Staying Ready for Emergencies at Home
All sorts of emergencies can occur in the home. Although it isn’t possible to predict exactly what sort of emergency your household may encounter, it is a good idea to be prepared to handle a wide range of problems. The emergency care team at West Hills Hospital recommends that families keep a fully stocked first aid kit at home.
Stocking Your First Aid Kit
Your family can use a first aid kit to handle minor problems like splinters and even major medical problems like broken bones (while awaiting emergency care). The basic items that every first aid kit should include are sterile bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, acetaminophen, and a thermometer. It’s also a good idea to keep extra items on hand like splints, a tooth preservation kit, non-latex gloves, tweezers, calamine lotion, and instant cold packs. Be sure that every member of the family and all babysitters or other caregivers know how to find and use the first aid kit.
Explaining 911 Calls to Young Children
All children need to be taught how to call 911, explain the situation to the emergency dispatcher, and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. It isn’t always easy for a child to determine when a situation qualifies as a true emergency. Parents can discuss some examples of problems that are emergencies, such as a fire, an unconscious family member, or an intruder in the home, as well as point out problems that should not result in a 911 call, such as a skinned knee or a missing stuffed animal.
Purchasing Emergency Supplies
In addition to keeping a first aid kit at home, you can purchase emergency supplies to prepare your household for lengthy power outages and natural disasters. Every household should have a minimum of a three-day supply of food and water for each person. Each person needs at least one gallon of water per day. Choose non-perishable foods, and include a manual can opener and basic utensils in your emergency supplies. Families can also prepare by keeping an emergency supply of prescription medicines, personal hygiene items, flashlights, extra batteries, and a battery-powered radio.
When an emergency occurs, West Hills Hospital is ready to respond 24/7. Our emergency care unit in West Hills offers comprehensive medical services, including an Approved Stroke Center, accredited Chest Pain Center, and our world-renowned Grossman Burn Center. Please call 911 immediately if you have a true medical emergency; non-emergent inquiries about our community hospital may be directed to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4321.