Emergency Situation: Keeping Calm as an EMT

HealthcareFebruary 18, 2014

If you've been trained as an EMT, or are currently enrolled in an EMT program, there are many ways you can assist in handling an emergency situation when you've been dispatched to help. Here are some tips to help EMTs deal with a high stress situation, as they are often the first responders on the scene.

The ability to immediately assess the situation at the scene of an accident or injury, especially if it's life-threatening or multiple people are hurt, is critical. You'll want to draw on your training and remember the following:

  • Remain calm, especially if you are presented with an injury or accident you've not encountered before.
  • Think clearly, and focus on what needs to be done immediately to help the injured or sick.
  • Be able to deal with family members on the scene, who may be distressed and who might interfere with the work you are trying to do.
  • Take the time to breath (deeply), and don't panic if a situation suddenly goes from bad to worse.
  • Don't be afraid to admit if you're confronted with something you don't know how to handle.
  • If you need help, immediately call for backup.

As an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic, you'll often be faced with situations in which it's crucial that you are absolutely in control of your own feelings. Remember that the person you are attending to is injured, possibly in a lot of pain, and most likely very scared. Your job becomes even more difficult if you encounter a patient who is unconscious, and thus unresponsive to any questions you might ask. After all, you are trying to pinpoint exactly the extent of the patient's injuries, as well as what kind of immediate medical attention he or she may require.

Working in the Field

As an EMT, you will be working in an emergency situation, usually in the company of police officers or firefighters. Since most of your time will be spent on the road, you will be responding to a high volume of automobile and pedestrian accidents. As a first responder, you will also be dispatched to private homes, where you might face patients who have had strokes or heart attacks, as well as elderly people who are simply not feeling well. You might also be called upon to deal with children who have been injured playing sports or participating in other outdoor activities. Since the age ranges and conditions you are faced with every day vary, you must always remain calm, be able to focus and quickly attend to the matter at hand in a professional and caring manner.

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