Be a hero: Have a plan

To the Editor:

There are five simple things you can do now to save you or your loved one’s life later.

Picture this … On a cold dark night, you or one of your loved ones complains of pain, 911 is called and the wheels of emergency transportation are put into motion. The first responders are on the way.

You wait and wait and wait for the sirens to come. Finally, the first responders arrive. The family gathers around, yelling at the first responders to do something. Then EMS arrives and asks for a medical history and what meds the patient is on. Nobody knows for sure, and family runs to find them. Confusion abounds and medical personnel have to improvise in taking care of their patient.

All too often, this is the norm, not the exception. To help first responders and EMS transport, there are five simple things you can do now to save precious minutes later, possibly saving your life or the life of a loved one. They are as follows: 1) Make sure your house number is clearly marked on your home with contrasting colored numbers at least 4 inches high At night, even the best placement of these numbers can be no good without reflective numbers or lighting; 2) If someone is home sick, recuperating from surgery or has a terminal illness, please don’t put them in a back bedroom “so it’s quiet for them to recuperate.” Time will be wasted looking for alternate ways to get the patient out of that back bedroom, including waiting for extra personnel to literally carry the patient out to a wheeled cot; 3) Write down all meds you and all the member of the family takes and all medical conditions your family suffers from and put them in an envelope marked “medical” on your refrigerator. Also, make sure to update these medical papers often. When EMS arrives, simply hand the envelope to them. This simple act can save a lot of time looking for meds; 4) Assign one person to be the contact person when first responders and EMS transport arrives. This person should be knowledgeable to the condition of the patient and level-headed enough to clearly inform medical personal of the condition of the patient and answer any questions; 5) Finally, have a small bag packed for the patient to wear on the way home (don’t forget a coat), things they will need at the hospital, a cell phone charger, contact phone numbers and IDs and insurance cards.

Following these five easy steps can save many, many minutes of the limited time your loved one may have to live. You could become a hero just by preparing a few simple items and having a plan.

Bruce Zingler