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How to be Prepared for an Emergency

Taking a few simple steps ahead of time can make it easier to do the right thing in an emergency. Some tips:

- Work with your doctor to develop a heart attack action plan

- so you know what to do if you have heart attack symptoms. Follow this link to make your own action plan card with information you will need in an emergency:

- Share your action plan with your spouse or living mate. If you live alone, you may want to work with a friend or neighbor to make an action plan together.

- Talk with your family and friends about your heart history how to recognize the symptoms of heart attack, and why it is important to call 9-1-1 within 5 minutes at the most. Tell them that you will be treated faster if they call 9-1-1 rather than driving you to the hospital themselves.

- Gather your medical documents and keep copies where you can easily get to them. You should have copies at home and at work, and you may want to carry an extra set in your purse. Having these on hand can help doctors diagnose you faster and know which medications are safe to give you. You should have:

- A list of all medications you are taking, and any that you are allergic to. This list should include over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and any herbal or dietary supplements.

- A copy of your resting electrocardiogram (ECG). Call your cardiologist, primary care doctor, or the hospital where you had testing done and ask for a copy. This can help doctors better diagnose a heart attack and guide your treatment.

- The name and phone number of the person you would like them to call if you go to the hospital.

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