For many parents, keeping their family protected in the event of a natural disaster is a major priority. But floods, fires and earthquakes aren’t the only situations that you might face as a family. According to a survey conducted in 2011 by the Center for Disease Control, 79 percent of adults visited the emergency room because they did not have access to other health care providers. About 54 percent surveyed said only hospitals could respond to their situation. If you are hurt or ill, the chances of you going to the emergency room are quite high. With a little preparation, you can make your trip to the emergency room much better. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Utilize medical panic pendants or watches

Just like smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors connected to a network alerting emergency professionals , Protect America’s medical panic pendants or watches can assist in saving someone’s life by contacting medical authorities at the touch of a button. The pendants can be worn around the neck or at the hip as a pager. An accompanying watch adds another call button in the event of an emergency.

Identify medical emergencies

A medical emergency is often considered to be a serious condition that results from injury, sickness or mental illness. These types of emergencies are sudden, severe and will require immediate care. Many emergencies are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Loss of consciousness, convulsions, seizures, severe shortness of breath, heavy and sudden bleeding. A hard blow to the head and the consumption of poisonous material are also considered serious emergencies.

How to prepare for medical emergencies

In the event of a serious medical issue, you will need to provide a lot of information in a very short period of time. Before an emergency occurs, it’s best to prepare your response plan. Gather and organize all pertinent information from your family members. Include complete medical history forms for each person in your group and make sure you keep up-to-date copies in your home, automobiles, first aid kits and wallets. You might also want to include important names, signatures and the contact information of the primary care physician of your family. Nurses and other health care professionals will need this information when you arrive at the emergency room.

If you have children, you should complete consent to treat forms for each one. It should be noted that separate forms are available for children with special needs. Your kids should also know where to find clearly posted emergency numbers on their cell phones or the phones you have at home. They should be able to call 911 or the local emergency offices, know how to give their names, addresses and a brief description of the problem. You can also contact your local police and fire department and give them information on your children, which is especially helpful if your kids have any special health care needs. You can tell them where the child’s bedroom is located, the types of life-sustaining medical equipment your child uses, if the child can communicate verbally or not and if they are able to walk.

If you want to go even further with your emergency preparation plan, you can opt to take a first aid class and learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In these classes, you will learn how to treat burns, take care of wounds, how to make hand, arm and leg splints, treat hypothermia and care for nasal injuries. Contact your local hospital, American Heart Association or Red Cross agency to see if they offer training.

In addition to taking first aid and CPR classes, you should make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked. Your kit should include

  • absorbent compress dressing
  • adhesive bandages
  • cloth tape
  • antibiotic ointment packets
  • antiseptic wipe packets
  • aspirin
  • blankets
  • a breathing barrier with a one-way valve
  • non​-latex gloves
  • a cold compress
  • scissors
  • sterile gauze pads

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Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.