12th February 2024

How to prepare for a medical emergency at home

When an emergency occurs at home, being ready is key. Getting prepared in advance means you have a plan and the right things on hand, which will help you stay calmer and increase the chance of a positive outcome for the person you are helping. We hope the following guide will help you prepare in case of an emergency.

What should I have in my first aid kit? 

Your first aid kit can be a small box or bag that is easy to access, clearly labelled and stocked with the correct items. Please ensure it is stored out of the reach of children and make sure:

  • It contains things you need to manage minor injuries
  • To regularly check the expiration dates of the items inside
  • All family members know where to access it
  • You know how to use the contents of your kit

Basic contents include:

  • Gauze or dressings (different sizes)
  • Wound plasters/adhesives (different sizes)
  • Elastic bandages
  • Ice pack
  • Microporous (medical) tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Burn gels
  • Wound cleanser (wipes or pads)
  • Triangular bandage
  • Pair of gloves
  • Over the counter medications
  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen

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How to handle at home emergencies?

Preparation plays an important role in navigating emergencies, which can be unpredictable in nature. If something unexpected occurs, keeping calm and not panicking is essential and will help you think clearly and make better decisions; make sure you keep a list of emergency numbers in an accessible area within your house, such as the kitchen or sitting room. 

See below a list of emergency numbers that could be useful:

  • 999 - any emergency
  • 112 - ambulance/medical emergency
  • GP number (including out of hours numbers)
  • Local garda station
  • 01 809 2166 – poison control (Opening hours: 8am – 10pm)
  • Chemist number
  • Your mobile number, work number and trusted neighbour’s number
  • Mater Private Network Emergency Department
  • Mater Private Network Urgent Cardiac Care
    • Dublin: Tel 1800 247 999 | Opening hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
    • Cork: Tel: 021 601 3326 Email: corkcardiology@materprivate.ie | Opening hours: 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Make sure the contact number of your next of kin, or your “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contact number and important medical information (such as allergies, pacemakers, medical conditions, etc) are kept in an accessible place such as your phone (emergency access feature) and a printed-out list (available to download below) placed in one of the common areas in the house. By doing this, other people can make contact with people close to you and have access to your medical information during an emergency situation. 

Apart from preparing a list of emergency numbers, there are several other things you could do to prepare for emergencies, such as: 

  • Know your Eircode, so emergency services can easily locate your house.
  • Keep copies of your medical record handy and easily accessible should you need to go to the hospital, including:
    • Copy of your medication list
    • Copy of medical history
    • Insurance number or policy if you have one
    • Allergy list as needed
  • Teach children how to access emergency numbers should they need to access it when they are alone. It is important you teach them about the situations in which it is appropriate to call emergency services.
  • Doing CPR training is helpful.
  • First Aid Apps are available (Android and Apple) that could help walk you through emergencies and minor injuries, but make sure they are from trusted sources. 

Emergency checklist

Download our emergency checklist to ensure you have the necessary contact details and items at hand to help you in case of an emergency, and place it in an accessible area within your household.

  Emergency Checklist (pdf) | 219KB

The above content was reviewed by AnaJoy Dizon, Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Emergency Department in Dublin.

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Mater Private Network offers a range of urgent rapid access services in both Dublin and Cork including two Emergency departments and two Urgent Cardiac Care departments.

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