Responding to an Emergency

When you’re first on the scene, put on your detective cap and learn the facts before you act. Look, listen, and think before you do anything else.

Take precautions

Some serious illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, are carried in the blood and other body fluids. Reduce your risk of infection by using safe first-aid measures.

  • Wear gloves to avoid contact with victim’s blood. Put on gloves before you begin first aid. If gloves are not available, use a thick dressing, clean cloth, or even the victim’s hand as a protective barrier.

  • Use a special face mask, if you have one, when you perform rescue breathing.

  • Wash your hands immediately after providing first aid.

Size up the scene

If you start by sizing up the scene, you can respond in a way that protects both you and the victim. Remember, you are not helping if you become another victim.

  • Be alert for downed power lines, raging fire, fast-moving water, or hazardous materials, which may make it dangerous to offer first aid.

  • Call the professionals if the scene is dangerous.

  • Move toward the victim only if the scene appears safe.

  • Look for clues as you approach. Identifying the cause of the emergency may help you respond with the appropriate first aid.

  • Look for hidden victims. An infant or unconscious person can be easy to miss.

Evaluate the injuries

A quick check of the victim’s injuries will guide your immediate first-aid response.

  • Call 911 immediately if you are not trained in first aid.

  • Contact emergency medical services immediately if you’re not able to offer first aid or if serious injuries are present. In most parts of the country, calling 911 will connect you with an emergency services dispatcher.

  • Call zero (0) if 911 service is not available in your area. The telephone operator can connect you with fire and police departments and ambulance service. Tell the dispatcher the following:

    • Your exact location

    • What happened

    • The number of victims

    • The condition of each victim

    • Any first aid being provided

    • Do not hang up unless you are told to

  • Speak to the victim and tap him or her on the shoulder. If the person does not respond, start rescue techniques immediately. If the person does respond, continue with the following steps.

    • Control any severe bleeding. (Wear gloves or use other protection to avoid contact with victim’s blood.)

    • Look for medical alert tags around the victim’s neck, wrists, and ankles.

    • Check for other injuries.


Contact Us for a Free
Consultation & Care Assessment

Let's Get Started

Contact Us for a Free Consultation
and Care Assessment

Greenwich, CT:


Westchester, NY:


235 Glenville Road 3rd Floor,
Greenwich, Connecticut 06831

Learning Center

Medication Library

Find medication information to help educate patients, families and caregivers.

Diseases & Conditions Library

Find detailed information on a wide range of health conditions, illnesses, and treatments.

Aging Wellness Center

Find helpful articles to make the most out of your golden years.

Resource Links

Find links to helpful aging resources around the internet

Senior Care Blog

Find the latest information and announcements from Sterling Care.