First Aid

"It's First-Aidy" - Rowan A.

First aid skills can be useful at any time. Nobody can predict when someone will start choking, suffer a heart attack, or be injured through an accident. These skills can serve you well throughout your life.

On the course, there will be a station where some first aid problems will be solved. Teams will need to provide adequate treatment for the simulated injuries. Not all of the information below will be tested, but it is all good to know.

You Can Save Someone's Life

Emergencies can happen at any time.

  1. Get CPR and AED certified.
  2. Learn how to properly administer the Heimlich maneuver.
  3. Repeat your training to keep it fresh in your mind.

Skin Abrasions and Minor Cuts

This is a very common type of injury. Everyone's received scrapes and pokes of all sorts from walking through a woods.

1. Wear gloves if available, otherwise wash your hands with soap.
2. Gently clean the affected area using lukewarm water and mild soap. Use a sterilized tweezers if needed to remove foreign matter.
3. Stop the bleeding by applying a clean cloth or bandage with gentle pressure. Elevating the area may also help.
4. Cover with a thin layer of topical antibiotic and a clean bandage or gauze.
5. Gently clean the wound and rebandage at least daily. Watch for signs of infection, like pain, worsening redness, swelling, and drainage.

Chemical, fire, sunburn.

1. Stop the burn. With fire, apply cool water to lower th temperature of the skin. For chemical, apply a neutralizing agent. Avoid ice, icy water, butter, and grease.
2. Remove clothing and jewelry from the area, unless it's stuck to the skin.
3. Protect the wound. Cling-wrap, clean plastic bag, or a gauze bandage works well. Avoid getting lint into the wound, so avoid cotton.
4. Painkillers will help.

Sprains, Strains, Fractures, and Splints

This picture is an example of protecting an injured area by improvising a splint using available materials. This would be for a severe sprain. You'll notice that there are sticks and even a fishing rod securely tied in place and padding to make the split more comfortable. This could also be used to hold together a fracture.le. This could also be used to hold together a fracture.

A longer description of the treatment of sprains is covered in the videos below.

Image is a simulated laceration. So gory!

1. Wear gloves if available, otherwise wash your hands with soap.
2. Stop the bleeding using direct pressure, time, rest, and elevation. QuikClot or spider webs can also help.
3. Once bleeding is controlled, cleaning with gentle soap and water reduces the chance of infection. Antibiotic ointment (or honey or sugar in a pinch) on a sterile gauze bandage helps protect the wound.

Duct tape can help hold a wound closed or serve as a bandage with gauze or a piece of fabric. Super glue also works if you need to close a wound, though it is more brittle when flexed so it doesn't work well on joints.

Uncontrolled, Profuse Bleeding

1. Find very sturdy cordage and a strong rod.
2. Starting at the wound, trace back to the heart. Loop tourniquet just past the next joint or as close as possible to the joint.
3. Rotate the rod to tighten the cord. Seriously - don't attempt this during the course!
4. Secure the rod. Transport the patient immediately to the hospital.

A tourniquet is the last resort to keep someone alive after an extremely traumatic injury. If the course wishes to test you on this skill, teams will be supervised very closely by trained staff.

If you are in a survival situation and you must apply a tourniquet to someone, only hospital staff should remove it. Consider it a permanent device once it is on a person. It's extremely painful because the blood vessels need to be crushed to stop the flow. It's almost a certainty that the arm, leg, finger, or other appendage will be amputated. Don't mess around with one of these.

First Aid Treatment for Wounds

Cuts, bruises, abrasions.

10 First Aid Mistakes Explained by a Professional

Nosebleed, fainting, sprains and fractures, debris in body, burns, choking, seizing, heart attack, tourniquet.

Apollo Hospitals
First Aid for Burns

Great rundown of what to do with burns. Details the differences between different burn types.

Emergency Medical Care : How to Treat an Open Fracture During First Aid

What to do with an open fracture, where the broken bone is protruding from the skin. Don't worry; the volunteer is uninjured in this video.

POLICE - Acute injury management

The differences in the RICE, PRICE, and POLICE methods for treating sprains. POLICE is now the standard after medical research found that resting the injury was not helpful for healing.

POLICE is an acronym and it stand for ...
Protection: wrap or immobilize the sprain so it doesn't get worse.
Optimal Load: take it easy, but you can still use the injured area. Be aware of pain and use that as your guide to limit your activity.
Ice: apply a cold pack or ice your injured area for at least 30 minutes, several times per day. When ice is not available, try a cool stream.
Compression: use a compression bandage to help immobilize and keep swelling down.
Elevation: raise your injured area above your heart. This typically means laying down to lower your torso and resting the injured area on a log, chair, table, or other surface to make it higher than your heart.