Experts share tips on how to help in an emergency before help arrives

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Two major hurricanes within weeks caused a number of good Samaritans to jump into action.

That's exactly what emergency responders need.

A series of instruction videos from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shares the message: "You are the help until help arrives." Click here to watch the videos.

"If we have a prepared citizenry, they're better off for their neighbor and also better off for the emergency responders that have to take care of folks that have circumstances beyond their control," Burlington Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Barlow said.

The FEMA program teaches five things anybody can do in an emergency:

  • Call 911
  • Protect the person from more harm
  • Position the person so they can breathe
  • Provide comfort
  • Stop bleeding, which could save someone's life

While regular people may not have lots of supplies on hand, a simple emergency kit with items like gauze and bandages can come in handy.

Emily Lakamp, community outreach specialist for Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency said it's also a good idea to stock food and water in the event of large-scale disasters.

"It may take as long as three days for emergency personnel to get to you," Lakamp said. "So, we tell them to be prepared for that amount of time ... Stock that amount of food, that amount of water for 72 hours so that you can be self-sufficient until somebody can get to you."

For anyone who does want to help in an emergency situation, Barlow recommends thinking ahead about what supplies and processes might be used, and knowing how to help safely.

"The critical element is for people to take some personal responsibility to initiate some things that will help make their situation better before the emergency occurs," he said.

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