Staying Calm in an Emergency

Reviewed Aug 30, 2016

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Summary

  • Call 911.
  • Keep it simple; stay on task.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.

It can be hard to stay calm during a stressful event. When someone around you is in trouble or gets hurt, it can be easy to panic. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, people who are experiencing trauma will often react in ways you may not be ready for.

Some of these reactions may include:

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Angry yelling
  • Gasping for air
  • Fainting

Since these are behaviors you might not be used to seeing, it can be hard to deal with them. You may find yourself reacting in negative ways. You may feel scared, angry, helpless, or even hurt yourself.

The way you feel and react is based on many factors:

  • The nature and severity of the crisis
  • The stress tolerance of the individual
  • Your own stress tolerance
  • The age and sex of the person in crisis
  • Your relationship to her
  • The location of the event
  • How many other people are involved

First things first

In any emergency, you should always call 911 as soon as possible. The operator will provide you with instructions and be able to send out rescue units. Talking to a trained person on the phone will also help to calm you down and help you feel more in control. Even if someone else has to make the call, you’ll feel better knowing that help is on the way.

Stay focused

Your mind may be racing with thoughts of everything you think needs to be done. Try to stay focused on just one task at a time, starting with the most urgent. For example, if the person is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound. If he is choking, perform a maneuver that will free his air passage. Do whatever is needed first to take care of the most pressing danger. Then you can go onto the next most important task, and so on. Always follow the advice of the 911 operator.

Relieve the stress

You still are likely to feel overwhelmed by the situation. This is normal. One of the easiest and best things you can do to calm yourself down is to take long, deep breaths. You can do this while you are treating the injured party, so no time will be wasted.

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
  • Hold for one second.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Repeat this as needed while you continue to aid the person in need. If he is conscious and acting stressed, you can also try to get him to take deep breaths with you.

Another simple way to help relax yourself and the other person is through your speech.

  • Speak softly and slowly.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.
  • Be positive and reassuring.

Even if you are feeling chaotic inside, your soft words and tone will help relieve some of the stress for both of you.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Mental Health America, www.nmha.org/go/mental-health-month/managing-lifes-challenges; UC Academic Health Center, http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/5808/; The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/firstaid/checklist.shtml; Department of Health and Human Services, www.hhs.gov/ohr/eap/library/eap3vilg.pdf
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Call 911.
  • Keep it simple; stay on task.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.

It can be hard to stay calm during a stressful event. When someone around you is in trouble or gets hurt, it can be easy to panic. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, people who are experiencing trauma will often react in ways you may not be ready for.

Some of these reactions may include:

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Angry yelling
  • Gasping for air
  • Fainting

Since these are behaviors you might not be used to seeing, it can be hard to deal with them. You may find yourself reacting in negative ways. You may feel scared, angry, helpless, or even hurt yourself.

The way you feel and react is based on many factors:

  • The nature and severity of the crisis
  • The stress tolerance of the individual
  • Your own stress tolerance
  • The age and sex of the person in crisis
  • Your relationship to her
  • The location of the event
  • How many other people are involved

First things first

In any emergency, you should always call 911 as soon as possible. The operator will provide you with instructions and be able to send out rescue units. Talking to a trained person on the phone will also help to calm you down and help you feel more in control. Even if someone else has to make the call, you’ll feel better knowing that help is on the way.

Stay focused

Your mind may be racing with thoughts of everything you think needs to be done. Try to stay focused on just one task at a time, starting with the most urgent. For example, if the person is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound. If he is choking, perform a maneuver that will free his air passage. Do whatever is needed first to take care of the most pressing danger. Then you can go onto the next most important task, and so on. Always follow the advice of the 911 operator.

Relieve the stress

You still are likely to feel overwhelmed by the situation. This is normal. One of the easiest and best things you can do to calm yourself down is to take long, deep breaths. You can do this while you are treating the injured party, so no time will be wasted.

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
  • Hold for one second.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Repeat this as needed while you continue to aid the person in need. If he is conscious and acting stressed, you can also try to get him to take deep breaths with you.

Another simple way to help relax yourself and the other person is through your speech.

  • Speak softly and slowly.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.
  • Be positive and reassuring.

Even if you are feeling chaotic inside, your soft words and tone will help relieve some of the stress for both of you.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Mental Health America, www.nmha.org/go/mental-health-month/managing-lifes-challenges; UC Academic Health Center, http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/5808/; The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/firstaid/checklist.shtml; Department of Health and Human Services, www.hhs.gov/ohr/eap/library/eap3vilg.pdf
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Call 911.
  • Keep it simple; stay on task.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.

It can be hard to stay calm during a stressful event. When someone around you is in trouble or gets hurt, it can be easy to panic. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, people who are experiencing trauma will often react in ways you may not be ready for.

Some of these reactions may include:

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Angry yelling
  • Gasping for air
  • Fainting

Since these are behaviors you might not be used to seeing, it can be hard to deal with them. You may find yourself reacting in negative ways. You may feel scared, angry, helpless, or even hurt yourself.

The way you feel and react is based on many factors:

  • The nature and severity of the crisis
  • The stress tolerance of the individual
  • Your own stress tolerance
  • The age and sex of the person in crisis
  • Your relationship to her
  • The location of the event
  • How many other people are involved

First things first

In any emergency, you should always call 911 as soon as possible. The operator will provide you with instructions and be able to send out rescue units. Talking to a trained person on the phone will also help to calm you down and help you feel more in control. Even if someone else has to make the call, you’ll feel better knowing that help is on the way.

Stay focused

Your mind may be racing with thoughts of everything you think needs to be done. Try to stay focused on just one task at a time, starting with the most urgent. For example, if the person is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound. If he is choking, perform a maneuver that will free his air passage. Do whatever is needed first to take care of the most pressing danger. Then you can go onto the next most important task, and so on. Always follow the advice of the 911 operator.

Relieve the stress

You still are likely to feel overwhelmed by the situation. This is normal. One of the easiest and best things you can do to calm yourself down is to take long, deep breaths. You can do this while you are treating the injured party, so no time will be wasted.

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose.
  • Hold for one second.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth.

Repeat this as needed while you continue to aid the person in need. If he is conscious and acting stressed, you can also try to get him to take deep breaths with you.

Another simple way to help relax yourself and the other person is through your speech.

  • Speak softly and slowly.
  • Speak clearly and calmly.
  • Be positive and reassuring.

Even if you are feeling chaotic inside, your soft words and tone will help relieve some of the stress for both of you.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Mental Health America, www.nmha.org/go/mental-health-month/managing-lifes-challenges; UC Academic Health Center, http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/5808/; The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/firstaid/checklist.shtml; Department of Health and Human Services, www.hhs.gov/ohr/eap/library/eap3vilg.pdf
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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