First Aid during Disaster Management
First Aid during Disaster Management means, the immediate help extended to the affected victims of any disaster. The disaster can be natural or made. The proportion of the disaster can be of small scale or may be of catastrophic proportion. The importance of first aid during an emergency can save many lives as often the rescue operation initiated by the government bodies and private agencies takes time, especially if the disaster happens in a geographically remote place. Sometimes the severity of the disaster makes it inaccessible for the relief operations to take momentum. In such a scenario, the basic knowledge of first aid during any disaster would not only reduce the amount of suffering, but would also lead to reduction in the number of fatalities.
Myths surrounding First Aids
There are lots of myths surrounding first aids. Many of those myths needs to broken if the recovery process soon after a disaster is to be revoked. Quite often these myths surround the fact that first aid can only be delivered by a medico or a paramedic professional. To any extent, the same can be true, however, with the increasing number of man made or natural catastrophes in the horizon, it is pertinent to break this myth by making the common citizen know the nitty-gritty of first aid during a disaster management scenario.
Classification of First Aids during Disasters–
Let us understand the first aid required during various disaster management scenario-
|Type of Disaster||Man-made of Natural||Possible First Aid Services|
|Fire||Man-made, owing to human negligence||(1)Assist people to evacuate the affected premises through the safest route.(2)Ensure that electrical fittings are untouched.(3)Shut down all electrical connections, by putting off the electrical mains.
(4)Avoiding the sprinkling of water on fire effected person or objects.
(5)Appropriate usage of fire extinguishers.
(6)Protecting children from the impact of the fire.
(7)Playing second fiddle to the firemen once the fire services personnel arrives.
|Fire||Natural, owing to thunderstorms||(1) Putting of all electrical appliances.(2) Protect children from the impact of the fire.(3) Look for fire extinguisher.
(4) Move out through the emergency exit, even if it means getting drenched in the rain.
(5) Protect the human life fist followed by other non-living objects.
|Earthquake||Natural||(1) Understand and identify the tremors even if it is subtle.(2) Ask all the people residing inside the building to come out in open space.(3) Pass on the message to all possible known contacts in the area through telephone if the time happens to be odd hours like late nights or early morning, when people are fast asleep.
(4) Give priority to save human lives rather than protecting non-living objects.
(5) Protect the children from building breakdown etc.
|Cyclone||Natural||(1) Protect the humans from high speed winds and heavy rains.(2) Ensure smooth flow of water so as to prevent flooding and water clogging.(3) Protect external electrical and electronic fittings from lightning have associated with cyclone, which may result in fire.
(4) Ensure that high speed winds don’t cause physical harm to the residents by keeping all the inhabitants in safe places.
|Flood||Natural||(1) Protect people from water currents.(2) Protect inhabitants from water borne diseases.(3) Ensure everyone consumes non-contaminated food and water.
(4) Arranging essentials and necessities if the water level is increasing.
(5) Moving to safer places if the water level isn’t receding after a point of time.
Mental or Physical Aid?
First Aid during a disaster would comprise of physical and mental aid to be rendered to the sufferers. Sometimes the physical suffering encountered by the victims may be less vis-à-vis that of the mental agony. The mental agony may further lead to cases where the population goes into depression. Apart from the physical assistance in helping the affected to overcome the injury, first aid during emergency should have quality counseling and support services as well.
The first aid immediately after a disaster may consist of the following-
(1) Attending to the individuals who have broken limbs, bones and apply local massage therapy only if the aid provider is well-trained on the same.
(2) Disinfecting the body parts/areas where there has been minor bruises with antiseptic and then plastering those areas with bandage
(3) Attending the parts having burns with utmost caution so as to avoid bringing those areas in close contact with water
(4) Putting in place a working communication system, even if there has been a complete breakdown of the same
(5) Attending to the patients on a priority basis depending upon the suffering an individual is going through
(6) Counseling the sufferers with minor ailments and increasing their motivational level so that they can join hands with the relief and rescue operators.
(7) Ensure that a chaotic situation is prevented where too many cooks spoils the broth.
(8) Posses the information database regarding the primary health care centers, hospitals, international and local non governmental bodies, apart from the civil defense departments of different areas, which in turn would reduce the response time, immediately after a disaster.
(9) Prevent the spread of contaminated food and drinking water by ensuring the hygienic distribution procedures.
(10)Focus on personal hygiene of each and every patient impacted by the disaster, which in turn would reduce the chances of an epidemic, borne out of the tragedy
(11)Provide post-accident SOS support services to all the affected individuals, which in turn would reduce the mortality rate of the sufferers.
(12)Personal ability to withstand an environment full of cries and chaos prevailing immediately after a disaster is an absolute must.
Apart from the aforesaid points, there are many other allied aspects which need to be kept in mind while handling disaster management episodes. Civil defense colleges are being set up in many countries, however, the important job of training each and every citizen so as to know the reaction mechanism immediately after a disaster is still in the infancy stage. In order to reach that level, where every citizen has the rudimentary knowledge of post disaster management policies, it is pertinent to have a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) model, where government bodies join hands with the private organizations so as to reach out to every nook and corner of the globe. Although it sounds to be a gigantic task, efforts from all the stakeholders involved in the process, would make the job quite easier. Therefore, it is imperative for everyone concerned to pool in their efforts and resources, which would culminate in reducing the human suffering, immediately after a disaster. As they say, Human Lives are the most important thing, resources and wealth can be earned back, but a life lost is lost forever!
About Blogger: A Management Trainer, Consultant and Faculty based in the Sultanate of Oman with past Experiences in UAE, India and Australia. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and blogs on http://www.manishankarthetrainer.blogspot.com, http://www.manishankarscribbles.wordpress.com http://www.twitter.com/manitwitts