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Initial First Aid


If you are the first one on the scene of a medical emergency, your first priority is to remain calm. Your action will vary depending upon the nature of the situation, but the following four rules apply to any medical emergency:

  1. Assess the Situation:
  • Can you safely approach the victim? If not, what can you do to help without threatening your own safety?
  • Determine what is wrong with the victim
  • Is the victim conscious?
  • How serious is the emergency?
  • Can someone else call EMS, if necessary? If no one else is available, decide if it is more important to administer first aid immediately or to call EMS and leave the victim unattended.

   2. Set Priorities. NOTE: Never leave a victim in a life-threatening situation without first trying to help.


   3. Check the ABCs (unconscious victims only):

  • Airway Place the victim on his/her back. Place one hand on the forehead and one hand under the chin and tilt the head back. NOTE: Never move a victim if you suspect back or neck injury. Open the victim's mouth and check for obstructions. If the victim is unconscious and an obstruction is visible, remove it with your fingers.

  • Breathing Place your ear above the victim's mouth and look at the chest. Listen for breathing and look for the rise and fall of the chest. If the victim is not breathing, someone formally trained in mouth-to-mouth breathing should begin resuscitation.

  • Circulation Using two fingers, gently feel for the carotid artery in the neck and check the pulse. To find the artery, place your fingers on the victim's Adam's apple and then slide them down the side of the neck until you feel the groove between the windpipe and neck muscles. If there is no pulse, someone formally trained in CPR should begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Administer first aid and/or call EMS, as appropriate.

11.1 Bleeding (External)

Most bleeding injuries are minor; however, heavy external bleeding can cause death in three to five minutes.

In addition to the procedures for initial first aid, follow these steps for external bleeding:

  1. Using a sterile dressing, clean cloth, or other material, apply pressure directly over the wound.
  2. If possible, elevate the bleeding area. Otherwise, lay the victim flat, and elevate the legs.
  3. Keep the victim lying down.
  4. Treat the victim for shock, if necessary.
  5. Do not release pressure or lift the bandage until you are sure the bleeding has stopped.
  6. Have someone call EMS, if necessary.

NOTE: For deep chest wounds, use a heavy dressing to keep air from passing through the wound. For gaping stomach wounds, use a damp dressing; do not move or try to replace protruding organs.

11.2 Burns

Thermal and chemical burns require immediate attention. In addition to the procedures for initial first aid, follow these steps for thermal burns:

For first and second degree burns:

  1. Immerse the burned area in cold water or apply ice packs to the affected area.
  2. Cover the burned area with a clean cloth.
  3. Treat the victim for shock, if necessary.
  4. Do not apply butter, oil, or cream to a burn.

For serious burns (e.g., large area burns and charred skin):

  1. Remove clothing from the injured area. Cut around clothing that adheres to the skin.
  2. Place an approved burn blanket or the cleanest available cloth over the entire burn area.
  3. Treat the victim for shock, if necessary.
  4. If the victim is conscious, provide nonalcoholic fluids.
  5. Call EMS as soon as possible.

11.3 Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

When a person stops breathing, immediate assistance is necessary. If the person stops breathing due to choking, follow the first aid instructions for choking victims. If the person stops breathing due to a hazardous atmosphere, move the victim to fresh air immediately.

IMPORTANT: Always wear personal protective equipment when entering hazardous atmospheres. Do not attempt a rescue without adequate protection or proper training.

NOTE: Someone formally trained in CPR should provide assistance to victims who are not breathing and victims who do not have a pulse.

  1. Try to arouse the victim.
  2. Place the victim on his back. Open the victim's airway by placing one hand on the forehead and one hand under the chin and tilting the head back. Check for any obstructions in the mouth or throat.
  3. Look, listen, and feel for breathing.
  4. If the victim is not breathing, pinch the victim's nose closed and use a mouth-to mouth breathing tube to give two slow, deep breaths.
  5. Check the carotid pulse and look, listen, and feel for breathing. If a pulse is present but the victim does not start breathing, continue rescue breathing as follows:

  • Adult: one breath every five seconds
  • Child: one breath every four seconds
  • Infant: one breath every three seconds

If a pulse is not present, have someone formally trained in CPR begin mouth-to mouth breathing and chest compressions as follows:

  • Adult: 15 compressions using heel of hand / one breath
  • Child: Five compressions using heel of hand / one breath
  • Infant: Five compressions using two fingers / one breath

Continue this procedure until the victim starts breathing or EMS arrives.

11.4 Chemical Splashes

Chemical splashes on the skin require immediate attention. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to emergency shower or sink.
  2. Remove contaminated clothing.
  3. Wash area with water thoroughly for 15 minutes.
  4. Seek medical attention.

11.5 Choking

Choking victims cannot speak, breathe, or cough forcefully. Follow these steps for conscious choking victims:

  1. Ask the victim if he is choking. If the victim indicates yes, begin the Heimlich Maneuver, as outlined below.
  2. Get behind the victim and make a fist with one hand. Grasp your fist with the other hand and place your hands slightly above the victim's navel.
  3. Give quick, upward thrusts backwards until the object is expelled or the victim loses consciousness.

IMPORTANT: For pregnant or obese victims, use a chest thrust. Place your fist on the sternum, and thrust backwards repeatedly.

Follow these steps for unconscious choking victims:

  1. Call EMS.
  2. Place the victim on his back. Open the victim's airway by placing one hand on the forehead and one hand under the chin and tilting the head back. Check for any obstructions in the mouth or throat.
  3. Attempt mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
  4. If the airway remains blocked, place the heel of your hand slightly below the victim's ribs. Give six to ten abdominal thrusts.
  5. Sweep the mouth to remove any dislodged objects and attempt mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing again.

Continue this procedure until the object is dislodged or the victim starts breathing. IMPORTANT: For pregnant or obese victims, use a chest thrust. Place your fist on the sternum, and thrust backwards repeatedly.

11.6 Eye Injury

If hazardous liquid, particles, or gas irritate a person's eye, have the victim flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Use an eye wash station, sink, or water fountain. Seek assistance from a physician, as necessary.

If a foreign object (e.g., glass, pencil lead, etc.) is embedded in the eye, place a plastic cup or gauze over the affected eye. This will keep the eye from moving and inflicting further damage. Seek assistance from a physician immediately.

11.7 Insect Bites

Contact EMS or a physician whenever someone suffers multiple stings (or suffers adverse effects from a single sting) from wasps, bees, fire ants, or other stinging insects. For a single insect sting, remove the stinger by scraping the skin. Do not use tweezers or your fingers to remove a stinger. Removing a stinger in this manner may release more venom.

People who are extremely allergic to certain insect bites should carry appropriate medication and inform others of their allergy.

11.8 Poisoning

Since there are many poisons that react differently to various treatments, this section only covers the most basic first aid.If you suspect a victim has been poisoned through ingestion, inhalation, or skin exposure, try to determine what the poisoning agent is. Contact EMS or the Poison Control Center for specific first aid instructions.

11.9 Seizures

Do not try to restrain seizure victims. Remove any objects that could harm the victim, and wait for the seizure to end. Contact EMS if this is the victim's first seizure, the seizure is exceedingly violent, or lasts for a long time. NOTE: Do not place anything in a seizure victim's mouth.

11.10 Shock

Shock commonly accompanies severe injury or emotional upset. Symptoms of shock include the following:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Pale skin tone
  • Shallow breathing
  • Chills

Follow these steps to assist shock victims:

  1. Call EMS.
  2. Keep the victim lying down.
  3. Maintain an open airway. If the victim vomits, turn the head sideways and the chin downward.
  4. Elevate the victim's legs.
  5. Keep the victim warm.
  6. Reassure the victim.

11.11 Snake Bites

Most snake bites are not fatal. If a snake bite occurs, follow these steps:

  1. Have the victim move as little as possible.
  2. Apply a constricting bandage (not a tourniquet) between the wound and the heart.
  3. If possible, call EMS. In rural locations, transport the victim to the nearest hospital immediately. If necessary and possible, carry the victim to transportation. Do not let the victim walk.
  4. If you cannot obtain medical attention:

  • Do not make any incisions or suck out the poison.
  • Do not cool the bitten area.
  • Every fifteen minutes, loosen the constricting bandage for a few seconds and then reapply it.

12. Spill Response

Shops, labs, and areas with hazardous chemicals should have spill clean-up supplies on hand. Call 9-911 and/or your component's safety officer to report potential hazards from oil spills, fuel spills, chemical spills and other spills.

13. Weather Emergencies

Weather emergency concerns for the Brazos Valley primarily include high winds, heavy rains, lightning, and tornadoes. Because the Bryan/College Station area does not have an early warning system for weather emergencies, a weather emergency radio can be used to monitor changing weather conditions and act accordingly. The following sections provide general guidelines for handling various weather emergencies.