Medical Emergencies In The Classroom

Be Prepared:

The first step in dealing with emergencies is preparedness. There are a few things that all instructors can and should do to be prepared to handle potential medical emergencies:

  • Know and practice CPR. Keep your certification current so you are following the most current American Heart Association guidelines. Contact the Health Sciences Center of Emphasis for more information concerning CPR certification.
  • Know first aid. Review the principles of first aid on a regular basis so you can remember what to do if an injury occurs. Contact the Health Sciences Center of Emphasis for more information concerning first aid practices.
  • Know where the nearest campus telephone is. If a medical emergency occurs in the classroom call Campus Police at ext. 3595 or 3911 from any campus telephone.
  • Know the specific location of your room (building and room number). If contacting EMS directly by calling "911", know the best directions to give someone to find the classroom.

General Principles:

As in all emergencies, stay calm. You need to remain in control and demonstrate a calm exterior to the students in the classroom.

Protect yourself whenever possible. It's not a bad idea to keep a ziploc bag of vinyl disposable gloves in your briefcase, or other easily accessible place.

Don't move an injured person or severely ill person if you don't know it is okay to do so. Wait for emergency medical help.

If the person is conscious and alert, allow them to "assume the position of comfort". Most people who are having difficulty breathing will do this naturally if allowed.

Talk to the person in calm, firm, but reassuring tones. If a person is panicking, you may have to use a slightly louder, firm manner to get their attention, but shouting rarely helps.

Check their breathing. As CPR teaches, remember the "ABC's" - airway, breathing, circulation. If the person is not getting air into their lungs, nothing else matters. Be sure to continue to monitor breathing until the person is alert, oriented, and appears to be no longer in distress, or until emergency medical personnel take over. If the person isn't breathing and you don't know CPR call out for someone who does.