Schools place student safety as their top priority, but accidents, illnesses, and injuries can happen at any school at any time.
From a bee sting on a child with an allergy to a mishap on the playground or a fight in the hallway, medical emergencies require a planned and rapid response.
All educators and staff at any public or private school should follow these three steps to handle medical emergencies.
Provide First Aid As Quickly As Possible
When a student has a medical emergency, triage must take place without delay. Waiting to provide medical treatment could result in a worse outcome for the student. The school nurse or other authorized staff should initiate emergency medical treatment as soon as they know the emergency.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, school educators and staff should not delay providing medical care to students just because their parents or guardians can’t be reached.
Since most schools have multiple adults on-site at all times, a nurse or qualified staff member can begin treatment while someone else attempts to call the student’s guardian. At the same time, another staff member can call for emergency medical assistance.
All staff and educators need to be trained in providing treatment for a medical emergency at school. An affordable and effective way to do this is with online CPR and AED certification.
Districts could provide these classes to school staff and educators on professional development days or reimburse their team members to take the courses according to their schedule.
Even if a staff member was certified a few years ago, it’s always a good idea to take a refresher course.
Some types of medical emergencies include an anaphylactic allergic reaction, choking, deep wound, head injury, broken bone or tooth, crushing of a limb, uncontrollable bleeding, a seizure, back or neck injury, injury from a weapon, burns, or exposure to chemicals.
All of these situations necessitate a call to 911 for emergency assistance.
Control the Scene
If a student experiences a medical emergency during the school day, it’s possible that a large crowd could gather. This could be traumatic for the observers and upsetting to the person applying first aid.
If the student is conscious, they may also be bothered by a crowd standing and watching them suffer. Have several staff people guard the scene and keep bystanders away. Make sure there’s another staff person outside waiting to direct the emergency medical personnel to the student’s location.
It’s also possible that a staff member could have a medical emergency during a school day. Students could be traumatized by witnessing this, too. Ensure the scene is safe, then direct students to a different classroom or part of the building.
If the medical emergency was caused by another student or staff member, try to keep them on the scene. Law enforcement may need to speak to them. The emergency medical technicians may also need information from them about what happened. This information will help the first responders provide appropriate medical treatment to the injured person.
Contact Parents or Guardians and Provide Essential Information to First Responders
Another member of the school staff should find the injured or ill person’s file. A person with a known severe allergy to tree nuts or bee stings may have epinephrine in the nurse’s office, and that information could help save their life. Some people have an allergy to latex or other items that might be used in emergency medical assistance, and that information also needs to be known by providers.
other valuable tips:
Make sure to give the first responders pertinent details about the injured or ill person. You should provide their name, age, date of birth, sex, and any known medical problems or allergies. If you have information about what medications they use, give the emergency medical technicians those details.
While waiting on first responders and providing first aid, contact the student’s parent or guardian or the staff member’s named emergency contact. Provide them with the necessary details and ask them anything the first responders need to know.
Medical emergencies are a common situation in schools. These three steps should be practiced regularly. Knowing what to do could help you save a life.
Image Credit: handle medical emergencies by twenty20.com
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