Do1Thing – December

(Slide 1- Do 1 Thing and VAI logos)

Hello everyone.

Welcome to the twelfth, the last of Virtual Ability’s monthly series based on Do 1 Thing.

You can read more about Do 1 Thing at their website:

Their mission is to “move individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for all hazards and become disaster resilient.”

The idea is that each month you focus on one “thing” that is a preparedness topic.

The folks at Do 1 Thing offer suggestions of activities you could do within that topic, and they offer a bunch of resources.

The way this works, if you stuck with the program all year, you will be far better prepared to handle disasters.

This is part of VAI’s focus on preparedness within the community of people with disabilities.

You will find some resources on our website here:


(Slide 2- First Aid)

December’s Do 1 Thing topic is First Aid.

The goal is to help you be prepared to give first aid while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Official disclaimer:

This is NOT meant to be a full first aid course. More on that later.

The point of this talk is making sure that what you do while waiting for paramedics to take over is effective and safe.

Do 1 Thing suggests three potential tasks for this topic.

Remember, you do not have to do them all. Even doing one thing will make you better prepared.

Let’s look at the tasks and see what resources are available to us.


(Slide 3- Waiting for the ambulance)

The first of three possible activities for December is to know what to do while waiting for professional assistance.

And that includes knowing what NOT to do as well.

Starting with what to do:

• First of all, and probably most important, remain calm.

Panic is the enemy in this race against time.

Sure, you are in an emergency situation and your adrenalin level is super high.

Understand that this will affect your speech.

You may talk too fast, or begin stuttering. That isn’t going to help.

Be sure YOU are safe before you call 911.

Often it is best to move away from the emergency (fire, criminal activity, etc.) before you dial, to keep you safe and to let you calm down a bit.

Of course, if someone is severely injured and it does not endanger you, you should stay with them.

• If a person is ill or injured, check to see if they are responsive.

You can call their name, ask if they are OK, or gently shake their shoulder to determine this.

You will need to know this to tell the dispatcher.

• Then find a phone to call 911 (or the correct local emergency phone number).

Usually a landline phone is preferable to a cell phone, unless you are reporting a fire or burglary or other crime.

Landline phones make it easier for the dispatcher to determine your location.

Be aware that, sometimes, it takes time for the phone to route to the correct answering point.

Do NOT hang up if you do not get connected immediately!!

Calls are answered in the order they are received.

• The 911 operator or dispatcher will ask you a series of questions.

You should answer her questions accurately and concisely.

Be prepared to tell the 911 operator the following information:

Q. What is your emergency?

A. Describe the situation as concisely as possible.

You might say something like, “A jogger had sudden chest pain and has now collapsed”, or

“There was a three-car wreck, and the driver of one car has lost consciousness and doesn’t seem to be breathing.”

Think about it this way: Why do you need assistance, and what caused you to need assistance?

“A man has been shot. There was a drive-by on the street by my apartment.”

The dispatcher will be determining the nature of your emergency, and the types of assistance she should send.

For different situations, she can dispatch medical professionals, law enforcement, and/or firefighters.

In certain areas of the US, the dispatcher or a computer will tell you to dial certain phone numbers to help them know which department to connect you with and to whom you should talk.

Q. What’s happening now?

A. Describe what you are doing, either initiating first aid or trying to find someone who can.

Say something such as, “My friend is giving CPR”, or

“We are trying to find a first aid trained person to assist us.”

Q. Where is the victim located?

A. Provide as much detail as is necessary to allow emergency personnel to find you.

Give the street address and house or apartment number if known.

Otherwise give cross streets: “near the southwest side of the intersection of Dale Avenue and Aspen Road.”

Sometimes it helps to give other landmarks: “We are outside the Safeway, in the parking lot, three aisles away from the front doors, between a green car and a blue truck.”

If you are outdoors away from roads, say something like, “We were hiking the Loop Trail at Western Park, and we had hiked for about 20 minutes before she collapsed.”

Remember to always be aware of your surroundings, because the emergency may not be at your current location.

Watch for road signs, store names, bridges and other landmarks that could help emergency personnel find you.

Q. What number are you calling from?

A. Just give the phone number: “The number is 978-555-1313.”

You must know the phone number you are calling from.

The dispatcher will call back if you get disconnected.

In fact, it might be smart to write up a notecard and put it by your phone that has this information on it for your home and your family members’ medical conditions:

  • Your street address, apartment number, and closest cross streets.
  • The phone number
  • Chronic medical or disability conditions, if any
  • Recent medical events, if any

That way if your memory isn’t the greatest when you are under stress, all you need to do is read off the card.

This emergency information is also essential if you are not home or if you are the one who is incapacitated.

A caregiver, relative, neighbor or friend may be the one calling 911.

Post 911 information on your refrigerator or near the telephone, along with emergency numbers and contact information for physicians, family members, and close neighbors.

Make sure all family members know about the 911 information list.

Be sure to point it out to your babysitter, caregivers, relatives, and house guests.

• Listen to what the dispatcher is telling you, and follow her directions.

The more quickly and accurately you follow those instructions, the better the outcome.

Trust the dispatcher and her professional training.

Some dispatchers, in certain situations, will provide first aid instructions over the phone for you to follow.

If you are not physically or emotionally capable of following these instructions, or if you are afraid to do so, notify the dispatcher and then try to find someone who can help you.

• The dispatcher will want you to stay on the line unless she tells you to hang up.

Remember, even if she is still asking you questions or giving you instructions of what to do, she has already sent help your way.

If there are new developments, you will want to be able to tell the dispatcher (so she can tell the emergency personnel) right away.

• If you are not able to talk, or if it is dangerous to make a noise, either tap the phone or dial 5-5 to let the dispatcher know you are still on the line.

You can also dial 911 then set the phone aside, so the operator can hear what is going on around you.

• If you call at night, be sure the house number is visible. Turn on the porch light.

Or have someone else stand near the street to wave to emergency vehicles as they arrive.


(Slide 4- Waiting for the ambulance- Things NOT to do)

And now the DO NOTs.

• Most important, do not panic.

Try to stay calm. That is how you are going to be most helpful.

• Do not move the injured person.

Of course in case of fire, you will want to get them out of danger.

But if you move a person with a head or spine injury, you risk doing additional damage.

So if possible, leave the victim as they are.

You can cover them with a blanket or jacket if they are showing signs of shock.

• Do not give him anything to drink or eat, unless instructed to do so by the 911 operator.

He could choke if he is not able to swallow normally.

• Do not try to take an injured or ill person to the hospital yourself.

It may seem that you could get the person to the hospital quicker if you just took them in your own car, instead of waiting for the EMTs to arrive.

But you need to remember a few points:

– Ambulance crews can start providing proper care as soon as they arrive at your location.

You can’t do that if you are driving.

– They can get the person to the hospital more quickly with their sirens, legally and safely, than you can in your personal vehicle.

– Patients arriving by ambulance have already had information entered into the ER system.

So they will get appropriate treatment faster once they arrive.

• Do not cuss out the 911 operator.

In some locales, you will go to jail for harassing the dispatcher.

You should respect the 911 system and the trained professionals who work there.

• Do not call 911 for non-emergency situations.

– It is important to know when to call and when not to call.

911 should be used for situations in which there is “a definite, likely or uncertain threat to life, health or property.”

That would include heart attacks, fires, robberies in progress.

It would not include broken water mains, pot holes (no matter how large), power outage, or “cat stuck in a tree.”

Those are not considered emergencies unless, for example, the power outage affects a life support machine for a family member, or the broken water main is flooding your home.

– Do not practice calling 911 with your children on a real phone.

Yes, they do need to practice! But please do it on a play phone, not the real one.

Make sure they understand the definition of “real emergency.”

– If you accidentally call 911, don’t hang up.

You must stay on the line and explain to the operator that it was an accidental call so she can cancel the fire engines and police cars that may already be on the way to your location!

You will need to provide your name and address for verification.

– And obviously, do not make prank or hoax 911 calls.

That’s illegal

And it delays services to genuine emergency situations.

• If you witness something that qualifies as a 911 emergency, call!

Don’t assume someone else will call it in.

What if nobody called?

• Calling 9-1-1 may not get you to emergency services everywhere in the world.

If you live or are on vacation outside the US or Canada, remember that emergency numbers vary from country to country.

For example, you would call 9-9-9 in Britain,

1-1-1 in New Zealand,

0-0-0 in Australia, and

1-1-2 in all EU countries (including Britain) plus Switzerland.

Some phone systems for large businesses or schools require you to dial another digit to get an outside phone line.

You may need to dial 9-911 to place your call.


(Slide 5- first aid kits for home and car)

Everyone should have a first aid kit in their home and in their car.

Wherever you go, you should either carry a first aid kit, or know where one is stored.

Ask about the locations of first aid kits at work, school, church, and other places you spend time.

Although first aid kits are available pre-made for purchase, you can just as easily make them yourself.

Different sources list different recommended contents for home first aid kits.

I am going with the recommendations of the American Red Cross.

For the stereotypical “family of four,” the Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits include:

  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile 3 x 3 inches gauze pads
  • 5 sterile 4 x 4 inches gauze pads
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 2 triangular bandages (for a sling)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 space blanket (the kind that has a foil side to reflect body heat)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets (or liquid hand sanitizer)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • First aid instruction booklet
  • List of emergency contacts and phone numbers

Additionally, be sure to include any special medications or supplies needed for your disability, plus other items suggested by your health care provider.

Please remember to check your first aid kits regularly, especially those in the car that are subjected to heat and cold.

Look at the expiration dates on items, and replace any that were used, have torn packages, or are out-of-date.

Make sure your flashlight batteries work, if you have a flashlight in your kit.

You may want to make a separate first aid kit for your pet or service animal, especially if you travel.

Consult your veterinarian for recommended contents.


(Slide 6- get training)

Contact your local Red Cross chapter or fire department to find out what first aid classes are available where you live.

Some employers are willing too sponsor classes at work, because they get a break on their insurance.

Sometimes community centers or churches or schools offer first aid courses.

Many times you can get this training free of charge.

And I note that some of the free Red Cross trainings are online!

Another option is your local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).

CERT training includes a module on basic first aid.

I am hoping that in 2016 we will be able to offer CERT training right here in Second Life!


(Slide 7- get training about)

Helping others in a medical emergency isn’t as difficult to learn as you might think.

Emergency personnel or professional first responders may not be able to get there for a while.

Then it becomes up to you to help the injured or ill person.

You should know how to apply compresses and bandages, how to know if the person is going into shock, and how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and use an AED (automatic external defibrillator).

You may save the life of someone you love.


(Slide 8- Do 1 Thing to prepare for first aid)

Remember, we can’t prevent medical emergencies from happening. If we knew ahead of time when an emergency would develop, it wouldn’t be an emergency, would it?

We know that people with disabilities are less likely to be prepared for emergencies than the general population.

If we take responsibility for preparedness, we will ensure better outcomes for ourselves.

We will not take more than our proportionate share of community emergency resources.

And best of all, we can help out our neighbors and our local communities.

I’m going to share some links with you now. You can click them inworld in local chat and bookmark them to read later.

Or you can wait for the script notecard coming to your inventory real soon, and copy the links from there.

Some good resources for first aid preparedness include:

Recognizing Medical Emergencies

When to Call 911 (the video is good, but the non-emergency numbers are not local to you! Find out your own numbers)

What Should I Say When I Call 911 for a Loved One? (mental health crisis)

American Red Cross- Find Your Local Chapter

Make a First Aid Kit

First-aid Kits: Stock supplies that can save lives

First-Aid Kit for Cars and How to Use It

Wound Care: Your Essential First Aid Care Guide

Cuts and Scrapes: First Aid

Severe Bleeding: First Aid

Slideshow: Bandaging Injuries from Head to Toe

Dressings and Bandages (a PDF of a PowerPoint, maybe more than you want to know)

Shock: First Aid

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): First aid

(video- it really is easy!)

What Is an Automated External Defibrillator?

Learn About Automated External Defibrillators

Automated external defibrillators: Do you need an AED?

First Aid Tips for Pet Owners

Pet First Aid- Basic Procedures

Whew! That’s  a lot.

Anyone have other good resources to share?


Thanks for attending this session today.

I hope everyone feels just a little better prepared for any emergency that may happen in our complicated lives.