Square Dance Emergencies
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Square Dance Emergencies

Square Dance Emergencies
Emergency Call For Medical Aid
Surviving A Hotel Fire
Preventing Summer Heat Problems

Square Dance Emergencies

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No matter how much planning you do for a square dance event, an unplanned EMERGENCY SITUATION is usually inevitable...either at the dance, or even going to or from a dance...the latter due to weather, traffic, or road conditions, among other things. At the dance itself, dancers can easily over-exert themselves, risking serious injury to themselves or others. We have to remember that ''none of us are as young as we used to be'', and likely can NOT dance at the pace we used to years ago.

The ONLY time one should leave a square during a dance is if you start to feel dizzy, or otherwise ill. Don't walk out of a square, even if the other dancers are not as proficient as you think they should be...we all were beginners at one time.

Note that the dances/festivals are NOT marathons...to see how long you can dance before you literally drop!! You have to have time to take restroom breaks (nature tends to call at the most inopportune time), to eat, to relax, to fellowship, and of course, to sleep. The secrets are to PACE YOURSELF, and KNOW YOUR LIMITS.

If you begin to feel light headed, dizzy, etc., tell the other dancers in your square...and go off to the side to sit down and get your bearings together. In most cases, a substitute dancer can take your spot, and the square can continue dancing, while you take care of yourself. Some people can dance for several hours without a break...others can only dance as little as one tip...only you can know how far you can go before you need a break. Believe me, if you PRESS YOUR LUCK, you're asking for TROUBLE...and you could end up in the hospital...or worse, it could kill you!! Sadly, I've been at, or heard of events (lessons and actual dances), where a dancer or a caller had a heart attack...and tragically, some literally ''died with their boots on''.

It's a good idea to take along a windbreaker, in case the hall is chilly when you first get there...or if you choose to sit out for a time. You most likely will warm up after dancing a tip or two...but pace yourself by the temperature in the hall. It's also a good idea to stay hydrated, as you will perspire with the moving around. Dehydration can ''rock your world in a bad way''. Remember that ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ARE PROHIBITED...both BEFORE and DURING a square dance. Plus, these will dehydrate you very rapidly!! The best thing to drink if you're thirtsy is bottled water.

If you start feeling chilled or too warm, chances are your body is telling you that it's time for a rest...although you might joke that ''the calling made you ill'' (grin!).

One other item to note at a dance...if there is a spill on the floor, clean it up as soon as possible. Dancers can slip and fall without warning if they encounter these ''slick spots'', and be badly injured as a result.

I personally have had several experiences where the floor was made ''slick as ice'', because of powder being put on the floor by dancers, to help them with their ''dancing footwork''...and I nearly fell as a result!!

The shoes that I wear...and this may apply to other dancers as well...do NOT do well on floors with powder on them...or other slippery surfaces. This is especially true on concrete or tile floors. So, you might want to watch for, and avoid these areas...to avoid unnecessary injury to yourself, or to your fellow dancers.

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Emergency Call For Medical Aid

If you, or another dancer falls ill during a square dance, and cannot get off of the dance floor, the following steps can help summon aid quicker, and reduce the risk of further serious injury. If you suddenly feel nauseated, etc., get out of the square and to a restroom as fast as possible (I have had that happen to me). Your fellow dancers will understand...we've all been in that unpleasant situation at one time or another. Besides, as noted above, you could joke that ''the calling made you ill'' (GRIN!).

1) When a dancer goes down, one other dancer in the square will attend to the injured dancer.

2) The other dancers will back up in a circle, to give the injured and attending dancer room and air.

3) The remaining dancers will lift their hands into an arch, known as the E)mergency C)all For M)edical A)id (ECMA) formation.

4) Upon seeing this, the caller or hall monitor will place an Emergency Call For Medical Aid; summoning paramedics, etc. If this does not occur, a dancer should run to the stage to alert the caller, or those in charge, so the proper authorities can be summoned as quickly as possible.

Although we don't like to think of it, everyone needs to be prepared to deal with an emergency situation, should one develop. Being an Amateur Radio operator, and having experience in emergency communications situations, I know how vital it is to quicky summon help. I usually will have my handi-talkie with me...and if needed, I can get on a repeater, and issue a distress call, asking for help, saying that I have Emergency Traffic... which includes the safety of human life, and/or the protection of property, according to Part 97 of the FCC Rules. In fact, I was in such a situation at one of the National Square Dance Conventions I had attended in years past.

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Surviving A Hotel Fire

When you check into your hotel/motel at a square dance festival, or at the National Square Dance Convention, you should follow these rules to better improve your chances of survival, should there be a FIRE at your hotel during your stay. It is advised to NOT smoke in bed. Fires started by smokers in bed spread quickly, due to the flammable nature of the mattresses, etc...and you can lose your life this way!! Also, with hotels that have NON-SMOKING ROOMS, if you smoke in them, you will have to pay a hefty fine!! Also, for those like myself who do NOT smoke, having to be an a room that was designed for smokers, is very difficult to endure, physically...in that you feel like you're suffocating!!

1) When you check into your room, find out EXACTLY where the FIRE EXITS are located.

2) In case of a fire, the elevators will likely NOT be operational...and you will have to use the stairs to get to a place of safety. If you are disabled or mobility impaired, you should strongly consider a room on the ground floor of your hotel, if at all possible.

3) Know where your room key is at ALL TIMES. You may have to return to your room if the halls are filled with smoke.

4) At the first hint of the smell of smoke, call the Fire Department. Tell them your hotel and room number, then call the Front Desk.

5) Feel the doorknob. If it is HOT, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!! If it isn't, peek outside. If it is not too smoky, go to the fire exit. Keep a wet towel over your face. If it gets too smoky, turn around, and go all the way up to the roof. Firefighters will rescue you there.

6) If you are forced to stay in your room, DO NOT break the window. You will need to close it if there is smoke outside.

7) Fill the bathtub with water. Wet the towels and sheets, and shove them around the door. Block all air vents with wet towels and sheets. If the walls are hot, use the ice bucket to throw as much water on the wall as you can.

8) Above all, keep fighting. Don't quit. The longer you stay conscious, the better your chances for survival.

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Preventing Summer Heat Problems

This information comes from the ''Healthy Steps'' program.

Knowing what to do in the summer heat, with days of temperatues are in the 90s, or above 100 degrees, is IMPORTANT. Prolonged exposure to excessive heat causes symptoms that become progressively worse, unless you get out of the heat, and do what is necessary to take care of yourself.

Some dance events are held outdoors, and on pavement...which can become rather hot in the summer. The best defense is Prevention. So, with that in mind, here are some precautions that you can take:

1) Wear light weight, loose fitting, light colored clothing.

2) Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating of at least 15 to exposed portions of the body.

3) Limit exposure during the hottest hours (10am to 6pm).

4) If possible, avoid strenuous work or exercise outside.

5) Take advantage of shade, and/or wear a wide-brimmed hat. Temperatures in direct sunlight can be as much as 30 degrees hotter than in the shade!!

6) Stay in air conditioned areas, or use fans to speed sweat evaporation. If you notice that you have stopped sweating, you may be suffering heat stroke, which is A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, as it can be fatal!! Seek medical attention immediately, and/or call 9-1-1.

7) Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. Start hydrating early by drinking 1-2 cups of water in the morning. Drink even when you're not thirsty, and keep a water bottle with you all day. Drink 1-2 cups of fluid 30 minutes after exercise, and drink 1/2 to 1 cup of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise.

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