|First Aid Techniques for Disaster Assistance
1. This paper gives techniques that volunteers can use to help in disasters that overwhelm the existing emergency resources.
2. Purpose is to do the most good you can for the greatest number of victims.
Three reasons for death:
A. Death within minutes due to vital organ damage
B. Death within hours due excessive bleeding
C. Death within several days or weeks due to infection, lack of needed food and water.
In a large scale disaster, rescuers must focus on victims of "B" and "C". There is usually nothing that can be done or available to help victims of "A".
3. Learn to recognize and treat life-threatening conditions. Learn the ABC:
Ask victim, "Can you hear me?"
If no response, place hand on forehead, with 2 fingers under chin, tilt jaw upward, and head back.
Look for chest rise
Listen for air exchange
Feel for abdominal movement
A. Airway - is the victim breathing?
B. Bleeding - Control bleeding
1 liter of blood lose poses risk of death.
Apply direct pressure on wound.
Elevate wound above level of heart.
Put pressure on nearest pressure point to slow blood to the wound.
Tourniquet should not be used, or only if planning on loosing the limb.
C. Circulation - Treat for shock
Rapid or Shallow Breathing
Cold or Pale Skin
Failure to respond to simple commands (squeeze my finger)
Lay victim on back
Elevate feet 6-10 inches
Maintain body temperature
Do not give victim any water or food
4. Triage – sort victims according to severity.
A. Immediate – Life Threatening – (airway, bleeding, shock)
B. Delayed – May need professional car, but not immediate
C. Dead - When have time, remove to a separate location and cover
5. Disaster Medical Treatment
Additional Triage as needed
Thorough head-to-toe assessment of extent of injuries
Render first aid until professional help can be obtained
1. Head, Neck, Spinal
All unconscious patients should be considered for head/spinal injury
Unable to move a body part
Pain, pressure in head or neck
Difficulty breathing or seeing
Bleeding, bruising, deformity
Blood/fluid in nose/ ears
Bruising behind ears
Stabilize head and back
Goal – Do no more harm
Stop the burning, remove source of burning if possible
Cool burned area
Cover to reduce pain and infection
3rd Degree – Do NOT apply water
Treat for shock
DO NOT apply ice
DO NOT apply antiseptics, ointments or remedies
DO NOT break blisters, remove tissue or clothing in the burned area
Bandage – Place sterile dressing over wound, apply bandage to hold it in place
If bleeding continues, do not remove dressing. Redress over existing dressing and maintain pressure.
If foreign object is stuck in a wound – DO NOT remove object, dress around it.
Purpose – control bleeding and prevent infection
Fractures, Sprains, Strains
Closed Fracture – may need only splinting
Open Fracture –
Purpose – Immobilize the injury and the joints immediately above and below the injury
a. DO NOT put exposed bone back into tissue.
b. Cover exposed bone with sterile 4x4 gauze to keep from drying out.
c. DO NOT irrigate wound
d. Splint fracture
e. DO NOT try to relocate a dislocation – only immobilize
Body temperature less than 95 degrees
Redness, blueness, bluish-white of skin stiffness or hardness of skin
Numbness, shivering, slurred speech
Remove wet clothing, wrap victim in a blanket, covering neck and head.
Protect from weather.
If conscious, offer warm sweet drinks and food. DO NOT offer alcohol or massage.
If possible place the conscious victim in warm bath. DO NOT warm too quickly.