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Your Health & Safety

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Blood Pressure Screening

Blood pressure screening is available at both our North and South stations daily from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. On occasion, personnel may not be available to provide this service if they are out of the station on a fire and/or rescue call. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to return at another time.

C.P.R. Training

C.P.R. (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) classes are offered to citizens and businesses on a regular basis. Announcements of upcoming classes will be posted in the Longboat Observer. Contact the CPR Coordinator, Jorge Alvarez, at (941) 773-5792 if you have any questions.

Heart Attack/Cardiac Arrest

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack

Chest pain - can be an uncomfortable pressure, tightness or feeling of indigestion, heavy squeezing pain like a weight on the chest, can radiate down the arms, up to the jaw, or into the upper back.

  • Shortness of breath; difficulty breathing
  • Pale, cool or clammy skin
  • Sudden onset of sweating
  • Anxiety, irritability, or feeling of impending doom
  • Abnormal or irregular pulse rate
  • Abnormal blood pressure
  • Pain in the upper abdominal region
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • May have no signs or symptoms

Actions for survival

  1. Recognize signs and symptoms
  2. Stop activity, rest, lay down
  3. If pain lasts more than two minutes, call for help - DIAL 9-1-1
  4. Patients having early signs often deny having a heart attack, if in doubt, DIAL 9-1-1

Cardiac Arrest - The Chain of Survival

The American Heart Association (AHA) has identified a series of critical interventions for cardiac arrest. The chain of survival includes links that must fit together during a successful resuscitation event. The four links in the Chain of Survival for a cardiac arrest patient are:

  1. Early access to the EMS system - DIAL 9-1-1
  2. Early CPR
  3. Early defibrillation to correct life-threatening heart rhythms
  4. Early Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) (Paramedic/Ambulance care)

Care of Wounds

In general, the care of wounds includes:

  • Expose the wound
    Clothing over and around the open wound must be carefully removed or cut away. Avoid aggravating the patient’s injuries.
  • Clear the wound
    Remove foreign matter from the surface of the wound with a sterile gauze pad or clean towel. Do not try to clean the wound or pick out any particle or debris. If bleeding from the wound is controlled, take care not to restart or increase the flow of blood.
  • Control the bleeding
    Start with direct pressure at the point of bleeding or apply direct pressure and elevate the effected area. If the bleeding continues, try pressure point control.
  • Prevent further contamination
    Use a sterile dressing, clean cloth, or clean handkerchief to cover the wound. After the bleeding has been controlled, bandage the dressing in place.

Burn Injuries

Types of Burns

  • Thermal Agents -Flames, Hot Liquids, Sun, Steam, Radiation
  • Chemical - Acids, Fluids, Other Corrosives
  • Electrical - Becoming part of an electrical circuit (while grounded)

Burns - What Can You Do?

Affect a Rescue
Remove the person from the source of the potential injury. If the injury involves electricity, ensure that the electricity is turned off or that the victim is not in contact with the electrical current. When dealing with chemical or thermal agents, remove the person carefully from the source of the injury and move yourself and them to a safe environment.

Stop the Burning Process
Remove the injury causing substance. If the clothing catches fire, STOP DROP AND ROLL to smother the flames. DO NOT RUN! It will only increase the flames and extent of injury. Remove burned clothing and jewelry, which can retain heat and intensify the injury.

Special Note: If the clothing adheres to the skin, leave it in place and cut or tear around it to remove the source of heat.

Pour Cool, Clean Water Over the Burned Area for 10-15 Minutes
Longer periods are recommended for chemical burns. DO NOT put ice on injured area. This may cause greater injury.

Do Not Use Ointments or Butter, Lard, etc.
These products may cause deeper burning by containing the heat and are a potential source of infection.

Very Minor Burns
These can be treated with commercial antiseptic sprays and covered with a clean, dry dressing. In the event that an infection occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

More Severe Burn Injuries, Chemical and Electrical Burns
These types of burns should prompt an immediate response from the Longboat Key Fire Rescue service. DIAL 9-1-1. More sophisticated medical care is mandatory for any type of severe burn injury.

Aquatic Animal Stings...stingray, jellyfish, coral, sponges

Southern Stingray (dasyatis Americana)

Stinging vertebrates such as catfish and stingrays can inflict an often extremely painful wound when a serrated barb or venomous spine pierce the skin. First aid for either type wound is immersion of the extremity in hot (not scalding) water for pain relief. Rarely, severe allergic symptoms may be experienced including shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure and fainting: Immediately contact 9-1-1 if the patient experiences any of these symptoms. Medical attention is recommended for patients with stingray wounds to confirm that the barb is completely removed and preventative treatment for infection is often called for as with any marine wound, including a tetanus shot if necessary.

Jellyfish (Coelenterates)

Several types of jellyfish may be found in the Gulf of Mexico. They are thickest from the surface to a depth of about 20 feet. For most people jellyfish stings are uncomfortable, but tolerable. Skin surfaces may be rinsed with vinegar to help alleviate pain and neutralize the toxin. Most people do not require any specific treatment for jellyfish stings, but be alert for any rare allergic reactions and immediately contact 9-1-1 if the patient experiences shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure or fainting.

Fire Sponge (Tendania ignis) and Fire Coral (Millepora alcicornis)

Several marine sponges and corals can inflict a painful stinging and dermatitis on contact. Treatment involves removing any spicules (tiny splinter-like spikes) with tweezers or adhesive tape and applying vinegar soaks. A corticosteroid cream may also help relieve pain.

Heat Stress (Sun Stress)

 Hot weather triggers a variety of medical emergencies. Even healthy people should take it easy during extremely high temperatures, and those with respiratory and other health problems must be especially careful. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Drink extra fluids, but avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can cause dehydration.

Prevent a Heat Stress Emergency

  • Drink before you're thirsty and drink often.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Wear a hat or cap, keep the neck covered and wear loose fitting clothing.
  • If you can, work in the cool hours of the day or evening.

The greatest amount of heat loss from the body occurs at the head. This is why it is important to wear a hat or cap in the sun.

Table salt or salt tablets are not recommended to replace body electrolytes. Many electrolyte replacement drinks are available on the market. Electrolytes are crucial for the proper functioning of the body. Common electrolytes are:

  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium

Heat-Related Injuries

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that occur when the body loses electrolytes during profuse sweating or when inadequate electrolytes are taken into the body. They usually begin in the arms, legs or abdomen, and often precede heat exhaustion.

Treatment for heat cramps is to rest in the shade, get near a fan, spray the person with water and massage the cramp.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is also a medical emergency. When a person is suffering from heat exhaustion, they will perspire profusely and most likely will be pale.

Heat exhaustion is best treated by taking the patient to a cool place, applying cool compresses, elevating the feet and giving the patient fluids.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the worst heat-related injury. The brain has lost its ability to regulate body temperature. The patient will be hot, reddish and warm to the touch. Their temperature will be markedly high and there will be no perspiration.

Any of these conditions may be a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.