Top Ten Tips To Keep You Healthy at College

Medical Emergency Response Procedures

Step 1: Recognize that an Emergency Exists
Emergencies can happen to anyone, anywhere. Before you can give help, however, you must be able to recognize an emergency. You may realize that an emergency has occurred only if you become aware of unusual noises, sights, odors and appearances or behaviors. Examples include the following:

  • Unusual noises
  • Unusual sights
  • Unusual odors
  • Unusual appearances or behaviors

Step 2: Decide to Act
Once you recognize that an emergency has occurred, you must decide how to help and what to do. There are many ways you can help in an emergency, but in order to help, you must act. Sometimes, even though people recognize that an emergency has occurred, they fail to act. The most common factors that keep people from responding are:

  • Panic or fear of doing something wrong
  • Being unsure of the person’s condition and what to do
  • Assuming someone else will take action
  • Type of injury or illness
  • Fear of catching a disease
  • Fear of being sued
  • Being unsure of when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number

Step 3: Activate the EMS System

  • Activating the EMS system by calling 9-1-1 is the most important step you can take in an emergency. Remember, some university buildings require you to dial a 9 or some other number to get an outside line before you dial 9-1-1.
  • When your call is answered, an emergency dispatcher will ask for your phone number, address, location of the emergency and questions to determine whether you need police, fire or medical assistance. You should not hang up before the call taker does so.
  • Once EMS personnel are on the way, the dispatcher may stay on the line and continue to talk with you. Many dispatchers also are trained to give first aid instructions so they can assist you with life-saving techniques until EMS personnel take over.
  • As a general rule, call 9-1-1 if the person has any of the following conditions:
    • Unconsciousness or an altered level of consciousness, such as drowsiness or confusion
    • Breathing problems (trouble breathing or no breathing)
    • Chest pain, discomfort or pressure lasting more than a few minutes that goes away and comes back or that radiates to the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, stomach or back
    • Persistent abdominal pain or pressure
    • Severe external bleeding (bleeding that spurts or gushes steadily from a wound)
    • Vomiting blood or passing blood
    • Severe (critical) burns
    • Suspected poisoning
    • Seizures
    • Stroke (sudden weakness on one side of the face/facial droop, sudden weakness on one side of the body, sudden slurred speech or trouble getting words out or a sudden, severe headache)
    • Suspected or obvious injuries to the head, neck or spine
    • Painful, swollen, deformed areas (suspected broken bone) or an open fracture

Step 4: Give Care Until Help Takes Over
In general, you should give the appropriate care to an ill or injured person until:

  • You see an obvious sign of life, such as breathing
  • Another trained responder or EMS personnel take over
  • You are too exhausted to continue
  • The scene becomes unsafe

Moving an Injured or Ill Person
One of the most dangerous threats to a seriously injured or ill person is unnecessary movement. Moving an injured person can cause additional injury and pain and may complicate his or her recovery. Generally, you should not move an injured or ill person while giving care. However, it would be appropriate in the following three situations:

  • When you are faced with immediate danger
  • When you have to move a person with minor injuries to reach someone needing immediate care.
  • When it is necessary to give proper care. For example, if someone needed CPR, he or she might have to be moved from a bed because CPR needs to be performed on a firm, flat surface.

The University’s goal is to keep the community healthy and safe by preparing contingency plans. General tips for preparing for a pandemic flu or any readily communicable disease may include:

  • Engaging in preventative hygiene measure such as covering cough and washing hands
  • Receiving a vaccination, if you are deemed eligible, in accordance with public health guidelines
  • Protecting yourself and others by contacting your healthcare provider and staying home if you are feeling ill
  • Taking safety precautions when traveling to areas affected by disease


For more information about preparing for flu season, visit the following resources: