How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency

How to Prepare for a Medical Emergency

Whether you are young or old, it’s a good idea to prepare for a medical emergency. However, preparedness becomes even more vital when you suffer from a serious condition or spend time with someone who does. Though health crises are usually unpredictable, here are tips to help you prepare for worst case scenarios.

Emergency contacts

You can hang emergency numbers by home telephones. This list may include poison control or personal emergency contacts. For children, it’s a good idea to list local law enforcement numbers and explain what situations they should be called for.

The old school way to keep emergency information on you was to enter an emergency contact in your phone under ‘emergency contact’ or ‘ICE’, in case of emergency. Others carry emergency contact information in their wallet. However, if you are an iPhone user, you can now provide your emergency medical information to emergency responders even if your phone is locked. You simply use your health app on your iPhone to enter health conditions and emergency contacts that can be accessed on your locked screen. Follow these steps to enter your information on your iPhone.

For elderly, it’s important to either wear an emergency pendant that can contact emergency responders or keep a cellphone on your person at all times, especially if you are prone to falls.


It’s a good idea to keep a list of every family member’s medications and what conditions the medications treat. You can take this list with you to an emergency department so you can have a list ready for health professionals when they ask. For elderly, it’s a good idea to keep a medication list on your person, such as in your wallet. If you suffer from certain conditions, it’s also important to keep emergency medications close at hand such as Aspirin for heart issues, sugar products for diabetes or an Epi-pen for those who have severe allergies. If you take important medications, it’s also critical that when you are traveling by plane you keep your medications packed in your carry-on rather than checked baggage so it is always accessible.

Medical history

Keeping a list of medical conditions, surgeries, severe illnesses and hospitalizations can help you prepare for a hospital visit. This is particularly important for elderly or sickly who have an in-depth medical history that providers should consider when treating.  

Emergency preparedness classes and first aid

One of the most important ways to prepare for an emergency is to be educated on how to recognize and correctly treat others who are suffering from possibly life-threatening symptoms.

Whether you are a parent, babysitter, work in an office with other staff, spend time with the elderly, or would just like to be of use in an emergency, it’s a great idea to take a CPR/AED course. Taking a CPR course will equip you with the knowledge to possibly save a life, without this knowledge you may be helpless in a life-threatening situation. It’s also a great idea to learn basic first aid. In case of a choking emergency, learn how to correctly perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Keep a first aid kit as home, in the car and at work. Though a first aid kit may not seem life saving, it can provide things like Aspirin for someone who think they are having a heart attack. First aid kits can also help prevent serious infections for those who have cut themselves badly.

Sawtooth Medical Institute offers courses to prepare you for health emergencies. Sign up for our adult first aid, CPR and AED course here.


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