2 - Basic Measures for First Aid
which require immediate attention are an inadequate airway, lack of breathing
or lack of heartbeat, and excessive loss of blood. A casualty without a clear
airway or who is not breathing may die from lack of oxygen. Excessive loss of
blood may lead to shock, and shock can lead to death; therefore, you must act
immediately to control the loss of blood. All wounds are considered to be contaminated,
since infection-producing organisms (germs) are always present on the skin, on
clothing, and in the air. Any missile or instrument causing the wound pushes or
carries the germs into the wound. Infection results as these organisms multiply.
That a wound is contaminated does not lessen the importance of protecting it from
further contamination. You must dress and bandage a wound as soon as possible
to prevent further contamination. It is also important that you attend to any
airway, breathing, or bleeding problem IMMEDIATELY because these problems
may become life-threatening.
I. OPEN THE AIRWAY AND RESTORE BREATHING
* 2-1. Breathing Process
living things must have oxygen to live. Through the breathing process, the lungs
draw oxygen from the air and put it into the blood. The heart pumps the blood
through the body to be used by the living cells which require a constant supply
of oxygen. Some cells are more dependent on a constant supply of oxygen than others.
Cells of the brain may die within 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen. Once these cells
die, they are lost forever since they DO NOT regenerate. This could result in
permanent brain damage, paralysis, or death.
Assessment (Evaluation) Phase (081-831-1000 and 081-831-1042)
Check for responsiveness (Figure 2-1A)—establish whether the casualty is conscious
by gently shaking him and asking, “Are you O.K.?”
b. Call for help (Figure
c. Position the unconscious casualty so that he is lying on
his back and on a firm surface (Figure 2-1C) (081-831-1042).
If the casualty is lying on his chest (prone position),
cautiously roll the casualty as a unit so that his body does not twist
(which may further complicate a neck, back or spinal injury).
Straighten the casualty’s legs. Take the casualty’s arm that is nearest to you
and move it so that it is straight and above his head. Repeat procedure for the
(2) Kneel beside the casualty with your knees near his shoulders
(leave space to roll his body) (Figure 2-1B). Place one hand behind his head and
neck for support. With your other hand, grasp the casualty under his far arm (Figure
(3) Roll the casualty toward you using a steady and even pull. His head
and neck should stay in line with his back.
(4) Return the casualty’s arms
to his sides. Straighten his legs. Reposition yourself so that you are now kneeling
at the level of the casualty’s shoulders. However, if a neck injury is suspected,
and the jaw-thrust will be used, kneel at the casualty’s head, looking toward
Opening the Airway—Unconscious and Not Breathing Casualty (081-831-1042)
tongue is the single most common cause of an airway obstruction (Figure 2-2).
In most cases, the airway can be cleared by simply using the head-tilt/chin-lift
technique. This action pulls the tongue away from the air passage in the throat
Step ONE (081-331-1042). Call for help and then position the casualty. Move
(roll) the casualty onto his back (Figure 2-1C above).
care in moving a casualty with a suspected neck or back injury. Moving an injured
neck or back may permanently injure the spine.
If foreign material or vomitus is visible in the mouth,
it should be removed, but do not spend an excessive amount of time doing so.
Step TWO (081-831-1042). Open the airway using the jaw-thrust or head-tilt/chin-lift
head-tilt/chin-lift is an important procedure in opening the airway; however,
use extreme care because excess force in performing this maneuver may cause further
spinal injury. In a casualty with a suspected neck injury or severe head trauma,
the safest approach to opening the airway is the jaw-thrust
because in most cases it can be accomplished without extending the neck.¹
Perform the jaw-thrust technique. The jaw-thrust may be accomplished by the
rescuer grasping the angles of the casualty’s lower jaw and lifting with both
hands, one on each side, displacing the jaw forward and up (Figure 2-4). The rescuer’s
elbows should rest on the surface on which the casualty is lying. If the lips
close, the lower lip can be retracted with the thumb. If mouth-to-mouth breathing
is necessary, close the nostrils by placing your cheek tightly against them. The
head should be carefully supported without tilting it backwards or turning it
from side to side. If this is unsuccessful, the head should be tilted back very
slightly.² The jaw-thrust is the safest first approach to opening
the airway of a casualty who has a suspected neck injury because in most
cases it can be accomplished without extending the neck.
Perform the head-tilt/chin-lift technique (081-831-1042). Place one hand on
the casualty’s forehead and apply firm, backward pressure with the palm to tilt
the head back. Place the fingertips of the other hand under the bony part of the
lower jaw and lift, bringing the chin forward. The thumb should not be
used to lift the chin (Figure 2-5).
fingers should not press deeply into the soft tissue under the chin because the
airway may be obstructed.
Step THREE. Check for breathing (while maintaining an airway). After establishing
an open airway, it is important to maintain that airway in an open
position. Often the act of just opening and maintaining the airway will allow
the casualty to breathe properly. Once the rescuer uses one of the techniques
to open the airway (jaw-thrust or head-tilt/chin-lift), he should maintain that
head position to keep the airway open. Failure to maintain the open airway will
prevent the casualty from receiving an adequate supply of oxygen. Therefore, while
maintaining an open airway, the rescuer should check for breathing by observing
the casualty’s chest and performing the following actions within 3 to 5 seconds:
LOOK for the chest to rise and fall.
(2) LISTEN for air escaping
during exhalation by placing your ear near the casualty’s mouth.
for the flow of air on your cheek (see Figure 2-6),
(4) If the casualty does
not resume breathing, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
the casualty resumes breathing, monitor and maintain the open airway. If he continues
to breathe, he should be transported to a medical treatment facility.
Rescue Breathing (Artificial Respiration)
a. If the casualty does
not promptly resume adequate spontaneous breathing after the airway is open, rescue
breathing (artificial respiration) must be started. Be calm! Think and act
quickly! The sooner you begin rescue breathing, the more likely you are to restore
the casualty’s breathing. If you are in doubt whether the casualty is breathing,
give artificial respiration, since it can do no harm to a person who is breathing.
If the casualty is breathing, you can feel and see his chest move. Also, if the
casualty is breathing, you can feel and hear air being expelled by putting your
hand or ear close to his mouth and nose.
b. There are several methods
of administering rescue breathing. The mouth-to-mouth method is preferred; however,
it cannot be used in all situations. If the casualty has a severe jaw fracture
or mouth wound or his jaws are tightly closed by spasms, use the mouth-to-nose
Preliminary Steps—All Rescue Breathing Methods (081-831-1042)
Step ONE. Establish unresponsiveness. Call for help. Turn or position the
b. Step TWO. Open the airway.
c. Step THREE. Check
for breathing by placing your ear over the casualty’s mouth and nose, and looking
toward his chest:
(1) Look for rise and fall of the casualty’s chest
(2) Listen for sounds of breathing.
(3) Feel for
breath on the side of your face. If the chest does not rise and fall and no air
is exhaled, then the casualty is breathless (not breathing). (This evaluation
procedure should take only 3 to 5 seconds. Perform rescue breathing if
the casualty is not breathing.
the rescuer may notice that the casualty is making respiratory efforts, the airway
may still be obstructed and opening the airway may be all that is needed. If the
casualty resumes breathing, the rescuer should continue to help maintain an open
Mouth-to-Mouth Method (081-831-1042)
In this method of rescue breathing,
you inflate the casualty’s lungs with air from your lungs. This can be accomplished
by blowing air into the person’s mouth. The mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing method
is performed as follows:
a. Preliminary Steps.
(1) Step ONE (081-831-1042).
If the casualty is not breathing, place your hand on his forehead, and pinch his
nostrils together with the thumb and index finger of this same hand. Let this
same hand exert pressure on his forehead to maintain the backward head-tilt
and maintain an open airway. With your other hand, keep your fingertips on the
bony part of the lower jaw near the chin and lift (Figure 2-7).
you suspect the casualty has a neck injury and you are using the jaw-thrust technique,
close the nostrils by placing your cheek tightly against them.³
Step TWO (081-831-1042). Take a deep breath and place your mouth (in an airtight
seal) around the casualty’s mouth (Figure 2-8). (If the injured person is small,
cover both his nose and mouth with your mouth, sealing your lips against the skin
of his face.)
Step THREE (081-831-1042). Blow two full breaths into the casualty’s mouth
(1 to 1 1/2 seconds per breath), taking a breath of fresh air each time before
you blow. Watch out of the corner of your eye for the casualty’s chest to rise.
If the chest rises, sufficient air is getting into the casualty’s lungs. Therefore,
proceed as described in step FOUR below. If the chest does not rise, do the following
(a, b, and c below) and then attempt to ventilate again.
Take corrective action immediately by reestablishing the airway. Make sure that
air is not leaking from around your mouth or out of the casualty’s pinched nose.
Reattempt to ventilate.
(c) If chest still does not rise, take the necessary
action to open an obstructed airway (paragraph 2-14).
the initial attempt to ventilate the casualty is unsuccessful, reposition the
casualty’s head and repeat rescue breathing. Improper chin and head positioning
is the most, common cause of difficulty with ventilation. If the casualty cannot
be ventilated after repositioning the head, proceed with foreign-body airway obstruction
maneuvers (see Open an Obstructed Airway, paragraph 2-14).
Step FOUR (081-831-1042). After giving two breaths which cause the chest to
rise, attempt to locate a pulse on the casualty. Feel for a pulse on the side
of the casualty’s neck closest to you by placing the first two fingers (index
and middle fingers) of your hand on the groove beside the casualty’s Adam’s apple
(carotid pulse) (Figure 2-9). (Your thumb should not be used for pulse taking
because you may confuse your pulse beat with that of the casualty.) Maintain the
airway by keeping your other hand on the casualty’s forehead. Allow 5 to 10 seconds
to determine if there is a pulse.
If a pulse is found and the casualty is breathing—STOP allow the casualty to breathe
on his own. If possible, keep him warm and comfortable.
(b) If a pulse
is found and the casualty is not breathing, continue rescue breathing.
If a pulse is not found, seek medically trained personnel for help.
Breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) (081-831-1042). Rescue breathing
(mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose resuscitation) is performed at the rate of about
one breath every 5 seconds (12 breaths per minute) with rechecks for pulse and
breathing after every 12 breaths. Rechecks can be accomplished in 3 to 5 seconds.
See steps ONE through SEVEN (below) for specifics.
help (medical aid), if not done previously.
Step ONE. If the casualty is not breathing, pinch his nostrils together with
the thumb and index finger of the hand on his forehead and let this same hand
exert pressure on the forehead to maintain the backward head-tilt (Figure
(2) Step TWO. Take a deep breath and place your mouth (in an airtight
seal) around the casualty’s mouth (Figure 2-8).
(3) Step THREE. Blow
a quick breath into the casualty’s mouth forcefully to cause his chest to rise.
If the casualty’s chest rises, sufficient air is getting into his lungs.
Step FOUR. When the casualty’s chest rises, remove your mouth from his mouth
and listen for the return of air from his lungs (exhalation).
(5) Step FIVE.
Repeat this procedure (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) at a rate of one breath every
5 seconds to achieve 12 breaths per minute. Use the following count: “one, one-thousand;
two, one-thousand; three, one-thousand; four, one-thousand; BREATH; one,
one-thousand;” and so forth. To achieve a rate of one breath every 5 seconds,
the breath must be given on the fifth count.
(6) Step SIX. Feel
for a pulse after every 12th breath. This check should take about 3 to 5 seconds.
If a pulse beat is not found, seek medically trained personnel for help.
Step SEVEN. Continue rescue breathing until the casualty starts to breathe
on his own, until you are relieved by another person, or until you are too tired
to continue. Monitor pulse and return of spontaneous breathing after every few
minutes of rescue breathing. If spontaneous breathing returns, monitor the casualty
closely. The casualty should then be transported to a medical treatment facility.
Maintain an open airway and be prepared to resume rescue breathing, if necessary.
Use this method if you cannot perform mouth-to-mouth
rescue breathing because the casualty has a severe jaw fracture or mouth wound
or his jaws are tightly closed by spasms. The mouth-to-nose method is performed
in the same way as the mouth-to-mouth method except that you blow into the nose
while you hold the lips closed with one hand at the chin. You then remove your
mouth to allow the casualty to exhale passively. It may be necessary to separate
the casualty’s lips to allow the air to escape during exhalation.
casualty’s heart stops beating, you must immediately seek medically trained personnel
for help. SECONDS COUNT! Stoppage of the heart is soon followed by cessation
of respiration unless it has occurred first. Be calm! Think and act! When a casualty’s
heart has stopped, there is no pulse at all; the person is unconscious and limp,
and the pupils of his eyes are open wide. When evaluating a casualty or when performing
the preliminary steps of rescue breathing, feel for a pulse. If you DO NOT detect
a pulse, immediately seek medically trained personnel.
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