In Time of Emergency eBook

Office of Civil Defense
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 73 pages of information about In Time of Emergency.

A FRACTURED ARM OR LEG should be straightened out as much as possible, preferably by having 2 persons gently stretch it into a normal position.  Then it should be “splinted”—­that is, fastened to a board or something else to prevent motion and keep the ends of the broken bone together.  As a splint, use a board, a trimmed branch from a tree, a broomstick, an umbrella, a roll of newspapers, or anything else rigid enough to keep the arm or leg straight.  Fasten the arm or leg to the splint with bandages, strips of cloth, handkerchiefs, neckties, or belts.  After splinting, keep the injured arm or leg a little higher than the rest of the patient’s body.  From time to time, make sure that the splint is not too tight, since the arm or leg may swell, and the blood circulation might be shut off.  If the broken bone is sticking out through the skin but the exposed part of it is clean, allow it to slip back naturally under the skin (but don’t push it in) when the limb is being straightened.  However, if the exposed part of the bone is dirty, cover it with a clean cloth and bandage the wound to stop the bleeding.  Then splint the arm or leg without trying to straighten it out, and try to find a doctor or nurse to treat the patient.

A FRACTURED COLLAR-BONE should also be prevented from moving, until the patient can get professional medical attention.  It can be immobilized by placing the arm on that side in a sling and then binding the arm close to the body.

A FRACTURED RIB should be suspected if the patient has received a chest injury or if he has pain when he moves his chest, breathes, or coughs.  Strap the injured side of his chest with 2-inch adhesive tape if available, or with a cloth bandage or towel wrapped around and around his entire chest.

Fractured bones in the NECK OR BACK are very serious, because they may injure the patient’s spinal cord and paralyze him or even kill him.  He should not be moved until a doctor comes (or a person trained in first aid), unless it is absolutely necessary to move him to prevent further injury.  If a person with a back injury has to be moved, he should be placed gently on his back on a stiff board, door or stretcher.  His head, back, and legs should be kept in a straight line at all times.

A person with a neck injury should be moved gently with his head, neck, and shoulders kept in the same position they were when he was found.  His neck should not be allowed to bend when he is being moved.


Non-serious or superficial (first degree) burns should not be covered—­in fact, nothing need be done for them.  However, if a first degree burn covers a large area of the body, the patient should be given fluids to drink as mentioned in item 2 following.

The most important things to do about serious (second or third degree) burns are:  (a) Treat the patient for shock, (b) Prevent infection, and (c) Relieve pain.  These specific actions should be taken: 

Project Gutenberg
In Time of Emergency from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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