20 Simple Tips From First Responders That May Save Your Life Or Someone Else’s

Published 1 year ago

A first responder is a person specifically trained to get to the scene of an emergency first to deal with the immediate fallout. Usually, this includes the paramedics, firefighters or police. These factions are armed with the tools and knowledge to deal with situations in the field that are escalating rapidly. 

In a crisis or emergency, most people tend to not know what to do. Oftentimes, people stand around and watch helplessly during a life-or-death situation. But if you have the right knowledge, you may be able to help more than you think. Scroll below for a series of suggestions from first responders on things they felt everyone should know about that may help save a life at the end of the day. 

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Image source: Knarren, AmySue H

When you call an emergency number, the first words out of your mouth should be your location/address. That way, if you get cut off they at least know where to look for you.



Image source: merrywidow14, Olivia Hutcherson

If you lose your child in a crowded area, shout out what they’re wearing as well as their name. It makes them much easier to identify to others.

If you’re swimming in the ocean and you get knocked over and can’t tell which way is up, exhale and follow the bubbles.


Image source: CDC_, Tanya Pro

Ex-EMT here. We’re talking 13 years ago.

It’s not a great idea to put the pedal down as soon as the traffic light turns green. Wait a couple extra seconds. That first 2-3 seconds when the light turns green is a GREAT time to get nailed by some idiot blowing through a red light.


If everyone in a room/vehicle/building is unresponsive, DO NOT ENTER FOR ANY REASON. If you see someone collapse after entering a confined space, DO NOT ENTER FOR ANY REASON. If you see a person collapsed near a potential chemical spill, DO NOT ENTER FOR ANY REASON. Overall, if it killed them, it will kill you.

Image source: garfieldlover3000


Image source: No-Performance2445, charlesdeluvio

If you’re going to a big crowded event with a small kid, get a sharpie and write your phone number on their arm. Teach them to find someone in a hi-vis and show it to them if they get separated from you.


I’m not a first responder, but I have a friend who is.
He says STAY OFF OF TRAIN TRACKS. Don’t squish pennies or do photo shoots on them or walk on them at all. Believe it or not trains can sneak up on you at an alarming speed and they DO NOT slow down.

Image source: cuteemogirlfriend


Image source: ForswornForSwearing, Jonas Leupe

The tv line, “somebody call 911!” doesn’t work. The crowd will assume some else has, and so no one will.

If you come upon the emergency, and you don’t see someone already calling 911, YOU DO IT, or you take charge of the scene (like if you’re doing CPR) and *appoint* someone to do it and report back to you.

“In an emergecy, the one with the flashlight becomes the leader.”


Get off your damn cell phone when you drive.

Image source: Zmanoside


Image source: RangerDangerfield, Zachary DeBottis

Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.


llllPsychoCircus replied:

Proper weapons handling according to the Marine Corps

Rule 1: Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.

Rule 2: Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.

Rule 3: Keep your finger straight and off the trigger, until you are ready to fire.

Rule 4: Keep the weapon on safe, until you intend to fire

Rule 5: Know what lies beyond and between you and your target.


Image source: TransportationOk2238, Sten Ritterfeld

I just read something that if you’re lost and your phone is about to die, change your voicemail to give an approximate location of where you are.


Image source: MrFunnything9

Don’t put anything in the mouth of someone having a seizure, protect their head and let them seize.


Image source: classless_classic, Mat Napo

Whenever you encounter an emergency situation, stop what you’re doing and say to yourself “This is not MY emergency”

This will (hopefully) allow you to take a step back & assess the situation & prevent you from making poor, split second decisions.

So many people jump into swift water trying to save someone else, only to become a second victim. Some people quickly try to extricate victims, but injure then further.

Allow yourself to look at things as objectively as possible and you’ll make much better decisions.


Image source: justneedadvice87

If you are dealing with someone who has been stabbed or impaled and the item is still inside the body, do not pull it out.


Image source: Ten7850, Sean Patrick

Have your address clearly marked & lit so responders can get to you quickly… every second counts.


Career Coast Guard here:

Wear your life jacket. Period.

Don’t drink and drive a boat. Period.

Use the kill switch on your boat/PWC.

Know where you’re going, tell two people your itinerary.

Make sure a second person on the vessel knows how to operate it. Practice man overboard drills/situations.

The backfire flame arrester on your engine is your friend, do not remove it. I promise you it doesn’t “gain you any horsepower” when you remove it.

Keep a life ring / throwable within arms reach.

If you ever fall through ice you only have minutes to get yourself on the shelf. Once you’re on the shelf roll away from it towards stronger ice don’t try to stand up and walk.

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Image source: BR_GTX, Artem Saranin

My Uncle used to be a Cop. He said that if someone is Overdosing, you should still call 911 because you could save their life, and there will be absolutely no legal trouble. And you don’t have to wait 48 Hours to report someone is missing. The sooner the Better. My Dad used to be a Firefighter. He said that if you ever wake up to the smell of Gas, don’t turn anything on, because it’s electrical damage, and it can cause a firey explosion. He also said that when cooking something in a pan, And it catches on Fire, Don’t use Water to put it out, use the pan cover.


Paramedic here almost 5 years.

Don’t put your feet up on the passenger dash.

Febrile seizures are common in babies. Most of the time they are completely benign. Still a good idea to call us incase there’s another reason why they are seizing. For a new parent, I understand it’s terrifying. It’s not how high their temp gets, it’s how fast it gets there. Don’t bundle them up if they have a fever. I know they’re cold but that’s just the fever. Give them meds.

Seriously consider how emergent your emergency is before agreeing to have us transport you or your loved one. We can’t deny your request for an ambulance, and we really can’t say ‘this doesn’t warrant an ambulance ride’. So just use your best judgement, if you are able to. Grandma feels weak and throwing up? She’s probably sick. Take her to the hospital or better, an urgent care. Don’t really need an ambulance for that. Your back has been hurting for a week? Don’t really need an ambulance for that. Hurt your ankle in the shower? Don’t really need an ambulance for that. You feel lonely cause you’re old and your kids don’t visit/call? DON’T REALLY NEED AN AMBULANCE FOR THAT! Other people DO need one and you are taking away a VALUABLE resource from them! My city of 350K people only has 6 ambulances. Yes just 6! Don’t waste them! Each call can take up to 2 hours with driving to you, transporting, waiting for a bed, and cleaning. 2 hour window where somebody won’t have an ambulance quickly because you have the flu.

Image source: chichilover


Wear the seatbelt. It’s there for a reason.

Image source: imnotmagic123


If you fall into cold water – first of all, FLOAT!!

> If you found yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct would tell you to swim hard. But cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you could breathe in water and drown. Instead, you should Float to Live. Tell your children if they fall into water the most important thing is to float so they can shout for help & be easy to find. It calms them down to realise that this is because help will be on hand they just have to make it easier. Being calm might save their life. Tell them they can wait like that for ages if need be – just floating & shouting. I act like there’s an upcoming quiz that my kids are cramming for and randomly will ask them safety questions in any situation. They love the chance to show off & I am repeating it so often it will hopefully stick forever. Q : What’s the most important thing of you fall into water? A : Float & shout. – Q : who is allowed to pick you up in a car or take you to their house? A : nobody unless you’ve told me they will that day. – Q : what do you do if a stranger is being weird? A : go to anyone else & tell them, especially a group. – Q : what do you do if someone is holding on to you? A : BE LOUD AS HELL & kick & hit & wriggle

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One thing a senior supervisor taught me as a crisis social worker, if it feels bad or wrong trust it. Don’t push past it, there’s usually a good reason you intuitively know that. Also, lock up your damn guns.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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