Earthquake Safety Tips

Home » First Aid

Although earthquakes happen in some areas more frequently, it can happen in all parts of the world. In order to diminish the destructive effects of the earthquake, we should always be prepared before it happens. Followings are some simple methods which can reduce the damage of earthquake:

• Big and heavy objects that can fall with earthquake shakes should be fixed into the wall

• When you want to put objects on the shelves, make sure that heavy objects are in the lower parts

• If you have items such as big mirrors and watches, hang them away from the place you are sleeping or sitting usually.

In modern buildings, most injuries in an earthquake result from falling or flying objects or people trying to move, rather than collapsing buildings. So, do not leave the building until the shaking is over.

During an earthquake, stay away from the windows, glass, exterior walls, fireplaces, unstable objects, shelves, cabinets, and anything that could fall. Then take shelter under an object using drop, cover and hold on technique.

Drop, cover and hold on, can save your life during the earthquake

When you feel the first shaking of an earthquake, you should immediately find a sturdy object, such as a strong wooden table to take shelter underneath. Cover your head with one hand and with your other hand hold the table’s leg. If the table moves, you should also move with it.

When you want to find a suitable piece of furniture try to use the nearest one and never go to another room and especially another floor to find a better one.

If you cannot find suitable shelter, sit in the squat position in the corner of the room near the interior walls of the building and protect your head and neck with your hands and arms.

If you are in bed when an earthquake hits

Suppose that you are resting on the bed when the earthquake strikes. It is recommended that in this condition, you do not leave the bed and use your pillow and your arms to protect your head and neck. However, if your bed is near a heavy object that might fall, you should leave the bed and take shelter under a sturdy object. Keep in mind that most injuries occur when you are moving. So, avoid unnecessary movements and seek shelter under the nearest piece of furniture.

In contrast to traditional training guidelines which suggest that standing in the doorway can save your life during an earthquake, research has proven that in a new building this is not true. The reason is that compared with old buildings, in modern houses, the doorway is not stronger than other parts. Also as mentioned before, the main threats in new buildings are falling and flying objects and doorways cannot protect you against them. On the other hand, it is likely that you fall, when a strong shake start. Though, if you are inside an old house, and you have no other option, the doorway might be able to save you.

Elevators like stairs are one of the most dangerous places during the earthquake. So, you should never use an elevator during or after the earthquake. If you are inside the elevator when shaking begin, you should push all the buttons and get out on the first floor it stops.

Should you evacuate the house when the shaking begins?

The only condition that you should not stay indoors is when you are in a non-engineered building with a heavy ceiling. For example, if you are inside an old brick building that will be destroyed completely by an earthquake, you should leave the house as soon as possible.

Triangle of life as a mythical earthquake survival technique

In recent years, we are hearing a lot about the triangle of life and how it can save lives during an earthquake, although its effectiveness has been questioned. Triangle of life theory is based on the idea that buildings collapse during the earthquake and crush the furniture leaving an empty space near them. According to this assumption, some people believe that we should seek shelter next to the furniture, not under objects.

Why triangle of life, cannot protect you during an earthquake?

Opponents of this theory raise some objections that undermine the credibility of this theory:

•  Triangle of life theory offers that you should not take shelter under the furniture because it will crash when the ceiling falls on it. This is not true because most modern buildings are resistant to earthquake. Although an earthquake might damage the building, total collapse is highly unlikely.

• As we mentioned before, nowadays most earthquake damages caused by falling or flying object. Seeking shelter under objects will protect you against such damages while hiding near the objects, as suggested by the triangle of life theory, will not provide any protection.

• There are lots of photos which show the triangle of life after the earthquake. Though after the earthquake, we might be able to find such empty spaces near the objects, it is really hard to predict the place of such a triangle in advance. In fact, because objects move during the shaking, the location of the triangle of life also moves.

To sum up, you should use drop, cover and hold on technique to protect yourself during an earthquake. However, if you cannot get under sturdy furniture and if you can’t leave the building that may collapse, the triangle of life may be used as the last resort. In this case, sit near an object that does not fall on you and cover your head with your hands and arms.

How to stay safe if you are inside a car during an earthquake?

Suppose that you are driving when the earthquake strikes. In this case, you should carefully reduce your speed and stop the car in a safe location and remain inside the car until the end of the earthquake. Places near tall trees, utility poles, high-rise apartments, bridges, and ramps are not safe and you should avoid them during the earthquake.

Triangle of life theory, recommends that during the earthquake, you should exit the car and lie down on the ground near the car, with the hope that it will provide the empty space for you if something falls on the car. Though, this recommendation is not logical because it is possible that car moves during the earthquake and hit you. In addition, you might be seriously damaged if other drivers cannot see you, while you are lying down on the ground.

What should we do after an earthquake?

After the shaking stops, leave the building calmly. Do not rush for doors, especially in crowded public places as it can lead to severe damage. In addition, you should not evacuate the building at the same time with other people because it exerts lots of force on the damaged part of the building, which might lead to collapse. Walk slowly to avoid falling, if aftershocks happen.

Because the floor is probably full of pieces of broken glass, you should wear shoes or wrap several layers of folded paper around your feet. For evacuation, never use the elevator, but use stairs instead.

After leaving the house, turn off gas and electricity at the meters. Before shutting off the main water supply, make sure there are no fires in the building. Then gather in a place away from buildings, trees, power lines, and power poles, gas pipes, wells, and narrow streets. When you are outside of the building, it is recommended to sit in the squat position with your hands on the floor, to prevent falls during aftershocks.

How to help earthquake victims?

After the earthquake, ask everyone to be quiet and listen carefully to the sounds of possible survivors. If you hear sounds of survivors underneath the rubble, mark the location for further investigation by rescuers. Except in case of emergency, you should not walk on wreckage because debris might fall on any survivors under the rubble.

Earthquake survivors are at high risk of spinal cord injury. Therefore, the rescue process should be done by skilled professionals. If you are in a place that you are sure it will take too long for help to arrive and you want to pull out the victims, make sure during the rescue process head, neck, and the rest of the spine remain in a straight line axis.

Do not return home immediately after the earthquake

Do not hurry to return home because earthquakes are often followed by aftershocks that can lead to the destruction of the damaged buildings. If possible, stay one night in a tent in an open and safe space.

When it is safe to enter the building, bring flashlights and never use matches or any electrical instrument because if there is a gas leak, it could cause an explosion.

What to do if you are trapped after the earthquake?

If you are trapped under the debris after an earthquake, stay calm and wait for help. Staying calm, without any movement helps to get the most out of the remaining oxygen. Do not hurry, and do not worry to get out. A human can survive for a week without water and three weeks without food.

So, keep your calm, listen carefully to the sounds around you, and wait for rescuers. When rescuers arrive, signal your presence by tapping on a pipe or wall. Only as a last resort try shouting and to prevent dust inhalation, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth.

Prevent your car from being stolen after an earthquake

Car theft is a common peril after the earthquake. To prevent this, remove an important part that is essential for the performance of the car. It is recommended to remove spark plug wires or tires from the car.

How to Stop Bleeding?

Home » First Aid

Bleeding occurs when blood escapes the vessels. Blood provides nutrients and oxygen for different parts of our body, so naturally, if severe bleeding continues, we would not be able to live. In this section, we will discuss various methods by which you can control bleeding effectively.

Types of hemorrhage:

1. External bleeding

All of us have experienced external bleeding in our lives. External bleeding usually occurs as a result of damage to the skin. In this case, blood exits from the vessels and leaves the body through the wounds.

2. Internal bleeding

The second type is internal bleeding in which blood enters into the body cavity. Internal bleeding is more dangerous than external bleeding because it is more difficult to identify.

For example, people who do not have any apparent damage after an accident, usually do not seek medical attention. So, it is possible that an apparently healthy individual dies suddenly due to internal bleeding. For this reason, it is necessary that all individuals who have been in a car accident, seek medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Signs of internal bleeding

Vomiting blood or blood in spit, bleeding from a bodily orifice (such as mouth, nose, ears, and rectum), appearance of bruising, abdominal pain or swelling, cold and pale skin, excessive thirst, too much sweating, shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness.

Universal precautions

Blood may contain different kinds of infections, which can be transmitted when you want to help someone else. So, you should always avoid contact with the victim’s blood and other body fluids. When contact is necessary, you should wear protective gloves before giving first aid. If gloves are not available, put your hands inside plastic bags, instead.

Additionally, washing your hands with soap and water can effectively reduce the risk of transmission of infection.

How to stop a small cut from bleeding?

In order to stop bleeding, the best way is to apply direct pressure to the wound. Besides, smearing a thin layer of Vaseline can quickly stop bleeding in minor cuts. White vinegar can be used to disinfect wounds and stop bleeding, too.

Urinating on the wound is an old method for cleaning the wound and bleeding control. Though, it increases the risk of infection and should be avoided.

How to treat a deep cut?

Sometimes, large cuts result from the penetration of an object into the body. When you want to control the bleeding of huge cuts, you should first clean the wound from sand, foreign objects or any other dirt. Though, if an object is penetrated inside the wound, you should never try to remove it, as it makes bleeding worst. In this case, you should put some streel gauzes around the wound, and be careful that no pressure is on the object and does not push it further inside, then move the victim to the hospital.

As we mentioned above, the best way to control bleeding is to insert direct pressure on the wound. When there are large cuts, you should bandage the wound to provide sufficient pressure. If the victim has a sense of coldness, itching or tingling, or if the nail bed’s color does not return after pressure is removed, the bandage is too tight.

If it is not possible to bandage the wound, press the sterilized gauze by hand over the wound. But you should not exert any pressure on injured head or eye. Never lift sterile gauze to see whether bleeding has stopped, as this disturbs blood clots. If bleeding continues and soaks the gauze, don’t take it off but put more gauze pads on top of it.

Do not move the injured person until bleeding is controlled. If it is absolutely necessary to move the victim, stabilize the damaged area first.

How to stop heavy bleeding?

Blood flows inside the vessels because the heart pumps blood into the vessels. If we raise a limb above the heart level, blood flows with lower pressure into that limb. So, if bleeding continues despite all of your efforts, you should raise the injured limb above heart levels. However, you should only use this technique when you are sure there is no fracture in the limb.

What is a tourniquet?

The tourniquet is a medical device that can stop blood flow to the limb. Some people believe that you should tie the tourniquet above the wound to completely stop blood flow. If you stop the blood circulation for long periods of time, it may lead to permanent damage to the limb. So, the use of the tourniquet is not recommended if you have not received specialized training. However, if you cannot stop bleeding by applying direct pressure or raising the limb and there is a possibility of death due to severe bleeding, you can use a tourniquet as the last option.

How to stop a nosebleed?

To stop a nosebleed, pinch your nose for 10 minutes. It is better to sit down and lean forward a little. This position prevents blood from entering the stomach that may lead to vomiting. This position also reduces blood pressure in the nose and helps stop the bleeding.

Additionally, as a natural remedy, lemon juice is very effective to stop nose bleeding. Trickle few drops of lemon juice on a clean tissue paper and put it inside your nose. When bleeding has stopped, you should not blow your nose too hard for a few days.

When to see a doctor for bleeding?

In many cases, bleeding can be controlled by the above-mentioned methods and you do not need to see a doctor. However, in the following cases, it is necessary to visit a doctor:

• If the wound shows a sign of infection such as redness, severe pain, and watery discharge

• If the wound is dirty and more than five years have passed since your last tetanus shot

• The wound on vital body parts such as head and face

• If it is a very deep and wide wound

• Wounds from animal bites

• If the foreign body gets stuck in a wound

• Numbness around the wound

• Failure to control bleeding in 15 minutes

Management of amputation

If a limb has been cut off, wrap the severed part in a clean, damp gauze, place it in a plastic bag, seal the bag, place it in ice-cold water and get the limb to the hospital with the patient. There should be a little air inside the plastic to protect the limb against pressures.

First Aid for Electric Shock

Home » First Aid

The electric current may cause little or no skin burn but severely damage internal organs. Moreover, it may take some time for symptoms to appear. So, if you cannot diagnose any surface damage, do not underestimate the severity of the burn and see your doctor immediately.

What to do if someone gets electrocuted?

You should never touch a victim of electric shock until you have not switched off the power from the main supply. However, there are some conditions in which you might not be able to turn off the electricity. Helping the victim in these cases depends on the voltage:

1. Low voltage electric shock

If you find a victim in contact with low voltage wire, you should approach him with caution. It is possible that the floor also conducts electricity, especially when it is wet. So, if you have a tingling feeling in your feet, do not approach anymore and leave that location immediately, using jump technique.

Electrical safety tips

Jump away, do not walk, when moving away from the energized ground. To do so, jump with your feet together or lift one foot up and jump away.

If you could reach the victim without any problem, separate the person from the live wire using a non-conductive object such as dry wood.

You can also loop a rope around the victim’s limbs and drag him off the wire. Wearing rubber gloves and standing on dry, non-conductive material (such as a piece of wood, a plastic object or a book) substantially reduce the risk of electric shock, when helping a victim.

2. High voltage shock

In high voltages, it is not necessary to touch energized wiring to suffer an electric shock. For example, a person 60 feet (18 meters) away from high voltage wire is likely to get an electric shock in dry weather. That’s why your distance must be at least 80 feet (25 meters) from high voltage wires. On the other hand, at high voltages, non-conductive objects (such as dry wood) can also conduct electricity.

So, call the Power Company and do not approach the victim until power has been turned off, or else you will be the next victim.

What to do if power lines fall on your car?

If the power line falls on your vehicle, it’s better to stay inside the car until help arrives. Use the jump technique, if you should escape the car, due to an emergency condition such as a fire.

Lightning safety

Lightning strikes can cause injury and death. To reduce the risk of being struck by lightning, consider the following tips:

What to do in a lightning storm outside?

If you’re outside when lightning comes up, take shelter under the rocks (inside a cave, for example) or go to the lowest point possible. Standing in high places, open grounds, and water bodies will increase the risk of lightning injury or death.

Avoid objects such as utility poles, high rise buildings and trees, metal objects and anything that conducts electricity, to decrease the risk of a lightning strike. If you are in a forest with no other options, stay away from tall, isolated trees and seek shelter under small ones.

You can fall victim to lightning striking a nearby person. To avoid it, keep at least 100 feet (30 meters) away from other people when you see lightning.

If there is no shelter available, as a last resort, crouch down with your head between your knees and your heels touching, place the palms of your hands over your ears and close your eyes. This position reduces the risk of being struck by lightning and minimizes the chance of being injured if it happens.

Are you safe from lightning in a car?

Stay inside the car, with the windows and doors closed and do not use electronic devices. Furthermore, don’t touch the steering wheel, gear shift and any part of the metal frame.

How to stay safe from lightning indoors?

Even though a house offers the best protection from lightning, to ensure maximum safety consider the following:

During the lightning close all the windows and curtains, go to the windowless rooms. Moreover, stay away from the doors, panel radiators and heaters, do not use the bathroom, and refrain from touching concrete surfaces. In places that are more prone to lightning strikes, it is recommended to install lightning rods on top of the building.

Though lightning may damage electronic devices, it is dangerous to unplug them during lightning. So, unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives, but do not touch them (even telephones) during the lightning.

Lightning strike first aid

Contrary to popular misconception, lightning can strike the same place more than once. So, help the victim only if you are not in the danger of being struck by lightning. On the other hand, the human body does not retain the electrical charge from the strike. Therefore, there is no danger in helping lightning victims, once the scene is deemed safe.

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for lightning strike victims. Consequently, helping victims needs resuscitation equipment. So, you should call emergency services straight away. If you think it takes too long for help to arrive, you’ll need to do CPR immediately.

First Aid for Burns

Home » First Aid

Many of us have experienced burns in our everyday life, as a result of the exposure to heat, chemicals or, etc. In this section, we will explain how to treat different kinds of burns.

How to treat thermal burns?

When you want to give first aid to the victim of thermal burns, you should remove the heat source from the environment. If you cannot do it, move the victim to safety immediately. You should try to move the victim without touching the burned areas, as it might create further damage to the skin. Finally, lie down the victim so that burned areas do not touch the ground.

Remove cloth of burn victims

After moving the victim to a place of safety, check him immediately and call an ambulance if necessary. Remove burnt clothes using scissors, but do not remove clothing if it is stuck in the skin.

Remove rings, bracelets, watches, shoes, etc because they can cause serious problems if swelling occurs later.

How to treat a burn?

Naturally, the amount of time that skin is exposed to the heat has a direct relation to the amount of damage you suffer. So, if you be able to reduce the temperature of the burned area immediately, it will help a lot in diminishing the degree of damage. The best way to cool the skin is to place it under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. If you do not have enough water available, find a clean cloth and make it wet and put it on the burned location. You should moisten the cloth regularly to be sure it will cool the burn.

When burn affects a large portion of the body such as a complete limb, you should not use water to lower the temperature. In this case, lowering the temperature by running water or by immersing the total limb in water can lower the victim’s temperature dramatically and result in shock. In order to lower the temperature in this condition, you should also use a wet cloth. At the same time, you should cover the non-damaged parts of the victim’s body with a blanket to prevent loss of temperature.

If you want to use water for lowering the temperature, you should only use pure water and not saltwater or ice. Substances like toothpaste, butter or potato are among proposed home remedies for burn treatment. Though science has not proven their effectiveness, since they do not have any effect in lowering the temperature, meanwhile they increase the risk of infection.

Stop drop and roll

When you are near a flame, bear in mind that your clothes can catch fire easily. When a person’s clothes catch fire, they usually start to run away, which is the worst thing an individual can do, because it gives the fire more oxygen. The best thing a person can do is to lie down, protect their face with hands and roll on the ground.

If you want to help another person whose clothes catch on fire, first you should stop him from running. Then find a fire blanket or a woolen blanket and wrap it around the victim and roll him on the ground. You should never use plastic blankets for this purpose, because it may catch fire itself.

Make sure you put out the victim’s fire completely, before transporting him to the hospital. In some cases, the victim’s clothes are still burning when he reaches the hospital!

How to treat chemical burns?

Nowadays, we have lots of chemical agents in our house some of them can cause serious skin damage if we do not use them cautiously. When chemical burns happen, you should clean the agent from the skin immediately by wearing gloves and cleaning the skin using a brush or a cloth. Then you should remove all the contaminated clothes and wash the skin under running water for at least 20 minutes.

Chemical eye burn

Chemicals can damage eyes more seriously than other parts of the body. So, you should always wear protective glasses while using hazardous chemicals. If your eye is infected with chemicals, you should wash it under running water for at least 20 minutes. In order to prevent the spread of chemicals from one eye to the other, the direction of water should be from the bridge of your nose to the outside of your face.

People who have some familiarity with chemistry might think that instead of water, they can use other chemical agents to neutralize the burning chemicals. For example, they might think that instead of washing an alkaline burn with water, they can use some acid to neutralize the base. Though, this is totally wrong and can increase the damage. You should only use water in chemical burns, not any other chemical agent.

Should you pop a blister?

Do not puncture burn blisters because this increases the risk of infection. However, if the blister is too large, it will burst on its own, so it is necessary to see a doctor to drain the fluid.

You’re at a higher risk of tetanus infection if burn damages your skin. In these cases, see your doctor for a tetanus shot.

A Comprehensive Guide to Fire Safety

Home » First Aid

You should always be cautious when you are using cooking and heating equipment, electric appliances, and smoking materials as they are the main reasons for home fires. Candles are also another cause of home fires. Though it might seem really romantic to have burning candles in the house all the time, it might create problems. So, use candles less frequently, keep them away from flammable objects and turn them off before you leave the place.

What to do in case of fire?

When you go to a new building, be sure that you know the location of fire exits, fire extinguishers, and fire alarms. If your house catches on fire, first keep you cool and evaluate the fire to see whether you can control it or not. If you find that you are not able to extinguish the fire, warn others by shouting and activating fire alarms. Then, leave the building as soon as possible and when you are in a safe place, call the fire department.

When there is a fire inside the house, you should not open any door. If it is really necessary, you should evaluate the presence of fire on the other side of the door, first. To do so, touch the door and check its temperature and also check for any smoke that might come from another side of the door. If you find no danger, close it when you left the room. Closed doors can effectively restrict the spread of fire.

Crawl to travel through smoke-filled environments, because the smoke rises to the top of the room. To prevent inhalation of toxic gases, wrap a wet cloth around your mouth and nose.

Evacuate the building using the stairs, not the elevators. If there is smoke in the stairs do not enter and go back to your room. Then go into the balcony and signal to rescuers by waving a white cloth.

If your flat doesn’t have a balcony, move to a room free of smoke and seal the door with a wet towel. Then call the fire department and report your exact location within the building. Finally, open the window and shout for help.

Fire extinguisher

Fire needs oxygen, heat, and fuel to exist. If we can remove each of these three factors, we can easily extinguish the fire. Fire extinguishers can effectively remove oxygen from the fire and consequently put out the fire quickly.

However, since we have various types of fires, based on the fuel source, we will need different kinds of fire extinguishers, too. It would be ineffective or sometimes damaging if fire type and fire extinguisher are not compatible. The following table indicates the fire classification system in different parts of the world:

The best option for home is the ABC (ABE) fire extinguisher which is effective against fires involving paper, wood, flammable liquids and electrical equipment.

It’s very difficult and extremely dangerous to put out electrical fires, so it is recommended that immediately call the fire department in this case. However, in emergency situations, you can use ABC (ABE) fire extinguishers, but never put water on an electric fire because you could be badly shocked.

How to put out a fire?

Always consider a means of escape before attempting to put out the fire. Never allow fire, heat or smoke to get between you and your escape route. For extinguishing outdoor fires, put your front to the fire and your back to the wind.

For example, in the above figure, the woman is in the proper position to put out the fire. But the man is not in the correct position, due to the direction of the wind (red arrow) and obstruction of escape routes, with fire expansion.

It takes less than 10 seconds for most residential fire extinguishers to empty. So, never try to extinguish a big fire, like what is shown in the figure above, with fire extinguishers you have in your house. The best thing you can do in this condition is to leave the place and help others to do it, too.

How to use the fire extinguisher?

1. Pull the pin

In order to prevent accidental discharge of the fire extinguisher, there is a pin that locks the lever above the handle. When you are ready to use the fire extinguisher, you should break fire extinguisher tamper seal and pull the pin, first.

2. Aim fire extinguisher nozzle at the base

When using the fire extinguisher, many people aim the nozzle at the top of the fire, where there are more flames. Aiming at the top of the flames cannot effectively put out the fire. You should aim at the bottom of fire instead, in order to cover the top of the fuel by fire extinguisher agents to deprive oxygen of the fire.

3. Squeeze the lever slowly

When you are ready, you should push down the lever above the handle to discharge the extinguishing agent. At this time, your distance from fire should be about 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 meters) and if you see the fire is going to diminish you can go closer while you are using the fire extinguisher.

4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side

In order to cover the top of fuel by extinguishing agent completely, you should move the hose from side to side.

How many fire extinguishers do I need and where to place fire extinguishers?

It is really necessary to have enough number of fire extinguishers in your house, and it is also important to install them in the places that are completely accessible in case of fire. There should be at least one fire extinguisher in the entrance of the building and in locations with a high risk of fire such as garage and kitchen. Pay attention that fire extinguishers should not be near the oven or other heating equipment so that they do not be out of your reach in case of fire.

Fire extinguishers should be installed on the wall about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground. Though they might not look beautiful, you should not hide fire extinguishers behind curtains or inside cabinets, but mount them in a place that there are completely visible and easily accessible.

In addition, you should have enough fire extinguishers in other parts of your house so that in case of fire, you do not need to go to another floor, travel more than 80 feet (25 meters) or pass through more than two doors to find one.

Fire extinguishers inspection

Most of the time you do not use fire extinguishers for long periods of time. To be sure that fire extinguishers operate well when you need them, it is necessary to inspect them regularly. During the inspection, examine the extinguisher for any rust, leakage and physical damage and make sure that the pressure gauge needle is in the green zone. You should take your fire extinguishers to professional service centers for a complete inspection, at least once a year.

How to put out a grease fire?

A grease fire requires a Class K (Class F) fire extinguisher which is commonly used in commercial kitchens and restaurants and put out the fire without damage to cooking appliances.

Yet, given the fact that Class K (Class F) fire extinguishers are used almost exclusively to put out grease fires, it might not be economical to purchase one for home. For your kitchen fire, ABC (ABE) extinguisher will be sufficient, though chemical agents can result in damage to cooking appliances.

Consequently, if oil fire is small, do the following:

• Turn off the stove.

• Never attempt to move the pot and do not pour water on it.

• Pour lots of baking soda or salt on fire. Be careful not to pour another material, such as baking powder or flour as they will make the fire even worse.

• Put a metal lid or fire blanket on top of the pan to smother the fire. Never use a wet towel to put out grease fires.

• As your last resort, use ABC (ABE) fire extinguisher.

Fire hose

Fire hose reel provides water with high pressure to extinguish Class A fires such as wood, textile, and paper fires. It is recommended to have at least one person to help you while using a fire hose reel. Furthermore, pay attention that you should never use the fire hose reel in environments with electric appliances until you have not turned off the electricity from the main supplier. Like fire extinguishers, fire hose reels need professional inspection at least once a year.

How to use a hose reel?
For using a fire hose, do the following:

• Break the protective glass in front of the key box and open the door if applicable.

• Turn on the stop valve.

• Run out sufficient length of the hose.

• Aim at the base of the fire and open the nozzle.

What to do after a fire?

After extinguishing the fire, look for smoke and put out any fire that could still be burning. Finally, remove the fuel source and wash any remaining fuel to prevent re-ignition of fire.

Sometimes, there is a legal requirement to report the fire to the fire department, even if you put it out. Usually, insurance companies require official reports from the fire department to pay your claim. So, be sure to contact the fire department and also take photos and videos from the scene to win your insurance claim. Last but not least, refill used fire extinguishers as soon as possible.

Water Safety Tips and Drowning Prevention

Home » First Aid

Swimming is one of the most popular recreational activities, especially during the hot summer months. Unfortunately, many people around the world die from drowning every year, due to the lack of familiarity with swimming skills.

Though the best way to mitigate the risk of drowning is to learn how to swim, still there are some basic swimming survival techniques that can keep non-swimmers from drowning.

Things to do if you feel like you’re drowning

When you feel like drowning, the most important thing is to stay calm. While keeping calm, check if your feet can touch the ground.

If water is deeper than your height, immediately remove any heavy appliances at your disposal (for example, shoes and heavy items inside your pockets), then try to get close to the water’s surface so you can breathe.

How to float in water?

Back float (Starfish float) is one of the most effective ways to prevent drowning, even if you do not know how to swim. Naturally, the more air you keep in your lungs, the better you stay afloat on the surface of the water. So try to hold most of the air inside your lungs, and exhale only a small part of it.

Furthermore, holding a floating object (such as an empty bottle) can help you to perform back flotation more easily. Learning this technique requires some exercises, so try to float, next time you go to the swimming pool.

Use personal flotation devices for drowning prevention

Nowadays, there are a variety of different flotation devices that can save your life, while you are in danger of drowning. Life jackets and lifebuoys are among the most widely used flotation devices and are necessary whenever there is a danger of drowning.

Moreover, if you do not know swimming you should always use appropriate flotation aids such as a waist belt or armbands.

However, the use of the above-mentioned flotation devices for swimming is cumbersome. Consequently, for those who know swimming, it is suitable to wear an inflatable wristband or inflatable life jacket. With these types of equipment, you can swim more easily, and when you are at risk, you can activate them and save yourself from drowning.

Make a life jacket out of pants

You need three empty plastic bottles and a pair of pants to make a life jacket. First, put one bottle in the bottom of the pants. Then place two other bottles on pants’ legs and tie them firmly.

Temporary floating objects can save your life

If you fall into the water fully clothed and have some familiarity with swimming, you can use your clothing to make temporary flotation devices. Tie the pants’ legs together, pull them out of the water to fill legs with air and finally squeeze the waist tightly. This creates a temporary floating object that will raise you to the surface for a while. When the air leaks out, just fill it up the same way.

You can also use backpacks, long socks, swimsuits, and even underwear to make temporary flotation devices.

Escape from a sinking car

You should always be careful while you are driving especially where there is the danger of falling into the water. If despite all of your efforts it happened, do not waste your time too much for opening the door, because usually, you cannot open the door due to water pressure. So, you should go out through the window. If you cannot open the window, try to break it using the seat’s headrest. Push down one of the headrest pegs into the plastic near the window, then pull it back to break the window. If you cannot break the window using this technique, wait until water enters the car. Now, the pressures on both sides are nearly the same, which makes opening the door much easier.

How to save a drowning victim?

It is possible that you be in a place that a person is drowning and needs some urgent help. Many people who know swimming might be eager to save the victim, but they do not know how to do it.

The way that you can save a victim, depends on whether you know lifeguard techniques or not. If you have received lifeguard training, you will be able to swim to the victim and bring her back to safety.

Though, you should never do it, if you are not familiar with lifeguard techniques. In this case, you should find a floatation device and give it to the victim.

If there were no life-saving appliances (such as lifebuoy), use your creativity to make flotation devices by everyday objects.

Objects that can be used as an improvised flotation device

• Plastic bottles such as soda, water, or juice bottles

• Leak-proof food containers

• Vacuum Flask, water jug, and foam ice chest

• Plastic bags such as freezer bags and trash bags

• Packaged snacks, such as potato chips and popcorn

• Balloons and balls

• Air mattress and air cushion

• Wood: If a large piece of wood is not available, make a bundle of scrap woods using rope

• Car’s spare tire

It is better to tie some of these flotation devices together with a rope and throw them to the victim, then pull the victim to safety using the rope.

Before throwing lightweight objects such as plastic bags and bottles, pour some water in them.

If the distance is too far and you cannot throw the object, approach the victim by swimming from behind and give him the buoyant object to hold onto. Do not let the victim grab you, but if this happens, swim down underwater.

After catching the floating object, the victim should only keep his head out of the water to breathe. Prevent drowning victim from climbing the floatation object, because there is a high possibility that he falls into the water and object get out of his reach.

First aid for drowning

Even if the drowning victim seems healthy, have them see a doctor as soon as possible. Entering a small amount of water into the lungs can cause death within a few hours.

If the victim has been underwater for a long time, resuscitation may still be possible. For example, in one case a child survived after being submerged for one hour in 37 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) water. So, begin resuscitation immediately after pulling drowning victim out of the water.

If the victim is unconscious and is not breathing remove any obstructions such as mud from his airway but do not try to remove water from his lungs. Remove airway obstruction by tongue using head-tilt/chin-lift technique and perform rescue breathing. If the victim is not breathing, perform two rescue breaths first, and then begin CPR. Rescue breathing is difficult at first, but after a while, aspirated water absorbs into the bloodstream and it will be easier to do.

Victims who dive into shallow waters have a high risk of spinal injury. So, saving such a victim is harder because you should prevent any movement or twisting of the head, neck and the rest of the spinal cord. As usual, when you moved the victim to a safe place, you should check for breathing. If the victim is not breathing, use the jaw-thrust technique to eliminate the danger of airway obstruction by the tongue.

If the victim vomits during CPR, place him in the recovery position, put on gloves, and wipe the vomit out with your fingers.

What to Do When Someone Is Choking?

Home » First Aid

The blockage of the airway due to a foreign object, is a common problem, particularly in children. If foreign body airway obstruction lasts longer than 10 minutes, there is a high risk of brain damage, and if it continues, it will cause death.

It is recommended that the following techniques be considered for helping choking victims.

The first thing you should do is to open the victim’s mouth and search for any visible object. If you can see the object, try to remove it with your finger. But if the object is too deep inside the airway or if you cannot see any object, never do finger sweep, because it can push the item more into the airway.

In this case, if the victim is conscious, you should perform 5 back blow and then 5 abdominal thrusts. If the victim is unconscious, you should start CPR immediately. Research has proven that chest compressions during CPR are very effective in removing the foreign object from the airway. After each cycle of CPR, open the victim’s mouth and look for the foreign body. Please pay attention that you should never perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on an unconscious victim.

What to do if a baby is choking?

If you want to perform back blows for a child younger than one-year-old, rest him on your hand. Put your other hand in his front and hold his jaw with your hand. Then turn the child and put his head lower than the rest of his body. Now, with your free hand deliver back blows between his shoulders. During all these steps, you should stabilize the child’s head with your hand.

How to save a choking child?

For performing back blows in children older than one year, bend your knee and put it on the ground. Place the child on your lap and support her chest with your hand. In this position, the child’s hands and legs should hang in the air and her weight would press her abdomen towards your knee. Delivering back blows in this condition can dislodge the foreign body easily.

How to prevent choking in adults?

In adults, you should stand beside the person. Bend the victim a little forward while you put your hand on his chest and perform back blows with your other hand.

How to do the Heimlich?

Heimlich maneuver (Abdominal thrusts) are an effective way to remove a foreign body from the airway, though, you should use this technique only for conscious victims. To do this technique, position yourself on the back of the victim and bend her a little forward. Put your hand on her abdomen above the belly button and below the ribcage. Make a fist with your hand and hold it with your other hand. Finally, deliver an upward pressure to the victim’s abdomen.

How to stop yourself from choking?

Abdominal thrusts also can be useful when you are choking and there is no person around to help you. In this case, you should put your hands on your abdomen and deliver upward pressure to dislodge the object.

If you cannot insert enough pressure on your belly with your hands, you should find a firm object such as a chair. Bend down and place your abdomen on the edge of the chair to deliver adequate pressure to help the object come out of your airway.

CPR, a Lifesaving Skill for First Aid

Home » First Aid

Unfortunately, 95% of those who suffer cardiac arrest, die before reaching the hospital. This is why it is important for everyone to learn CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

After studying this section, if you feel you are not completely ready, do not worry and do whatever you have learned. Based on your level of proficiency, choose one of the following options:

• If you cannot do all the CPR steps correctly

Perform chest-compression-only CPR, which means giving chest compressions at the rate of 100 to 120 per minute. Research has shown that chest-compression-only CPR (without rescue breaths) is highly effective.

• If you think you can do all the CPR steps

In order to do complete CPR, you should repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions and then two rescue breathing. We will explain those steps in more detail in the following section.

Before giving any help to the victim, first look at the accident scene for any potential danger that might threaten you and the victim. If you find such a danger, try to remove it without moving the victim. If it is not possible, move the victim to a safe place.

Check the victim’s consciousness before performing CPR

When you find someone who seems to need CPR, first make sure he is unconscious. To check the victim’s consciousness, tap the victim and ask: “Are you OK?”. If you have not received any response, call the emergency medical services. Then check the victim’s breathing and if he does not breathe, begin CPR as soon as possible. If you find someone drowning in water or an unconscious child under two years old, you should first perform CPR for two minutes, then call the ambulance.

If you have an AED device, ask other people to bring it, but you should not stop CPR until AED is available and ready to use.

Before CPR check for breathing, not the pulse!

Checking for the pulse can be time-consuming for ordinary people. So, when you face an unconscious victim, you should not waste your time finding the pulse, but instead, you should check the victim’s breathing. To do so, put your ear near the victim’s mouth and nose and at the same time look at his chest to detect breathing movements. If you find signs of breathing or if the person starts coughing do not perform CPR.

What to do when someone is choking?

When an unconscious person is not able to breathe, there is a possibility that an object obstructs her airway. So, in the first step, you should open the victim’s mouth and search for any foreign object. If you can see the object, try to remove it by your finger. However, if the object is too deep or if you cannot see any object, do not push your finger into the victim’s mouth, since it can thrust the object further into the airway.

In this case, you should start CPR, because chest compression can remove the object from the airway. So, after each cycle of CPR open the victim’s mouth and look again to see if you can find any foreign object.

How to do CPR?

In this section, we will explain how to perform CPR in more detail. Before performing CPR, you should lie the casualty on his back in a hard place like room floor and not somewhere like a bed. Then you should begin the CPR cycle by chest compression.

Essential steps in hands-only CPR

If you decided to perform chest compression-only CPR without rescue breathing, place your hand at the center of the victim’s chest between his nipples. Then, place your other hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers. In order to maximize the pressure on the chest and prevent any damage, you should apply pressure by the heel of your hands, not by your fingers.

For chest compressions in children, you can use only one hand and in infants three fingers. Then, you can put your free hand on the victim’s forehead and push it a little backward to keep the airway open.

Position your shoulders vertically over your hands. Without bending your elbows, push down the chest 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6 centimeters) using your body weight. The depth of chest compressions for children over the age of one year should be 2 inches (5 centimeters) and for infants 1.5 inches (4 centimeters).

Without moving your hands, release all the pressure on the victim’s chest to return to the normal position. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times per minute until emergency medical service (EMS) arrives or you become exhausted or the person starts breathing again.

How to perform CPR with rescue breathing?

To do standard CPR with rescue breathing, perform chest compression with the above-mentioned method. After 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths and repeat this cycle. Delivering two breaths should not take more than 10 seconds.

If you have CPR mask and gloves available, you should always use them to perform rescue breathing.

When you lie down an unconscious victim on his back to perform rescue breathing, tongue usually falls back into the airway and blocks it. So, before you do rescue breathing, you need to remove this blockage by one of the following ways:

Head-tilt/chin-lift technique for opening the airway

Place your hand on the patient’s forehead and tilt his head backward by applying pressure. At the same time, place fingers of your other hand under the chin and raise it, while you are moving the head backward.

When use the jaw-thrust maneuver to open the airway?

If you think the patient might have the spinal injury, in order to remove airway obstruction, you should use the jaw-thrust method.

To perform this technique, you should kneel above the victim’s head and push the patient’s jaw upward using your index and middle fingers. At the same time, you should open the patient’s mouth slightly with the tips of your thumbs. Avoid any bending or twisting of the victim’s neck or body while performing this technique.

1. Mouth to mouth resuscitation

The best way to enter the air into the victim’s lungs is mouth to mouth rescue breathing. After opening the victim’s airway by head-tilt/chin-lift or jaw-thrust techniques, pinch the victim’s nose with your hand and with your other hand open his mouth. Insert your mouth on the victim’s mouth and exhale into it gently for about one second. In order to make sure your exhalation enters the victim’s lungs, look at his chest to see if it raises with your exhalation. Finally, release the victim’s nose, detach your mouth and allow the air to come out of his lungs.

If there is an obstruction that prevents your breath from entering the patient’s lungs, perform head-tilt/chin-lift or jaw-thrust techniques and repeat rescue breathing again. If this was not successful, continue chest compressions.

2. Mouth to nose resuscitation

If you cannot blow into the victim’s mouth (for example, if the victim’s mouth is too large, if there is a serious damage in the victim’s mouth, if the victim has no teeth, or if you cannot open the victim’s mouth), you can perform mouth to nose rescue breathing, instead.

ATTENTION: It is possible that vomiting occurs when you are blowing into the victim’s mouth or nose. In this case, you should turn him into the recovery position, open his mouth and clean it.

How does a defibrillator work?

AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a device which is necessary for every place like house or office. Using AED, you can treat a patient who suffers from cardiac arrest, easily and effectively. Moreover, almost everyone can learn how to use this electronic device simply.

After attaching AED pads to the victim, it begins to analyze the heart rhythms. Then, it will inform you through audio or visual commands if a shock is necessary or not. Please pay attention that you shouldn’t use AED in a place which contains explosive materials, or if the victim lies on a metal or wet surface. The use of AED is NOT recommended for children under one year of age.

How to use an AED for cardiac arrest treatment?

• When you turn on the AED, the device will give you a series of commands by which you can easily perform CPR or deliver a shock if necessary.

• After turning on the AED, remove all the clothes from the patient’s chest and dry it.

• Now, you should remove the backing papers from AED pads and attach them to the patient’s chest.

• Place one pad above the right nipple, and the second pad to the side of the left nipple so that the heart is between the two pads.

• For children, use pediatric pads and make sure the pads do not touch each other. If the two AED pads risk touching each other, place one pad in the front center of the chest and the other in the middle of the child’s back.

• At this time, AED begins analyzing the heart’s electrical activity. Ensure that nobody is touching the victim during analysis (stand clear).

• If the AED indicates that a shock is not required, start CPR. If the AED recommends that the victim needs to be shocked, press the “shock” button. Make sure no one touches the victim while the AED is delivering a shock.

• After delivering the shock, resume CPR for two minutes. At this time, AED analyzes the heart rhythm again and instructs you if a further shock is required or you should continue CPR.

• Continue these steps until emergency medical service (EMS) arrives or you become exhausted or the person starts breathing again.

An Introduction to Basic Steps in First Aid

Home » First Aid

The first point to consider when giving first aid to a casualty is that help should not be harmful to you. If you become a victim yourself, emergency personnel will have one more victim to rescue. To prevent it, you must check for any hazards upon arriving at an incident scene. The most common potential hazards are chemicals, toxic gases, electric shock, fire, building demolition, and infectious fluids.

Standard precautions for infection control

When helping casualty, you are constantly at risk of being infected by the victim’s disease through contact with his body fluids. In order to eliminate such risk, you should always avoid contact with those fluids. If it is necessary, cover the wounds on your body, remove all of your jewelry such as the ring and watch and then wear gloves. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water.

How to make a first aid box?

It is necessary to have at least one well-stocked first aid kit wherever you are. There are lots of different kinds of such kits available in the market. In order to make a basic one yourself, include the following items in your first aid kit:

• Alcohol and Betadine

• Sterile gauze pads, triangular bandages, and gauze roller bandages

• Adhesive tape and adhesive bandages

• Sterile Cotton Balls

• Antibiotic ointment and alcohol pads

• Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)

• Scissors

• Glasses, gloves and medical face masks

• Water purification tablets

• Soap, towel and waterproof matches

Victim primary assessment before giving first aid

After ensuring safety at the scene, assess the injury and damage as soon as possible. If a person is conscious, first ask for permission, then evaluate the condition by conducting a thorough physical examination to rule out the presence of fractures or bleeding. Call the local emergency number if necessary.

In the case of unconsciousness, no breathing, or severe bleeding, you should first call the ambulance and then help the victim. If you must leave an unconscious person (for example, to contact ambulance), put him in the recovery position.

What is the recovery position?

When you want to put an unconscious person in the recovery position, you should roll him onto his side, bend his top leg and place his upper hand under his head. Finally, rotate the victim’s head downwards to prevent choking on vomit. For rolling the victim to his side, use the log roll technique in order to avoid twisting the head, neck, and back.

Carrying and transporting an injured person

As a general rule, always bear in mind that you should never move a victim before emergency services arrive, especially when you think the victim might have a spinal injury. If there exists a great danger such as fire, the risk of explosion or when the casualty does not breath and you have to move him, use one of the following techniques in order to minimize the risk of further damage:

1. If you are sure that the spinal cord has not been damaged

1A. Walking assist to transport an injured person

In this technique, you should carry the victim from his injured side. Put the casualty’s arm over your shoulders and hold it with your hand. Finally, grasp his waist with your other hand.

1B. Pack-strap carry technique for transferring the casualty

To perform the pack-strap carry, the rescuer kneels in front of the victim. While holding the injured person’s hands, the rescuer positions the casualty on his back. Finally, the rescuer stands up and carries the victim.

1C. Two-person seat carry for moving a victim

In this technique, two helpers should interlock their hands to form a seat. When the casualty sits, helpers’ hands should be placed on the back and under the thighs of the casualty.

2. If you think that the spinal cord might be damaged

Due to the high risk of permanent damage to the spinal cord, you should be very careful that during movement head, neck, and rest of the victim’s spine remain in a straight-line axis. Choose one of the following methods for transportation based on the number of helpers available:

2A. The 6-plus-person lift transfer technique

2B. Log roll technique for the patient with the spinal injury

2C. The clothes drag, shoulder drag, foot drag techniques

In order to move the victim for long distances, you should use a stretcher. However, when you do not have a stretcher available, you can use other objects such as a sturdy piece of wood (a door, for example) which can bear the weight of the victim. Before transferring the victim to such a backboard, put some pieces of rope under it, to secure the victim into it later. You should not tie the rope so hard that prevent breathing or blood circulation. To move the victim from the ground to the backboard, use the log roll technique or 6-plus-person lift transfer technique.

2A. The 6-plus-person lift transfer technique

When there are at least 7 helpers available for transferring the victim, this method can help. One helper as the leader is responsible for the coordination of the movement. The leader kneels above the victim’s head to move head and neck. Other helpers kneel near the victim’s chest, pelvis, and legs. Then, with the guide of the leader, all helpers lift the victim, while another person slides the backboard underneath the victim.

Finally, in order to prevent unnecessary movements, the victim is tied to the backboard using ropes.

2B. Log roll technique for the patient with the spinal injury

In order to move a victim when there are at least two helpers, the log roll technique can be used. This technique also needs a leader for coordination and for movement of head and neck. Other helpers kneel on one side of the victim to roll his body. Before rolling, the victim’s hands should be placed alongside his body with palms attached to his thighs.

Followings are the main reasons for using log roll technique:

• To put the casualty on a stretcher

• To turn the victim onto his back

• To put the patient in the recovery position

2C. Sometimes accidents happen when there is no person available to help you save the victim. If it happens and you want to move victim alone, use the following techniques:

2C i. Clothing drag method for moving a victim

When you are alone and want to move a victim with the possible spinal injury, clothing drag can be helpful. In order to transfer the victim using this method, you should position yourself above the victim’s head, grab his clothes from the shoulder area and drag him gently on the ground. The movement would be easier if you can find a blanket, place the victim on it, and move the victim by dragging the blanket.

2C ii. Shoulder drag method for moving a victim

In this technique, the rescuer should position himself behind the victim and hook his arms under the patient’s armpits. Helper’s elbows should be held against the patient’s head to support it.

2C iii. The ankle drag (The foot drag) method for moving a victim

This technique can be used if the patient is too large to carry in another way. The helper should cross the victim’s arms over his chest, grasp the victim’s ankles with both hands and move backward.

Legal and Ethical Issues in First Aid

Home » First Aid

What should you consider first before giving first aid?

Fortunately, a sense of altruism often makes people help others, without expecting any reward. However, there is another factor that in some cases may prevent people from helping victims, which is the fear of legal consequences arising from helping.

The most important thing is that, like many other legal issues, there is a lot of divergence in this case and the answer to this question can be quite diverse, especially in different countries, regions or circumstances.

So, you must consider your country’s legal requirements when helping others.

Due to the legal requirements, in some countries, ordinary people should help casualties, if it does not have any risk for themselves or others. While people who live in other parts of the world, do not have such a requirement. Though, the following conditions might create such legal obligations:

• If you have a special relationship with the casualty, such as parent-child, spouses, common carriers-patrons, employer-employee, school employee-student, real property owners-invitees, etc.

• When you begin helping others, you are not allowed to stop without a justifiable reason.

• If you injured another person.

This is usually the case for car accidents when sometimes stress cause driver to leave the scene. In addition to being illegal and unethical, “hit-and-run” will result in loss of golden time to help victims and consequently, an increased level of damage. In this condition, it is possible that a victim with minor injuries dies due to delayed first aid.

Good Samaritan laws to protect first aiders

Many governments passed helpful Samaritan laws to avoid criminal prosecution of helpers. These laws will protect you if you get permission from the victim before helping. In order to obtain permission:

• Introduce yourself to the casualty

• Describe your level of training

• Tell the casualty what you want to do

When you want to help a child, you should get permission from parents or guardians. You can assume permission is granted for victims who are unconscious or children whose parents are not available. However, you should avoid helping conscious victims, if he does not allow you, but even in this case, you should call the ambulance.

Criminal prosecution concerns that may arise while giving first aid to others, often exists if you are going to help a stranger. However, if the casualty is a family member, friend or colleague, probably there would be no fear. The most important thing, in this case, is how to help an injured person? Can your help cause more damage and can you avoid it?

In the following sections, we will try to answer these questions.