An Introduction to Basic Steps in First Aid

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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.

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