For major burns, dial 911 for emergency medical assistance until an emergency unit arrives:
- Do not remove burnt clothing. However, do make sure the victim is no longer in contact with smoldering materials or exposed to smoke or heat.
- Don't immerse severe large burns in cold water. Doing so could cause shock.
- Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If there is no breathing or other sign of circulation, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if trained.
- Cover the area of the burn. Use a cool, moist sterile bandage; clean, moist cloth or towels.
For minor burns, including second-degree burns limited to an area no larger than 2 to 3 inches in diameter, take the following action:
- Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cold running water for at least 5 minutes, or until the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cold water or cool it with cold compresses. Don't put ice on the burn.
- Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Seek medical attention to avoid infection.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers.
If a chemical burns the skin, follow these steps:
- Dial 911 if the burn area is deep or large. If you seek emergency assistance, bring the chemical container or a complete description of the substance with you for identification.
- Remove the cause of the burn by flushing the chemicals off the skin surface with cool, running water for 15 minutes or more. If the burning chemical is a powder-like substance such as lime, brush it off the skin before flushing.
- Remove clothing or jewelry that has been contaminated by the chemical.
- Wrap the burned area loosely with a dry, sterile dressing or a clean cloth.
- Consult Material Safety Data Sheet for further instructions. If you're unsure whether a substance is toxic, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Chemical Splash in the Eye
If a chemical splashes into your eye, take these steps immediately:
- Flush your eye with water. Use clean, lukewarm tap water for at least 15 minutes. Do not rub your eye or use any eye drops.
- Wash your hands with soap and water. Thoroughly rinse your hands to be sure no chemical or soap is left on them. Your first goal is to get the chemical off the surface of your eye, but then you need to make sure to remove the chemical from your hands.
- Remove contact lenses. If they didn't come out during the flush, take them out.
- Seek medical attention.
Head or Spinal Injury
If you suspect someone has a spinal injury:
- Dial 911.
- Keep the person in the same position as he or she was found. Keep the person still. Gently place heavy towels, backpacks or purses on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck still to prevent movement.
- Provide as much first aid as possible without moving the person's head or neck. If the person shows no signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement), begin CPR if trained, but do not tilt the head back to open the airway. Use your fingers to gently grasp the jaw and lift it forward.
- If you absolutely must roll the person because he or she is vomiting, choking on blood or in danger of further injury, use at least two people. Work together to keep the person's head, neck and back aligned while rolling the person onto their side.
- When you find a person unconscious, attempt to wake them by shouting "Are you OK?" and tapping their shoulders.
- If the person does not wake up, dial 911.
Unconsciousness is a life-threatening condition.
- Check for breathing and pulse. If you are trained and cannot find a pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Once the person resumes breathing and has a pulse, place the victim on his/her side (in the recovery position) unless there is a possibility of head or spinal injury.
- Have a bystander dial 911 to summon an ambulance .
- Administer the Heimlich Maneuver as follows:
- Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around their waist. Tip the person forward slightly.
- Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person's navel.
- Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust-as if trying to lift the person up.
- Repeat until the blockage is dislodged.
- Dial 911. Don’t tough out the symptoms of a heart attack.
- Consider taking an aspirin if your doctor has previously specifically recommended that you take an aspirin if you ever think you’re having a heart attack. Take the aspiring just as your doctor advised.
- Begin CPR. If you are with a person who might be having a heart attack and he or she is unconscious, tell the police dispatcher or another emergency medical specialist. You may be advised to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Even if you’re not trained, a dispatcher can instruct you in CPR until help arrives.
- Dial 911 and seek medical attention.
- Stop the bleeding.
- Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage.
- If possible, elevate wound above the level of the heart.
- Hold the pressure continuously for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Don’t keep checking to see if the bleeding has stopped because this may damage or dislodge the fresh clot that’s forming and cause bleeding to resume.
- If the blood spurts or continues to flow after continuous pressure, seek medical assistance immediately.
- Be sure to use appropriate personal protective equipment like latex gloves.
- Dial 911.
- Have the person lie down on his or her back with feet higher than the head. If raising the legs will cause pain or further injury, keep him or her flat. Keep the person still.
- Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If signs are absent, begin CPR if trained.
- Keep the person warm and comfortable. Loosen belt(s) and tight clothing. Cover the person with a blanket to maintain body temperature. Even if the person complains of thirst, give nothing by mouth.
- If the person vomits or bleeds from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
- Dial 911
- Do not restrain a person having a seizure of convulsions.
- Protect the victim during seizure. Place victim on his/her side and protect head and limbs.
- Do not force anything into the victim's mouth.
- Move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air conditioned space.
- Dial 911.
- Cool the person by covering him or her with damp sheets or by lightly spraying with cool water. Direct air onto the person with a fan or newspaper.
Hypothermia (Cold Exposure)
- Dial 911. While waiting for help to arrive, monitor the person’s breathing. If breathing stops or seems dangerously slow or shallow, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately if trained.
- Move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn’t possible, protect the person from the wind, cover his or her head, and insulate the body from the cold ground.
- Remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with warm, dry covering.
- Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the victim. Instead, apply warm compresses to the neck, chest wall and groin. Don’t attempt to warm the arms and legs.
- Offer warm nonalcoholic drinks, unless the person is vomiting.
- Don’t massage or rub the person.
Fractures, Sprains and Dislocations
- Dial 911
- Stop any bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
- Immobilize the injured area. Don’t try to realign the bone, but if you’ve been trained in how to splint and professional help isn’t readily available, apply a splint to the area.
- Apply ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve the pain until emergency personnel arrive. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin — wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth or some other material.
- Treat for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs.
Do not administer first aid unless you have been trained to do so. If failure to render assistance will result in further injury or death, use common sense and work within your abilities. Do not begin to assist unless you can conclude the assistance. You could be held liable if you initiate help but are unable to finish.