directly to the injured part. If you decide to
remove clothing over the injured part, cut the
clothing or rip it along the seams. In any case, be
careful! Rough handling of the victim may turn a
closed fracture into an open fracture. That could
increase the severity of shock and cause
extensive damage to the blood vessels, nerves,
muscles, and other tissues around the broken
If the fracture is open, you must treat the wound
before you can deal with the fracture. Bleeding from the
wound may be serious. Most bleeding can be stopped by
direct pressure on the wound or by finger pressure at the
appropriate point. If, after your best efforts, these
methods are not successful, use a constricting band;
then treat the fracture.
Use of Splints
An essential part of the first-aid treatment is
immobilizing the injured part with splints so that the
sharp ends of broken bones wont move around and
cause further damage to nerves, blood vessels, or vital
organs. Splints are also used to immobilize severely
injured joints or muscles and to prevent the enlargement
of extensive wounds. Before you can use a splint, you
need to have a general understanding of the use of
In an emergency, almost any firm object or material
can be used as a splint. Such things as umbrellas, canes,
swords, rifles, tent pegs, laths, sticks, oars, paddles,
spars, wire, leather, boards, pillows, heavy clothing,
corrugated cardboard, and folded newspapers can be
used as splints. A fractured leg may sometimes be
splinted by fastening it securely to the uninjured leg.
Splints, whether ready-made or improvised, must
meet the following requirements:
Be light in weight, but still be strong and fairly
Be long enough to reach the joints above and
below the fracture.
Be wide enough so the bandages used to hold
them in place wont pinch the injured part.
Be well padded on the sides that touch the body.
If theyre not properly padded, they wont fit well
and wont adequately immobilize the injured
To improvise the padding for a splint, use articles
of clothing, bandages, cotton, blankets, or any
other soft material.
If the victim is wearing heavy clothes, apply the
splint on the outside, allowing the clothing to
serve as at least part of the required padding.
Although splints should be applied snugly, never
apply them tight enough to interfere with the circulation
of the blood. When applying splints to an arm or a leg,
try to leave the fingers or toes exposed. If the tips of the
fingers or toes become blue or cold, you will know that
the splints or bandages are too tight. You should
examine a splinted part approximately every half-hour,
and loosen the fastenings if circulation appears to be cut
off. Remember that any injured part is likely to swell,
and splints or bandages that are all right when applied
may be too tight later.
Figure 14-18 shows a method of immobilizing the
leg of a person with a broken kneecap. To secure the
limb to the splint, belts, neckerchiefs, rope, or any
suitable material may be used. If possible, tie the limb at
two places above and two places below the break.
Leave the treatment of other types of fractures, such
as jaw, ribs, and spine, to medical personnel. Never try
to move a person who might have a fractured spine
or neck. Moving such a person could cause permanent
paralysis. Dont attempt to reset bones.
SPRAINS AND STRAINS
A person with a sprain or a strain might have some
of the same symptoms as a person who has a fracture.
The information contained in this section will help you