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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Information from MARS

In the event of a medical emergency, the timely  actions taken by people at the scene can often mean the difference between life and death.   As such Ambulance services are crucial in ensuring that both precious human life and time are saved, when transporting an injured or critically ill person whilst under medical supervision, to the nearest hospital or medical facility.


Ambulance service companies, often encounter the question “How quick does it take for Medical Crews to be on scene?” ...well, EVERY incident  is  ALWAYS  different due to the availability of ambulances, the  area where patient is located, the time of day  hence  amount of traffic encountered, as well as  the condition of the patient as some would require major medical intervention on-site before they can be safely conveyed to hospital.


As Medical Air Rescue Services (MARS) our mission is to save lives by providing excellent pre-hospital emergency and critical care, anywhere in Zimbabwe and beyond .  MARS is a complete emergency medical solution comprising “Road” and “Air” medical transportation backed by highly trained qualified medical professionals and state-of-the-art equipment on board all our ambulances.



·       The most important thing to remember is to try remain calm, and call for an ambulance immediately.

·       Say what is wrong with the patient/what has happened ?

·       Give approximate age and sex, as well as any other past medical history if known,

·       Also state Medical Aid membership if known, as this helps where we take the patient to hospital,

·       Provide accurate directions to your location,

·       Where spinal injury is suspected, do not move the patient, unless his/her life is being threatened

·       Call back if condition deteriorates before ambulance arrives so you get more advice on how to continue managing the patient.


Here are some tips on “what to do” in cases of  Emergency we commonly encounter at home, in schools and in the workplace !  Please remember that these “First Aid Basics” are merely guidelines, and we strongly recommend that people should attend a Basic First Aid Course. 



·        Hit the person firmly on their back between the shoulder blades 5 times to dislodge the object. 

·        Then give 5 quick abdominal thrusts.  To do this, Stand behind the choking person, join your hands around their tummy and form a fist. Pull your hands sharply inwards and upwards to give abdominal thrusts (this is called Heimlich Maneuver).

·       With babies under one year old, turn face down, support head and neck, deliver blows with heel of your hand between shoulder blades. (This creates pressure in the airway, which is often enough to dislodge the object, and allow them to breathe again.)



·       Apply CONSTANT direct pressure to stop or slow down the flow of blood, placing clean bandages when dressing becomes blood soaked. You do not need to use something specific to do this; it can just be your hand, a t-shirt or a towel.

·        The pressure will help the blood to actually form a clot or “plug” and stop the bleeding. This could take 5, 10 or even 15 minutes.  If not, call for an ambulance.

·        Do not wash a wound that is bleeding heavily, as you will actually wash away the “plug”/ clotting agents and make it bleed more.

·       If there is an embedded object in the wound, do not remove it. You may not believe it, but it is actually helping to plug the wound. Therefore removing it, may make the bleeding worse.  Leave this to the medical experts.



·        Call for an ambulance immediately.  Stay with victim and assist as necessary

·       After swallowing a NON-CAUSTIC (non burning) poison give one teaspoon mustard or raw unbeaten egg in a glass of water to induce vomiting. 

·       After swallowing CAUSTIC (burning) poison give milk in as large a volume as the patient can drink.   



·       Cool the burn under cool running water for at least ten minutes as soon as you possibly can. (This will reduce pain, swelling and any potential scarring.)

·       Do not put butter or any oily substance on a burn. Oils retain heat in- being completely opposite to what you want to attain.

·       We often reach for ice- seems like a logical decision. We use it for so many other solutions. Ice, however, is not a good idea either. It can further damage the skin.

·       Do not try to remove anything that is already stuck on the burn wound

·       Take to a hospital If  the burn affects more than one area of the body, or is larger than the size of the person’s hand, and if the burn covers hands, feet, joints or face



·       Do not restrain. 

·       Protect patient from hard or sharp objects that may be nearby. 

·       Turn head to side if vomiting.  Do not try to place anything between teeth.



·       If a broken bone is suspected obtain expert medical help

·       Immobilize the broken bone if possible.



·       Treat with Paracetmol. 

·       Use cool water sponge baths to cool for temperatures over 40°C.

·       Seek medical attention if temperature does not decrease



·       Wash out with water if object in lid or floating in eye.

·       (CHEMICALS) - Flush with water for 10 to 15 minutes while holding eyelid open.

·       Seek medical attention.



·       Place victim lying down on back.

·       Call for an ambulance immediately and proceed to give resuscitation or CPR if trained to do so.



·       A person having an attack will have difficulty breathing and speaking, and may cough and wheeze. With this anxiousness and distress will arise, while they continue to struggle.

·       Help the person sit in a comfortable position and help them take their medication (if they have any) whilst you continually reassure and calm the person.

(A mild attack should ease within a few minutes.)

·       If their medication has no effect, they become exhausted and talking becomes difficult, or they stop breathing - call for an ambulance immediately.

·        Whilst waiting for help to arrive, tilt their head backwards to open the airway, and  pulling the tongue forward.

·       If  no breaths are felt, start chest compressions to give resuscitation or CPR if trained to do so.


Children that are having emergency asthma attacks are usually hard to handle because they usually have a hard time understanding and expressing what is happening to them. Parents or guardians of asthmatic children must be keen and sensitive enough to know or sense when their child is already showing signs and symptoms of an asthma attack.


Do not ever make the grave mistake of making asthma patients lie down during their attack, it will only make it more difficult to breathe.



·       When a  person’s blood sugar levels become too low or too high, and is left untreated, a diabetic emergency can actually result in a coma or death.

·       Common symptoms for both too high (hyperglacemia), or too low (hyperglacemia)  sugar levels can be :-

- intense hunger,

- convulsions,

- profuse sweating,

- drowsiness or confusion,

- weakness or feeling faint or

- sudden loss of consciousness.

·       Keep in mind that the person experiencing this should be able to tell you that they are diabetic (unless it is the first time). 

·       Give them something containing sugar (A drink, a sweet, a glucose tablet). This will raise their sugar levels and improve bodily function.

·       Even if it is actually a high level of blood sugar which may cause you to worry that there is too much sugar in their body, the real problem is not the sugar, but the lack of insulin. Additional sugar at this point will not do significant harm.

·       Call an Emergency Medical helpline if their condition does not improve, if they have trouble breathing,  or they become unconscious.    


MARS  Training School                                                                                                                     

MARS has a Training School that offers a variety of courses. It is also the only training school in Zimbabwe that is accredited by the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa to conduct American Heart Association courses in Basic Life Support for Health Care providers and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support.  The training school offers courses in : -

v Industrial Accident and Emergency Care Course

v Cadet Corps Programme (Schools First Aid Training)

v Aviation Specific Accident and Emergency care

v Emergency Medical Despatcher  Course

v Ambulance Technician (AT) Course

v Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Course

v Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Professionals

v Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) – (American Heart Association)

v Sports Medicine


For further information, please contact the following :-


Ivy Chanakira

Senior Marketing & Account Executive

2 Fairbridge Avenue, Belgravia, Harare , Zimbabwe

Mobile : +263   0773 017171 / 0772 134784    

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