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Emergency Care - How to transfer an injured person to safety

In an emergency rescue, transferring the injured person is best handled by ambulance and hospital personnel since incorrect procedures may place the victim in greater jeopardy than the actual consequences of the accident itself. Before considering any movement of someone who has been seriously injured, the following procedures must be followed where they are required:

  1. Treat shock.
  2. Reestablish respiration.
  3. Reduce bleeding.
  4. Splint broken bones.
  5. Reassure the victim.
  6. Resist foolhardy suggestions or rescue attempts made by incompetent and rash bystanders.

What to do when the injured person is unconscious?

If the injured person is unconscious or cannot move for reasons other than spinal or trunk injuries and must be transported to a place of safety until an ambulance arrives:

  • Use the fore-and-aft carry that requires two people.
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If immediate transfer is essential for further protection of the victim and you must accomplish the transfer with no assistance, make sure that the victim has not sustained injuries to his neck or spine and proceed as follows:

  • Drag the victim to safety. In this drag, the victim is lying down. This is effective in moving him up and down steps.
  • Lift and carry the victim, one arm supporting him under the knees and the other arm around his back supporting his armpit.
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What to do if the injured is conscious

If the victim is conscious and can cooperate in the effort to transport him, two people can improvise seats shown here:

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If an emergency stretcher can be improvised by attaching a blanket, tarpaulin, or heavy coat to two sturdy poles or tree branches and three people are available to place the victim onto a litter. Follow these steps:

  1. Each rescuer kneels on the knee closer to the victim's feet, gently sliding his arms under the victim's body.
  2. When the rescuer in charge of the lift says, "Prepare to lift!" followed by the command, "Lift!" - the victim's body is supported on the rescuers' knees so that they can secure two locked grips.
  3. The victim can then be lowered onto the improvised litter that has been placed by another rescuer below his supported body.

Important! (In the case of hiking) If your hiking companion has sustained a major injury in the woods, or is a victim of heat exhaustion or some other immobilizing circumstance, take all the essential emergency measures to restore consciousness and respiration, leave him with drinking water and salt, cover him whatever is available for provision of warmth - blanket, sweaters, tarpaulin, a pile of leaves - and head for the nearest telephone to summon the police or if you have mobile phone, call an ambulance or police immediately.


Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on July 26, 2010:

Great step by step instructions with pictures on transporting the injured.

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