

When you think “life-saving skills,” the first thing that probably comes to mind is CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the technique that could make all the difference for someone who has collapsed and is under cardiac arrest. It’s always best to take a class, so you know the proper procedures and have practiced them beforehand, but even without official training you could save a life if no one else is around with more CPR experience. Begin chest compression if the victim is not breathing normally, and tilt the victim’s head back and give two one-second breaths through the victim’s mouth. The pattern is 30 chest compression, then two breaths, and continue the pattern until the victim begins to breathe or help arrives.

As Emergency skills are being updated, it has been found that”Hands-only” CPR can be done for anyone (except newborn) whose heart has stopped beating. With this technique, also known as “compression-only” CPR, you press down about 2 inches deep on the chest at a rate of about 100 times per minute until the paramedics arrive—and skip the giving breath part. According to  Medical sources, singing the BeeGees’ song “Stayin’ Alive” will help you keep that tempo. (Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” is another alternative, but probably not appropriate in this situation. For a short tutorial on CPR on an adult, please watch this video.

Knowing how to do a CPR on an infant and child, Click here to watch.

2. The Heimlich Maneuver

If an adult is choking and cannot breathe, the Heimlich maneuver can dislodge the foreign body responsible for the victim choking. The Heimlich Institute recommends this technique: from behind, wrap your arms around the back of the victim and form a fist below the victim’s ribcage but above his belly button. Grasp your fist with the other hand and press into the victim’s upper abdomen with a quick upper thrust and continue until the foreign object is expelled. Seek training for infant and child Heimlich techniques, as they are less intuitive than the adult method and can do more harm than good if not done correctly. Here is short tutorial video for doing the Heimlich on an Adult

Click to watch Heimlich on an Infant or Child .

3. Preventing Hypothermia

Hypothermia is when a body’s core temperature drops to the point where normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired. People might be suffering from hypothermia if they start to shiver uncontrollably, lose coordination, become drowsy, or notice a slower breathing or heart rate. Treat hypothermia by bringing victims inside out of cold weather, removing any wet clothing, and wrapping them in blankets or a sleeping bag. Give them warm fluids without caffeine or alcohol to help stabilize their temperature. For Heat stroke, do the opposite. Take them to a shade, Strip them of any clothing. Put ice around their groin and armpits, wet them and fan them to cool the body.

4. Controlling Bleeding

Just like ice won’t form on a flowing river, blood will not coagulate when flowing freely. Apply pressure to the wound, preferably with sterile gauze, but a towel or T-shirt will work in a pinch. If you can, elevate the wound above the heart.

5. Providing Aspirin for Heart Attacks and Strokes

In addition to regular pain relief, aspirin is recommended by the FDA to help treat mini-strokes and heart attacks. Aspirin’s properties as an anti-inflammatory and a blood thinner help more blood get through the large clots that lead to heart attacks. After calling 911, instruct someone you suspect of having a heart attack or stroke to chew and swallow a standard 325mg dose of aspirin. Warnings: Check to make sure aspirin won’t interact negatively with other medications. If you live in a country where laws are taken seriously, you should know the Good Samaritan Law in your state.


6. Escape from a Sinking Car

10% of all drowning deaths can be attributed to not being able to escape a submerged car. You only have a second or two to try and open the door before most of the door is below the water level. If that doesn’t work, try to open the window; even if you can’t exit through the window, once enough water has entered the car to equalize the pressure, you will be able to open the door and swim to the water’s surface. The most important skill in this situation is the ability to remain calm.

7. Exit a Burning Building

Try to have an escape plan for any building you enter. Every hotel room, government building, and most office buildings have publicly posted emergency exit maps. After finding out this seventh point, I felt a bit of relief because I  always look out for emergency exits anywhere I go and thought it was weird. Probably thought it’s because I watch too many action movies. Seeeee! It’s very important. If you are trapped at home, what will you do? ‘Aunty’ is still shouting, “we wrestle not against ….” Phewww, I give up! Please learn. If there is a fire, check to see if a door feels hot before opening, and never use an elevator during a fire emergency, as it may get stuck or take you to a floor engulfed by flames. You may have to crawl to avoid smoke inhalation, which is often more deadly than the fire itself. If it is reasonable to jump out of the building, holler for people to come to you, throw out blankets so they can catch you, or if with child, wrap the child in the blanket and throw him/her so they can be caught and cushioned. If you have time, grab your documents.(Naija style. Cos we like document weh weh)


8. Properly React to a Snakebite

If you’re bitten by a snake you think may be venomous, get away from the snake, remain calm, and immobilize the bitten arm or leg to slow the poison from spreading throughout your body. Then call 911, remove any jewelry before swelling starts, and try to position yourself so the bitten extremity is below the heart. Don’t try to use a tourniquet, apply ice, or cut the wound to suck out the poison; these methods don’t work and can do more harm than help. Especially do not try to capture the snake, but instead try to remember its size and coloration.


Keep in mind that Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED training can help you gain knowledge and the confidence to use these skills; the certification also looks great on a resume. May God protect us. Stay safe.



Sources: Dr F.T Green (Emergency Medicine Physician), ehowhealth, ,,, www.,, indigomedicaltraining


Disclaimer: In as much as this article is up-to-date , It is best to seek advice from a medical professional.

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