A first responder is a person who has been trained to be the first person at the scene of an emergency to help with what’s going on right away. Most of the time, this means paramedics, firefighters, or the cops. These groups have the tools and information to deal with quickly worsening situations on the ground.

Most people don’t know what to do in a crisis or disaster. During a life-or-death situation, people often do nothing but stand around and watch. But if you know what you are doing, you might be able to help more than you think. Scroll down to see a list of things that first responders think everyone should know that could save a life at the end of the day.

More info: Reddit 1 | Reddit 2

H/T demilked

#1

Image source: merrywidow14Olivia Hutcherson

If you lose your child in a busy place, shout out their name and what they are wearing. It makes it much easier for other people to recognize them.

If you are swimming in the water, get knocked over, and can’t tell which way is up, exhale and follow the bubbles.

#2

Image source: No-Performance2445charlesdeluvio

Get a sharpie and write your phone number on your small child’s arm if you’re going to a big, busy event with them. Teach them to find someone wearing a high-visibility vest and show it to you if they get lost.

#3

Image source: RangerDangerfieldZachary DeBottis

Think that every gun is loaded.

llllPsychoCircus’s answer was:

How the Marine Corps says guns should be handled

Rule 1: All weapons should be treated as if they were fired.

Rule 2: Don’t point a gun at something you don’t plan to shoot.

Rule 3: Don’t touch the trigger with your finger until you’re ready to shoot.

Rule 4: Put the gun on safe until you’re ready to shoot.

Rule 5: Know what’s around you and between you and your goal.

#4

Image source: MrFunnything9

If someone is having a seizure, don’t put anything in their mouth. Instead, cover their head and let them have the seizure.

#5

Image source: justneedadvice87

If you are working with someone who has been stabbed or impaled and the object is still inside the body, do not pull it out.

#6

Coast Guard jobs here:

Put on your life vest. Period.

Don’t get drunk and steer a boat. Period.

Use the boat’s or PWC’s kill switch.

Know where you’re going, and tell at least two people.

Make sure that someone else on the boat knows how to run it. Overboard drills or events should be practiced.

Your engine’s flare flame arrester is there to help you, so don’t take it off. I promise that removing it won’t “give you more horsepower.”

Keep a life ring or something you can throw nearby.

If you fall through the ice, you have only a few minutes to get to the top. Don’t try to stand up and walk once you’re on the shelf. Instead, roll away from it toward harder ice.

#7

Image source: sbpurcellMichael Förtsch

As a social worker, a senior supervisor told me to trust my gut if something feels bad or wrong. Don’t push past it, because you normally know that for a good reason. Also, lock up your damn guns.

#8

First, if you fall into cold water, FLOAT!

If you suddenly got into trouble in the water, your first reaction would be to swim hard. But the shock of cold water could make you gasp for air. Then you would die if you breathed in water. You should instead float to Live.

Tell your kids that the most important thing to do if they fall into water is to float so they can call for help and be easy to find. When they realize that help will be there, it calms them down. All they have to do is make it easier. If they stay cool, it could save their lives. Tell them that if they have to wait that way for a long time, they can just float and shout. I act like my kids are studying for a test and ask them safety questions out of the blue, no matter where we are.

They love the chance to show off, and I say it so often that I hope it will always be true. What should you do first if you fall into the water? A: Float and yell. Who can pick you up in a car or take you to their house? No one, unless you’ve told me they will that day. What do you do when a stranger acts strangely? Tell anyone else, especially a group of people. What do you do if someone is grabbing you? A: SHOUT LIKE HELL and kick, hit, and wiggle.

Image source: SnifterOfNonsense

#9

Image source: KnarrenAmySue H

When you call an emergency number, the first thing you should say is where you are or where you live. So, if you get separated from the group, they will know where to look for you.

#10

Image source: CDC_Tanya Pro

Ex-EMT here. We’re talking 13 years ago.

It’s not a good idea to put your foot on the gas as soon as the green light comes on. Wait a couple extra seconds. When the light turns green, the first two or three seconds are prime opportunities for someone who ran a red light to hit you.

#11

If no one talks in a room, car, or building, DO NOT GO IN FOR ANY REASON. If you see someone fall down after going into a small area, DO NOT GO IN. If you see a person lying down near a possible chemical spill, DO NOT GO IN. If it killed them, it will kill you as well.

Image source: garfieldlover3000

#12

Image source: ForswornForSwearingJonas Leupe

“Someone call 911!” doesn’t work as a TV catchphrase. People will think that someone else has already done it, so no one will.

If you come across an emergency and don’t see anyone calling 911, YOU DO IT, or you take charge of the scene (like if you’re doing CPR) and assign someone to do it and report back to you.


“In a crisis, the person with the flashlight takes charge.”

#13

Get off your damn cell phone when you drive.

Image source: Zmanoside

#14

Image source: TransportationOk2238Sten Ritterfeld

I just read that if you’re lost and your phone is about to die, you should change your message to say roughly where you are.

#15

Image source: classless_classicMat Napo

Stop what you’re doing and tell yourself, “This is not MY emergency,” whenever an emergency comes up.

This will (hopefully) give you a chance to take a step back and look at the situation. It will also keep you from making bad choices in the heat of the moment.


So many people jump into fast-moving water to save someone else, but they end up getting hurt themselves. Some people try to help people quickly but end up hurting them more.

If you can look at things as objectively as possible, you’ll make much better choices.

#16

A friend of mine is a first responder, but I’m not one myself.
He tells you NOT TO GO NEAR TRAIN TRACKS. Don’t walk on pennies, squash them, or take pictures on them. Even if you don’t believe it, trains can come up behind you at a scary speed and they don’t slow down.

Image source: cuteemogirlfriend

#17

Image source: Ten7850Sean Patrick

Have your home marked and lit up so that people can find you quickly… Each second is important.

#18

Image source: BR_GTXArtem Saranin

My uncle was a cop in the past. He said that if you see someone overdosing, you should still call 911 because you could save their life and you won’t get into any trouble with the law. And you don’t have to wait 48 hours to report someone lost.

As soon as possible is best. My dad used to work as a fireman. He said that if you ever wake up to the smell of gas, you shouldn’t turn anything on because it’s a sign of electrical damage that can lead to a firey blast. He also said that if you are cooking something in a pan and it gets on fire, don’t use water to put it out. Instead, use the pan cover.

#19

Wear the seatbelt. It’s there for a reason.

Image source: imnotmagic123

#20

nearly 5 years as a paramedic here.

Don’t put your feet on the dashboard for the passenger.


Babies often have febrile seizures. Most of the time, they do nothing bad. Still, it’s a good idea to call us in case there’s something else going on. I can see how scary it is for a new parent. Not how high their temperature goes, but how quickly it goes up. If they have a fever, don’t bundle them up. I know they are cold, but it’s just because they have a fever. Get them medicine.

Before you agree to have us move you or a loved one, you should really think about how urgent your problem is. We can’t say no when you ask for an ambulance, and we can’t really say, “This doesn’t need an ambulance.” So just use your best sense if you are able to. Grandma is feeling weak and sick. She might be sick. Take her to the emergency room or, better yet, the hospital. Not really something that needs an ambulance.

Your back hurts since a week ago. Not really something that needs an ambulance. Does my ankle hurt in the shower? Not really something that needs an ambulance. You’re lonely because you’re old and your kids don’t come see you or call you. I REALLY DON’T NEED AN AMBULANCE FOR THAT! Other people DO need one, and by taking it away from them, you are taking away a VALUABLE resource. Only six paramedics serve my city of 350,000 people.

Yes, just six! Don’t throw them away! Each call can take up to two hours if the person has to drive to you, take you somewhere else, wait for a bed, and clean. If you have the flu, there will be a 2-hour window when someone won’t be able to get help quickly.