When and how should you move an injured person?

Coming across someone who is seriously injured can be confronting, especially if you have no idea if you should move them or not. We hope that you are never faced with this scenario, but if you are, here’s what you should do.

Don’t move them if you don’t have to

As a general rule, if you find someone who is injured and it is safe for you and the casualty to provide First Aid where they are, always do so. While the casualty may look ok from the outside, they may be hiding internal trauma such as a head injury or spinal damage and keeping them where they are until help arrives can reduce the risk of causing further damage. In some instances, you will have to move the casualty to be able to help them, but if you do need to move them, you should know how to do it properly to avoid making the injury worse.

Follow the DRSABCD action plan

If you ever attempt to help someone with First Aid, you should follow the DRSABCD action plan as a guide. It stands for:

D – Danger

R – Response

S – Send for help

A – Airway

B – Breathing

C – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

D – Defibrillation

When should you move someone that is injured?

You should intervene and move the casualty if the situation will become life-threatening if you don’t act immediately. Before trying to help the casualty, you should check for danger. You need to check around you and the person who is injured. If it is unsafe for the casualty to stay where they are but safe for you to help by moving them, you should remove them from harm’s way if you physically can.

How to move a casualty

Just as important as knowing when to move a casualty is knowing how to move them. You must use correct techniques to prevent further injury to the casualty or yourself in the process. Here are our top tips:

  1. If there are bystanders, ask them for help if you need it.
  2. Ensure you use the correct lifting method. Your back should be straight, knees bent and keep your head up.
  3. Keep the casualties body close to yours and take small steps to maintain balance.
  4. Make sure you move a casualty gently and protect the neck in case they have suffered spinal injuries.

Some different ways you can lift a patient to minimise the risk of injury

Human crutch

This technique can be used if the casualty has sustained an injury to their leg and there is another person around to help lift them. It involves assisting the casualty to stand on their good leg, one person stands each side next to them, then grab the injured person’s arm one at a time and place them over each first aiders shoulder holding their wrist.

Human seats

Other techniques such as the human seat can be used if the person is too injured to do the human crutch. There are a couple of different human seat techniques, including:

Two-handed seat

The two-handed seat carry is an effective way to quickly remove a casualty that is conscious but unable to weight bear. It involves positioning the patient in a seating position while being carried by two first aiders to safety. To do this, each first aider should:

Place one arm behind the casualties thigh and the other behind their back, the other first aider needs to the same, interlock your arms firmly with the other first aider. Squat down to lift the person using the ‘seat’. If the casualty can, tell them to place their arms around both of your shoulders for added stability, slowly lift up and walk together using a coordinated step.

Four-handed seat

The four-handed seat technique is a good way to help someone who is conscious and able to hold on to the responder’s shoulders. You can do this by:

Stand with the other first aider facing each other behind the casualty.

Grip on to your own left wrist with your right hand, the other first aider should do the same. Using your left hand, grip on to the other responder’s right wrist, again the other responder should do the same.

If there is another person there, ask them to help the casualty into a standing position if they are unable to stand on their own.

Both you and the other first aider need to then squat down for the casualty to sit on both your forearms.

Ask the injured person to place one arm around the other first aiders shoulders and the other around yours if they can. Slowly lift and move in unison with the first aider.

Always remember you should leave a casualty where they are unless one of the three following things apply:

  1. They are seriously injured and you need to move them to provide First Aid.
  2. They are at risk of further harm by not moving them.
  3. You are in a remote area and need to take them to get help.

Knowing how to do First Aid can give you the confidence to assist injured people in times of need. You can provide reassurance to the casualty and can promote better health outcomes. Interested in learning more? Contact our friendly team here at Paradise First Aid, offer a huge selection of training courses to help you manage challenging situations.

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