We are living in very difficult times and COVID-19 has upended the world as we knew it and forced us all to dramatically alter our lifestyles. As a business owner, you must protect the health and safety of your workers which also includes knowing what to do if someone is injured. The same applies in your day to day life. I wonder how many of us have actually taken the time over the past 6 months to ask ourselves what we would do if a colleague, a friend, a loved one or even a member of the community suddenly took ill or was involved in an accident? Would you know what to do? Would you stop and help? Would COVID-19 alter the way in which you would normally respond?
I can honestly say that it wasn’t until this week that I was met with stark reality that I hadn’t even given it a second thought. As a trained first aider, I’ve always been confident that should the need arise, I could assist with medical care until professional help arrived. I also believed there would be people around who could and would assist in the moment of need. Unfortunately, the reality was far from this belief.
Earlier this week, I unfortunately witnessed a medical emergency taking place. Without a moment’s thought, I stopped and started administering not only medical help, but also talking to the emergency services until help arrived. However, I was on my own. I was horrified to see that of all the people around, I was the only one who stopped without hesitation and provided assistance. It wasn’t until later that I took the time to stop and reflect. Is this just human nature or was there an underlying fear regarding COVID-19 that caused people to put their head down, hide behind their masks and walk on quickly?
With the way the world is today, we should always prepare as if everyone we are assisting is infected not only with COVID-19 but every virus. This has always been the case, but the fear COVID-19 has brought with it, has highlighted the importance of this more than ever. We all need to take time to consider some precautions we should take and it’s fair to say that at an absolute minimum, if possible, people should keep a face mask on where possible and wear gloves. It’s also imperative that if you have assisted at a medical emergency, that you ensure you have given contact details to medical professionals in case there is a need for contact tracing.
I encourage you to ask yourself whether you are in a position to provide first aid assistance and / or call an ambulance should it be required and if so, have you thought about how you will keep yourself and those around you safe? You never know when you might be required to help someone.
I’ve put together some tips of my own that I’m using as a checklist to ensure I am ready should such a situation ever occur again, and I implore that you do the same.
- Do you have a current first aid kit in your car and in your home?
- Do you know where the first kit is in your office or home?
- In your workplace, do you know who your first aiders are so that you can get help if needed?
- Do you have ready access to gloves and a face mask?
It’s important that we don’t let COVID-19 impact our ability to help others in times of need and that we are prepared so that we can ensure we are not compromising our own safety and well being.