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Here we go, this week we’re breaking down each letter of the ‘DR.ABC’ acronym, one of the very first things most people learn during their introduction to emergency first aid. So today, we’re doing ‘D’. Danger.
I remember how overly exaggerated this aspect was taught when I first learned First Aid in the Cadet forces, and later again within the Norwegian Red Cross. It would almost be guaranteed that each scenario had a loose electrical cable (which we would have to remove with a wooden, not metal pole) or a Stanley knife hanging out of a pocket. However it all serves a good purpose, danger can be, and usually is, everywhere, often in places we don’t expect.
In First Aid, the safety of oneself, the First Aider is very highly stressed, and with good reason. If we jump into action and injure ourselves, we have not only added to the casualties, but also limited our ability to help others. Danger can be the presence of someone armed and aggressive (A large problem that Paramedics face day-in-day-out in the UK), however, more commonly, it can be the corner of a table or a wet floor. Under normal activity, most of us can avoid these hazards 9 times out of 10, under the rush of adrenaline in certain circumstances, we can easily forget.
Whatever the scenario, it serves no harm just to take a step back for a few seconds, look around and;
- Identify anything that may cause harm to you or others around you
- Identify how a person has become injured. If it can happen to them, it could happen to you.
- Trust your senses. Does something seem off? Is there a risk of the situation developing further?
Depending on the circumstance, you may need to run a mental checklist, and ask yourself “can I handle the situation by myself, or do I need additional help?”
In some circumstances, such as traffic accidents, you may need others around you to minimise the danger in the area, this can be done by delegating tasks such as managing the traffic.
Danger can be everywhere, however, if we know where it is and how to avoid it, it no longer becomes dangerous.