Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Emergency responders know that disasters and mass violence events can cause immense amounts of traumatic physical and emotional pain. Responders often are identified as individuals who can help treat and stabilize medical needs or provide direction on how to get to safety during a crisis. This means their actions and words have great influence on people who need assistance. In order to be most successful in providing care and safety in emergency situations, it is important to use effective and efficient communication strategies with those seeking help.
The following communication strategies can help responders gain trust and reduce anxiety in those being treated, and achieve better physical and emotional outcomes for patients and safer conditions for all.
Immediately seek to provide a sense of hope, safety, calm, and connectedness, regardless whether person is conscious or unconscious
Look the person in the eye, remain calm, and avoid expressing any shock or panic
Create a calming environment
Seek to build trust by showing you care and by listening
Display competence and expertise as well as honesty and openness
Speak clearly and specifically, using short messages and repeating as necessary
Use positive language, such as “you will survive this”; avoid negatives, such as “you are not going to die”
If direct communication is met with resistance, use an indirect approach to communication
Accept the fact that people may have high-risk perceptions
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