6 STEPS to save a life

1. STEP - SAFETY OF RESCUERS
Whatever happens, rescuers will not save anyone else unless and until their own safety is ensured. Nothing makes a situation more complicated than having to rescue someone else in addition. 
It is therefore necessary to keep in mind overall hazards such as falling (from an elevated place or to a space below), cave-in, electrical injury, explosion etc

Furthermore it is necessary to use personal protective aids – in particular protective gloves and screen. 

2. STEP - CALL 155 FOR HELP    
Calling for help, that is to say the medical rescue service, by dialling 155 is another vital step to take. The statutory 20-minute limit for the rescuers to arrive starts at the time of making the call. Of course, it is possible to call the pan-European rescue number 112, but this involves delays and the operators are not always fully capable of providing instructions for assisted first aid. 

Assessing the situation prior to dialling 155 should not take more than 30 seconds. Examine primarily what happened by asking and/or pinching the person; find out if they are bleeding and breathing, and call the rescue immediately after. Give details: what happened and where, the number of patients and their condition, their names and approximate age and the caller’s identity.

3. STEP - MASSIVE BLEEDING – AMPUTATION INJURIES
This is the first of the four steps addressing serious life-threatening situations. The patient’s life depends on the correct and fast response. The volume of blood saved principally influences further chances of survival. The subsequent steps will fail if blood is lost, so it is necessary to respond correctly and fast.
It is simple – first block the wound using almost whatever (a finger, jacket, shirt etc.) – just do it quickly. That will slow the bleeding.

Then you need to stop the bleeding – you have only slowed it down now. To that end, SAFE-POINT contains two types of tourniquets, both capable of stopping massive arterial bleeding from any limb. 
These are a CAT® tourniquet utilising Velcro and a windlass, and a SWAT® tourniquet utilising a rubber band.

 

The tourniquet can stop massive bleeding quickly and efficiently. It can be applied and secured using just one hand, which makes it suitable for rescuing oneself too. This ease of application is crucial for SAFE-POINT – the ease of use greatly improves the chances of being used correctly and thus saving a life.

The biggest benefit of the tourniquet is the wide range of its applications and its efficiency. While it is slightly more difficult to use than the CAT tourniquet, its other benefits make up for this. The SWAT tourniquet can also be used as effective pressure bandage for bleeding.

4. STEP - CLEAR AIRWAYS
This is the second life-saving action. Its objective is to ensure clear airways. If the patient is not breathing their mouth has to be cleared of any obstructions (remnants of food etc.). The next step is clearing airways by tilting the head backwards. This step alone may result in spontaneous breathing action.

Where high-energy impact is involved (due to falling from height), it is likely that the spine is damaged, so you should always treat the patient carefully. However, if the person is not breathing and their airways are blocked, the potential spine damage is irrelevant.

5. STEP - RESUSCITATION
If spontaneous breathing action is not renewed once airways are clear, it is necessary to start resuscitation right away. Do not make any further examinations; if the patient is not breathing once their airways have been cleared, a failure of blood circulation is assumed automatically and indirect cardiac massage must commence promptly. 

Massage the centre of the chest between the nipples. Massage it 100 times a minute, going 5-6 cm deep. 

It is vitally important to massage the heart correctly. Artificial ventilation is not a priority, and if the cardiac massage is done correctly it is not necessary. The primary goal is maintaining the pressure created in the blood system.

If cardiac massage is combined with artificial ventilation (at a 30:2 ratio) but the synchronisation suffers, there are delays between the breaths and the massage; the rescuers may feel good but in reality the artificial blood circulation pressure is zero and the oxygen supplied to the lungs stays in the lungs only. 

This means you should massage, massage and massage, and only then do the rest. 

5. STEP - KEEP WARM
Maintaining the thermal condition of the body is the last life-saving action. Serious injuries cause blood circulation to centralise, with the body in an “emergency mode” improving its chances of survival by protecting the vital organs (the brain, heart and lungs). 

The practical result of this mode is a failure of thermoregulation. Since the ambient temperature in our area is almost always lower than the human body temperature (in July 2015 there were only 7 days when air temperature exceeded 35 °C), hypothermia develops fairly quickly. This leads to increased mortality within 2–3 days after the injury – in other words, if we do not address thermal comfort the risk of death is much higher.

Considering this we must ensure thermal stability of the patient. Using a passive device (isothermal foil) is not enough, so SAFE-POINT includes an active heat system, the Ready-Heat II blanket.

Its huge benefit is that it emits heat based on a chemical reaction – making it an independent heat source. Once unwrapped, the blanket reacts with oxygen, reaching a temperature of 37°C after 8-15 minutes and emitting heat this way for several hours.
After that, use a passive system – an isothermal foil that helps to maintain the temperature. Again, this improves the patient’s chance of survival.