The correct actions to take for scene safety and assessment can prevent providers from being injured and help them effectively manage situations. It starts with making sure that the environment is safe, which includes identifying potential risks such as hot electrical wires, dangerous materials and elevated locations. Additionally, assessing the victim can determine the cause of their emergency. If they are suffering from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), for example, their skin may appear bluish and they will be unresponsive and unconscious. Therefore, the victim will need to be moved into a safe position with assistance from others and bystander CPR should be started immediately.
It's probably been drilled into the back of every responder's mind that it is critical to ensure that the scene is safe before entering. However, many medical first responders do not follow this best practice and they are instead sent into a potentially unsafe scene. This is mainly due to lack of adequate training on how to assess the scene safely from a safe distance, which should be done before responding. This training should also include creating scenarios that give the responders clues and cues to indicate that the scene is unsafe. This would allow them to consciously assess the situation, find their equipment like the phone, first aid kit and AED and don their personal protective gear before approaching the scene. This will greatly improve their scene safety. The next article in this series will cover the BLS algorithm for cardiac arrest and how to properly treat the victim without risking their life.