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Before a Medical Emergency

Medical Emergency Before Icon

Get a physical examination and get professional advice on reducing your health risks.

  • Develop habits for promoting good health.
  • Exercise regularly, eat balanced meals, and get enough sleep.
  • If you don’t smoke, don't start, and if you do smoke, quit.

Emphasize safety at home, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, and yard, where many accidents occur.

  • Keep all medicines in child-proof containers and well out of children’s reach.
  • Safely store household cleaners and other poisonous materials.
  • Never leave lawnmowers, snowblowers, or other power equipment running unattended.

Drive carefully.

  • Make sure that all passengers wear safety belts.
  • Adjust driving to traffic, road, and weather conditions.
  • Secure children in child-safety seats. Check with local public safety office (e.g., the police department) to be sure that the seats are correctly installed.
  • Never operate a vehicle if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Check warning labels on all medications and beware of those that may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery.

Follow advisories and regulations on wearing life jackets on watercraft. Even strong swimmers can become incapacitated in an accident.

Prepare for Medical Emergencies

The initial minutes after an injury or medical crisis can be the most important.

Keep emergency phone numbers handy. See Emergency Support Contacts.

  • By your main phone, post numbers for ambulance, police, and fire services (911 in most areas), your physician, poison control (800-222-1222), and a local hospital.
  • Maintain and share with roommates a list of emergency contacts, such as family members.
  • Program the name and phone number for someone who knows you and your medical history as “I.C.E” (In Case of Emergency) on your cell phone.

Maintain a well-stocked first-aid kit at home, at work, and in your vehicle.

  • Keep a list of all your medications in your wallet, including drug names, strength, dosage form, regimen, and name and contact information for the doctor who prescribed them. Also list allergies, especially to medications and latex, which is often used in gloves that medical personnel wear.
  • Wear a medical-alert bracelet or necklace, if you have a condition that emergency responders need to know about (e.g., asthma, bee sting allergy, epilepsy).
  • Take a first-aid class. Training will not only help you stay calm and focused, but will also help you protect yourself and those around you in the event of an emergency.
  • Know how to use and where to find Public Access Automatic External Defibrillators (AED).

AEDs are available around the Blacksburg campus. Contact the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad for detailed locations of AEDs in the building you frequent most.

For more information on medical emergencies, see: