In a medical emergency, seconds count. Taking some simple steps to prepare your family and home can make a world of difference before you may ever need to call for help.

Post your address and detailed directions to your home in a common area of the home. In an emergency, you could be distracted and simply not remember them – or someone who is less familiar with the location could be the one making the call. 

Post this information in an easy-to-find spot, such as on the refrigerator or at a family message center. 

Make sure all family members and frequent visitors know where to find it. In addition, keep a list of your emergency contacts and their phone numbers where it can be easily accessed by first responders.

Keep your family’s medical records – including a list of all medications being taken – handy and up-to-date. 

Make sure your home can be identified, even in the dark. Your house number should be clearly visible and large enough to read from the road. 

If it’s nighttime, turn on an outside light. If possible, have someone go outside to wait for the first responders and medics.

Stay on the line with your dispatcher until the ambulance arrives. When you’re talking with an Acadian dispatcher, you’re talking with a trained and certified expert who can save lives. 

Remain calm, stay on the line and answer all of the dispatcher’s questions. Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you. While the ambulance is already on its way, your dispatcher can provide lifesaving assistance.

Learn CPR. Being prepared for an emergency can take away much of the fear and anxiety. 

The American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and many hospitals sponsor free bystander CPR courses. The American Heart Association also provides online instruction in hands-only CPR.