GAG'ers, how strong are you in staying calm in an emergency?

I recently had a medical emergency involving a close family member (don't worry, it had a happy end) and though I'm first aid trained, had a hard time staying calm and concentrating.
I know what to say when calling an ambulance but had to do 120% effort to concentrate on not forgetting to tell essential info.
That's when I discovered my limits - I had been in emergencies involving others and managed to handle them with some adrenaline but apart from that, by the books.

So, have you ever been in an emergency? Or do you think, if one struck by surprise, you'd manage to stay calm?

  • I would freak out and be unable to help
    6% (2)5% (1)6% (3)Vote
  • I would be nervous but get myself together
    52% (16)41% (9)47% (25)Vote
  • I can stay dead calm in all circumstances
    39% (12)54% (12)45% (24)Vote
  • Other
    3% (1)0% (0)2% (1)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Girl

  • I'm quite calm.. until the person involved is someone I cared about. If its someone I cared about dearly, I'd probably freaked out then get my shits together.

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    • I'm afraid I know exactly what you mean... on all previous occasions where I needed to provide first aid or call an ambulance there were only "strangers" involved... never a friend or a close family member.
      Two weeks ago had to call an ambulance in the middle of the night, for a close family member with heart trouble and my adrenaline level was so high my voice even changed :o
      But I managed to get all the info through to the emergency services and fortunately the problem had a happy end :D

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    • I've never actually saved someone 😳 come to think of it.. I always get someone to call the ambulance (if its an accident or some sort) and I'd do a body check.. if its normal events I volunteered in, the most would be sprained ankles and stuffs like that :/

    • Thank you ^^

Most Helpful Guy

  • I never panic, there's reasons I'm this way but at the end of the day, when shit hits the fan, I'm grateful, I have a cool head and am calm and collected haha

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    • That sounds great mate!
      I hope your girl didn't have too many soccer injuries - soccer tends to be a sport where especially the legs and every joint in them can suffer :o
      I've been a supporter of a local soccer team and both during practice and matches have seen many injuries :-(

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    • No, I've never been a good soccer player... I've done it sometimes for fun and before I wore glasses was reasonably good as goal keeper.
      I used to be visiting the practice sessions of a semi-professional football team where I live, until about 15 years ago. I volunteered there and was sometimes allowed to warm up the goalkeepers... I loved to do that and made some great friends :D

    • Ah mate, thats alright :) sounds like some great times though and yeah, great thing about the game, the friends you make and friendships you forge

What Girls Said 18

  • I'm freaky calm. It's scary almost. I'm a spaz normally, but get me in a life or death situation or an emergency and I'm cool, calm, collected, precise, and in control. Everything slows down and I handle it. I'm the one you want talking to the cops after a car accident.

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    • For some reason that doesn't sound believable

    • @PRVN1 I believe her!
      It's a question of being able to make that click when you have to... some people start pumping adrenaline, some can switch into "dead serious and super concentrated" mode :D
      If she would be lying than how would you recruit ambulance crews - they need that property or they would never be able to do CPR on a kid!

  • There are two reasons I know I can stay calm. Reason 1 was because at an old job I was held up at gunpoint. I worked in this small retail shop and these 3 men burst in near closing time with guns. They physically assaulted a few customers, and ordered my manager to the register threatening to beat her as well if she didn't comply. In front of me my co-worker on the ground began to sob, but I sat where I was, just happening to have a coat rack in my hand after getting it down for a customer, and I calmly repeated in my head over and over again as a tightened my grip around the rack, "you will stay calm and you will breath. If anything gets out of hand just know they will kill you and your only option is to fight for your life or die trying. You will stay calm..." I know the thoughts came from this news story about a little girl who had escaped her kidnappers after her dad had previously told her if anything bad happens to her, you can either fight or you will die, and she had managed to fight them off, so the thought popped in my head. Thankfully, the guys just took the money and ran off. The second reason is because I used to manage a major museum. We saw thousands of people a day and with so many people, there were always medical emergencies, and as manager we had a legal obligation to help treat and/or be witness to any an all injury so if ever there was an insurance claim against us, they'd have a sound witness. In the years I was there I had to witness and tend to a kid who busted his skull open, 9 seizures including one from a baby, a woman who split her surgery scar open, snapped her bone out blood everywhere, children stuck in all manner of weird things, several cases of heat stroke, heart attacks, fights between adults, babies stuck in hot cars, people all in my face complaining about things, people who brought guns on the property, I could go on. It literally became routine. It is now instinct when I see emergencies, to just compartmentalize my own emotions or anger or fear, and just deal with what's in front of me in a calm manner. It doesn't help to panic or freak out even if you want to, you just have to hold it together and deal with it.

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    • Wow, those are more than serious cases of "trouble in paradise"... no one will doubt your ability to stay calm now :D
      And you've had a lot of practice sjeez :o

    • I think its the way EMT's view their job. They see some crazy stuff, but its all the time which is what I'm now accustomed to. It's going to be different when its your own family or someone you love personally of course for anybody, but you sort of have to realize in your head as hard as it is, that that person is scared and injured and you're the only one who can help them and if you lose it, they'll lose it, and it may cost them their life. I saw this with the mother of the baby who had the seizure actually, she got herself so worked up that she could no longer hold her baby after screaming hysterically and she just passed out. If she'd been alone, who could have helped the child? You can't predict when these things will happen, but being prepared like taking CPR/first aid classes and going over fire safety, emergency drills with yourself and your family can at least give you a head start on knowing what you can do to help.

    • Agree! That's why I did my first course of first aid about 10 years ago and did all the refreshers.
      I want to stay "sharp" for when the next emergency strikes.

  • I'd probably panic. I'd try to stay calm but knowing myself I'd probably be all over the place. I don't think I'm good at handling that kind of stuff.

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    • That's honest of you... don't be shy I've been in quite a lot of situations where first aid was required and stayed calm. But this one time I discovered my limitations :o

  • I'm overall a very calm person. I've never experienced something like that but I did experience situations my own life was in danger.
    One time a big labrador attacked me and tried to bite my throat. First attack I just pushed it off me and second attack I grabbed his neck and pushed it to the ground so it couldn't bite me or move. I let my friend get help.
    A week ago I also went horse riding on my young horse and suddenly he started runming and heading towards the road. So I stirred it to a poop beld so he was forced to stop so I could get off safely.
    I don't know I can keep my head clear in those situation and think of a good solution but like I said, I never had to call an ambulance or so.

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    • Well, those 2 occasions sound like you've made the right split second decisions when you had to :D
      Some time no hear, how's life on the other side of the "Westerschelde", happy and smiling?

    • Well I don't live nearby the westerschelde. I live in Noord-Holland.
      I'm doing fine. How are you?

    • Fine as well... preparing for a big flying event at the flying club I'm a member of. Lot's of interesting planes in the air tomorrow (and I'm a freak of those as you may know :D ).
      Oh year I know more or less where you live, you explained me before!
      Here in Belgium we often consider the Westerschelde as the "non official border" hahaha 8)
      You probably know the joke "why did Belgians always be in war with the French?".
      The answer "we thought the Netherlands were in the South :o :o " 8)

  • I voted c.
    I'm pretty good all things considered.

    The first time was when my dad knocked on my door. He had taken his shoe and sock off to go have a bath and his skin and toenails had gone with them. He knocked on my door, I took one look and started driving him to hospital. I was just a learner driver. A month later he had to have his toes amputated off and I became his carer.

    The second time was earlier this year. I went in to check on him, he had slept in and a work friend called to ask where he was. I went to check on him.
    I found him in bed, unable to speak and no control of his arms. He was grabbing at me in panic and confusion. I called his doctors to cancel his appointment and called 999. Turned out he had a hypo attack in the night - his blood sugar hit 0.8 (should be between 4 and 8) milli moles a litre and if you get to 0 you die. He had come very close considering after that reading he would have probably passed out. The paramedics (one was my friend) were excellent and despite his fighting got him under control and on his feet. Because of them I'm considering being a paramedic.

    My father is okay. He is toes haven't grown back and my cat is thoroughly confused why my dad constantly has his claws retracted on one foot, but everyone is fine.

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    • Well, after all those frustrating jobs, maybe becoming a paramedic is not a bad idea, helping people is always rewarding :D
      When I read the second emergency with your father, the first thing I would have thought about was a stroke, since talking and moving were problems. I would not have thought about a hypo I must admit :o

  • I voted awkwardly untrue. A instead of B.
    I would freak out but immediately do what needs to be done.

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    • I recognize myself Sally... that's how it went that day :D

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    • Yeah. o. O Makes me think I'm not paranoid but realistic.

    • Take cover Sally... you got ten secs :o :o

  • I have done both. When I got into my car accident, I went into shock but wasn't paralyzed. I was kind of robotic but everything that needed to happen, happened. I can get shit done when in shock. Yay me.

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  • It depends. When my grandma got sick, I freaked out and cried because I thought she was gonna die (but she's still here now and cancer-free, yay!!). But when we had a nasty house fire, I calmly instructed everyone to get on the floor and crawl to the back door, then I opened the door and we got out. Then the house exploded like in the movies. Why? Because we had a full propane tank in the living room.

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    • Oh my goodness Mikky, those are really full blown emergencies... and you can be very proud of how you saved lifes in that house fire! Few would be able to stay so calm and make the right decisions, but you did.
      Be proud of that - you deserve a medal :D :D

  • I would freak out in my mind but it likely wouldn't show and I would especially hide my concern if it could be picked up by the person who needs my help. Someone who's having a seizure for example, needs your support and for you to remain calm so they don't panic and you need to talk to them. Panicking, shouting, crying/screaming would just make it worse for them.
    I cried when I dislocated my knee but then tried laughing it off to reassure everyone else and gave everyone a big smile and wave as I went to the ambulance.

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    • Oh waw Hannah, that dislocated knee story was really strong of you... having such a painful injury and than remaining dead calm and reassuring others, not everyone could do it!

  • my 10 year old brother had a seizure a year ago and i was calm. it was totally by surprise because we were at a basketball game for my older brother and the buzzer scared him. I remember i was sitting next to my mom waiting for the nest quarter to start when my mom in her calmest voice possible said take this and handed my brothers gameboy to me, my parents then carried my unconscious brother down the bleachers and into the common area and my older brother ran off the court in his jersey to see what was happening and my parents made him go back to his team but he did not listen until he knew he was going to be okay. some people called 911 and i went to the front of the school and flagged them down and told them what was happening. My brother is now ok and has not had a seizure in over a year

    my second life threatening situation was when my older brother collided with another basketball player who he is friends with and outweighs him by about 60 pounds. when they collided the heftier basketball player was fine but my brother laid on the floor not breathing for about 3 minutes. we thought his career was over and he had to be carried off the court. As it turns out the student section thought he was dead. a week later my brother had a dislocated sternum and was out for 2 weeks.

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    • Sjeez, you've had your share of emergencies :o
      I'm 40 and have been responsible for first aid at work for over 10 years but I've had few major emergencies so far.

  • It really depends. If it's someone I love and care about, I become an emotional wreck. If it's like a stranger, I'm usually able to remain calm. Odd, I know.

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    • I've experienced that it's absolutely normal... my voice was sounding like a soprano when I called the ambulance :o
      Fortunately my experience with previous emergencies saved me, I provided all the information required.

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    • I guess that after a few incidents you gain confidence :D
      Success with your ambition!

    • Thank you :)

  • Eh, done a first aid course and have first aid kit with me at all times, I'm good in these situations. Ironically it's usually me being the emergency bit it's also been vice-versa.

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    • Hahaha I know the feeling - I'm clumsy and absent minded and that gets one into situations :o
      Have you ever had to provide first aid to someone you have an emotional bond with, like a close family member?
      That's when I discovered how hard it all becomes at such moments though I coped and it all ended well :D

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    • Yes but it's always good to be prepared 😊

    • Agree :D

  • I'd like to say "I would be nervous, but get myself together" (option B). I truly think I would be for most people in my life. However, for a certain few people, I'd probably be too panicked and have to try super hard to not lose it.

    I'm glad all went well with your family member!

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    • Thanks :D
      Yeah I know exactly what you mean... I can guarantee you that when it's someone you're close to, adrenaline is on the move and you have to concentrate on everything you do and say :o
      I've been shaking for 90 minutes, due to the rush of adrenaline in the middle of the night :o

    • You're welcome!

      I'm sure! You're more focused on how they are doing in those circumstances, not on the seemingly minute details, even if they do end up being important in some way.

  • My ability to be level headed in a crisis is probably one of my best qualities.

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    • Hahaha yeah coming just behind your detective skills :D :D

  • I completely freeze. Multiple times people have needed my help in an emergency but it's like my body shuts down. I see it all happen and know I should help but I physically can not move. No nursing career in my future!

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    • That's a very common reaction a lot of people have. I've seen people who act super confident almost borderline cocky in person and then they just turned to stone when a major accident happened.

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    • After the fact people ask me what happened and i never have a response. I go over it in mind and I honestly can't explain it. Each time I tell myself, next time I can't do that, then it happens all over.

    • Yeah, that's exactly why practice in simulated situations helps... feeling more confident keeps you calm.
      And if you screw up during training, there's no problem. You try again :D

  • I have had a very hard time staying calm & collected in an emergency but still managed to get all the info across.

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    • Good job there :D
      I know exactly what you mean... have learned to know my limits that day but worked myself through it and it had a happy end :D

  • I freak out but after few minutes I get myself together and help

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    • That's nice :D
      We're human so I think 90% of us would deal with the situation that way!

  • I would freak out, I try to stay calm but I just can't! D:

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What Guys Said 16

  • I chose B based on experience. I didn't panic, but I was pretty freaked. Maybe freaked is too strong a word. More like super nervous. I knew there was nothing I could do myself, so I just called emergency.

    Probably the weirdest thing is that I knew something was wrong beforehand. That freaked me out more than anything. I was like " I don't want to go back there. I don't want to go back there." I knew I was going to discover something bad, and I did. My father was unresponsive on the floor. It's like I had to force myself to go check on him. I did NOT want to, but I had to. That was over 10 years ago and I still have that scene play out in my head.

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    • Yeah I can imagine so... some things go above your possibilities and calling 911 (in Europe 112) is the only thing you can do.
      Did he make it?

    • Yea there was not a thing I could do. It was basically too late when I found him. He lived for five weeks after that. If I had found him sooner then maybe something could have been done. He had a major stroke, and I estimate it was the night before and he'd been laying there for 18-20 hours. The damage was already done.

      There have also been times with strangers when I jumped in to help. I couldn't do much with them either. I've also had some basic first aid training, but a very long time ago. I know when to not touch anything and let the pros do it.

    • Yeah, normally first aid needs to be refreshed each year :D
      There is one case in which you must not wait for the pros: when CPR is required, do it!
      Better to do improvised CPR that has some effect, than to let the person change into a plant while waiting for the ambulance... :o

  • Vote 'C' and I'd say it's a naturally acquired thing :) No point in freaking out cause it will only compound things. No matter how urgent it seems, I take a breath think though fast and then act on what needs to be done :)

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    • Yeah generally I also succeed in doing that, except if it's a close family member, as I discovered :o
      I was more or less calm and overly nervous at the same time...

    • Which means your conscious mind is trying to be at ease and calm while your emotions aka subconscience tend to knock at the door. Good job, keep trying to level the balance and you will succeed :)

      Like I said it's an acquired thing unless one is emotionally challenged :)

    • Thank you for the up vote my friend :)

  • I was an engineer on submarines and part of a 'crash party' which essentially means in case of any fire or other event (air/gas/hydraulic/oil burst) i'd be rushing towards the accident for important isolations while everyone else is rushing away.

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    • Yeah I've seen such training on TV... I can imagine that if it would be real it would be freaky, in the closed environment and limited oxygen supply on board :o
      Have you ever had to do it in real emergencies?

  • I would consider myself a ver very calm person but I dunno, depends on the situation. Insofar my little brother, whom I love more than anything in the world, is literally the most annoying little shit ever and I would consider him the only one able to get on my nerves. Anywhere else, I have maintained my calm at all situations.

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  • Everything slows down for me so I can think straight and call 911 just fine as well as do what minimal I know how to, but that's as far as it goes cause I know very minimal stuff to be of aid in that situation.

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    • A good first aid course is really interesting to follow... and use!
      In my case, I was able to follow one at work. In Belgium there are also possibilities via the red cross if you want to follow it privately :D

  • Moved away from SF, safe now.
    Stay safe @ihav2fart

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    • @ConsultantIsBack lol SF is pretty darn safe, it's just dumb racial tension between kids. It happens a lot during my generation in school and the older generations were much more crazy.
      When we grow up and mature a bit, there's usually none and we're all good.

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    • being a dumb kid with rowdy troublemaking friends.

    • @Ihav2fart Story of my teenaged years bruh lol

  • I'm usually calm af, so I'd like to think I'd be just as calm but when shit hits the fan I wouldn't know. o_o

    I did get slashed before when I was in high school and I was still calm soo that says something. :x

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    • Yeah that sounds like a good test passed!

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    • Hahaha I leave it to you to answer :D
      It will probably be in the middle... no big deal!

    • Lol, I'd like to know myself.

  • I'm a firefighter/ medic. I live in those situations. The more chaos, the more I shine.

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    • Have you ever had to do an intervention where a close relative was involved?
      This is when I discovered my limitations, though fortunately I managed to deal with the emergency correctly :D

    • I have actually. Not as easy to sleep afterward but when the shit hits the fan cooler heads prevail

  • I stay calm under almost all circumstances until I'm part of it. (let's say a car accident)

    However if I'm directly involved (as in I'm the one who's hurt etc) I'm no longer staying calm anymore.

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    • Yeah I can imagine. So far I've never had nasty injuries... thumbs up it stays like this :D

  • working in a hospital and being involved in many emergency situations i can honestly and truthfully say i am dead calm and can't be phased in emergency situations. however i can't say they always end well.

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  • I'm rather good at staying calm in any circumstance. I had a First Aid training long ago and I have lived some less nice circumstances.

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    • It's something everyone should learn... fortunately the number is on the rise :D

  • I only tend to wig out later, after the immediate crisis.

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    • Yeah we all get that fall back after the first adrenaline - a fairly normal phenomenon I believe!

  • calm is my only level.

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  • I've been in a couple tight spots and emergencies. I pride myself in my ability to stay calm, no matter the circumstance. Panicking and stressing always seemed pointless to me so I rarely ever do it.

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  • I stay calm and perform well in situations like that.

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  • Only situation I've been in like that was when my two year old fell into some shallow water between a dock and a boat. I was the first to react, calmly, jumped in, held the boat away, she was fully under, got her out, calmly told someone to take her as I handed her off.

    Hopefully I'd react that well again.

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    • Good job mate - you saved your kid there :D
      Nice that your story too had a happy end!

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