by Dawna L. Cyr, Farm Safety Project Assistant, and Steven B. Johnson, Ph.D., Area Crops Specialist
Basic First Aid
Accidents happen anywhere and arrives, have the victim lie down
anytime. The first response to an with the legs elevated. Keep the
accident is the most important. Often victim covered to prevent chilling or
times, first aid given at the scene can loss of body heat. Give non-alcoholic
improve the victim’s chances of fluids if the victim is able to swallow
survival and a good recovery. The and has not sustained an abdominal
right response is better than an injury.
incorrect quick one. Any response,
even if it is wrong, is better than none u Bleeding
at all. Until emergency help arrives, try
to control any bleeding. If possible,
u Unconscious Victims first put on rubber or latex gloves
If the victim is unconscious, before touching any blood. If these
perform rescue breathing. (Rescue are not available, a clean plastic bag
breathing is explained later on in this
section.) If the victim’s heart has
stopped beating, perform
cardiopulmonary recessitation (CPR) Basic First Aid
if you have been properly trained to
do so. u The first response to u Try to stop bleeding
an accident is the by applying
u Shock most important — pressure to the
Shock usually accompanies know what to do. wound.
severe injury or emotional upset. The
signs are cold and clammy skin, pale u Keep a shock victim u Do not remove a
face, chills, confusion, frequent covered to reduce victim with a spinal
nausea or vomiting and shallow heat loss. injury unless further
breathing. Until emergency help danger is imminent.
University of Maine
can be used to cover your hands. It is not use ice because it may cause
important not to come in contact with further damage to the burned area.
blood because of the health risks. Maintain this treatment until the pain
or burning stops. Avoid breaking any
If finger or hand pressure is blisters that may appear. Do not use
inadequate to control bleeding, place ointments, greases or powders.
a thick pad of clean cloth or bandage
directly over the wound, and hold in For more severe burns or
place with a belt, bandage, neckties chemical burns, keep the victim quiet
or cloth strips. Take care not to stop and treat them for shock. Remove
the circulation to the rest of the limb. any clothing. If the clothing sticks to
For injuries where a tie cannot be the burned area, leave it there. For
used, such as to the groin, back, exposure to chemicals, flush the skin
chest, head and neck, place a thick with plenty of water, but only cover
pad of clean cloth or bandage directly the exposed area with a clean
over the wound and control the bandage if the chemical has caused a
bleeding with finger or hand burn. If the burn victim is conscious,
pressure. If bones are not broken, can swallow and does not have
raise the bleeding part higher than severe mouth burns, give plenty of
the rest of the body. If the injury is water or other non-alcoholic liquids
extensive, the victim may go into to drink. Get the victim to a physician
shock and should be treated for it. or hospital as soon as possible.
As a last resort, a tourniquet can u Broken Bones
be applied to stop bleeding. There is For fractured limbs, take the
a risk of sacrificing a limb to save a following precautions until
life. A tourniquet is a wide band of emergency help arrives. Place the
cloth or other material tightly placed injured part in as natural a position
just above the wound to stop all flow as possible without causing
of blood. A tourniquet crushes the discomfort to the patient. If the
tissue and can cause permanent patient must be moved to a medical
damage to nerves and blood vessels. facility, protect the injured part from
Once in place, a tourniquet must be further injury by applying splints
left there until a physician removes it. long enough to extend well beyond
The victim must be taken to medical the joints above and below the
help as soon as possible. fracture. Use firm material, such as a
board, pole or metal rod, as a splint.
u Burns and Scalds Pad the splints with clothing or other
Until medical help arrives, soft material to prevent skin injury.
immerse the burned area Fasten splints with a bandage or
immediately in tap or cool water or cloth at the break and at points along
apply clean, cool, moist towels. Do the splint above and below the break.
Use a pressure bandage to control If the victim must be moved,
any bleeding. keep the neck and torso of the
body as straight as possible
For very serious fractures and pull in a direction that
involving injuries to the body, neck keeps the victim’s spine in a
or back, observe the following: Do straight line. Pull the body
not move the victim without from the feet or shoulders
medical supervision, unless (using both feet, both
absolutely necessary, and then only shoulders, or both arms
if the proper splints have been pulled over the shoulders). It
applied. If a victim with a is also possible to pull the
suspected neck or back injury must victim by the clothing. Grab
be moved, keep the back, head and the victim by the collar of the
neck in a straight line, preventing shirt and support the
them from being twisted or bent victim’s head with your
during movement. Use a board or forearms while pulling. The
stretcher to support the victim, if clothes drag is preferred because
available. the victim’s head is supported
while being moved. Do not pull
u Spinal Injuries the body sideways.
Take special care when helping
a spinal injury victim. All damage When providing patient care,
to the spinal cord is permanent, it may be necessary to roll the
because nerve tissue cannot heal victim over on his or her back to
itself. The result of nerve damage is clear an airway or evaluate
paralysis or death. breathing. When rolling the
victim over, the head, neck and
Do not move the limbs or body torso should be moved together
of a victim with a suspected spinal so that no twisting occurs.
injury unless the accident scene is
such that there is imminent danger u Rescue Breathing for an
of further injury or unless it is Adult
necessary to establish breathing. When breathing movements
The victim’s body should be stop or lips, tongue and
stabilized to prevent any fingernails become blue, a person
movement of the head, neck or needs immediate help. When in
body. Be aware that any movement doubt, apply rescue breathing
of a victim with spinal injury may until medical help arrives. Delay
result in paralysis or death. of rescue breathing may cost the
victim’s life. Start immediately.
Seconds can count.
The American Red Cross 9. Continue rescue breathing. Keep
teaches the following 10 steps to the head tilted back, lift the chin
assist an adult who has stopped and pinch the nose shut. Give one
breathing. full breath every five seconds.
Look, listen and feel for breathing
1. Does the person respond? Tap between breaths.
or gently shake the victim.
Shout, “Are you OK?” 10. Recheck the pulse every minute.
Keep the head tilted back and feel
2. Shout, “Help!” Call people who for the pulse for five to 10 seconds.
can phone for help. If the victim has a pulse, but is not
breathing, continue rescue
3. Roll the person onto their back breathing.
by pulling them slowly toward
you. Slowly pull towards you For infants and small children,
until the victim is face up. follow the first five steps listed above.
On the sixth step cover the child’s
4. Open the airway by tilting the mouth and nose in a tight seal and
head back, and lift the chin. give two small breaths. Check for
Clear the mouth and throat of pulse and call for help. Begin rescue
any obstructions with your breathing, giving one small breath
fingers. every three seconds for an infant and
one every four seconds for a child.
5. Check for breathing. Look, listen
and feel for breathing for three u Choking
to five seconds. Choking occurs when food or a
foreign object obstructs the throat and
6. Give two full breaths. Keep the interferes with normal breathing. The
head tilted back. Pinch the nose following steps are advised if the
shut and seal your lips tight choking victim is unable to speak or
around the victim’s mouth. Give cough forcefully.
two full breaths for one to one
and a half seconds each. For adults and children over one year
7. Check for pulse at the side of the
neck. Feel for pulse for five to 10 1. Ask, “Are you choking?”
2. Shout, “Help!” Call for help if the
8. Phone emergency staff for help. victim cannot cough, speak or
Send someone to call for an breathe, is coughing weakly or is
ambulance. making high-pitched noises.
3. Phone emergency staff for help. middle of the victim’s abdomen.
Send someone to call an Place the other hand on top of the
ambulance. first hand. Press into the abdomen
with quick upward thrusts.
4. Do abdominal thrusts. Wrap your
arms around the victim’s waist. 10. Repeat steps six through
Make a fist. Place the thumbside nine until the airway is
of the fist on the middle of the cleared or the ambulance
victim’s abdomen just above the arrives.
navel and well below the lower
tip of the breastbone. Grasp the For infants less than one
fist with the other hand. Press the year old:
fist into abdomen with a quick
upward thrust. 1. Place the victim’s head in
a downward position on
5. Repeat abdominal thrusts until the rescuer’s forearm with
the object is coughed up or the the head and neck
victim starts to breathe or cough. stabilized.
If the victim becomes
unconscious, lower the victim to 2. With the heel of the rescuer’s
the floor. hand, administer five rapid back
blows between the victim’s
6. Do a finger sweep. Grasp the shoulder blades.
tongue and lower jaw and lift jaw.
Slide the finger down inside of 3. If the obstruction remains, turn
the cheek to base of tongue. the victim face up and rest on a
Sweep the object out. firm surface.
7. Open the airway. Tilt the head 4. Deliver five rapid thrusts over the
back and lift the chin. breastbone using two fingers.
8. Give two full breaths. Keep the 5. If the victim is still not breathing
head tilted back, pinch the nose normally, administer mouth-to-
shut, and seal your lips tight mouth resuscitation as specified
around the victim’s mouth. Give for an infant.
two full breaths for one to one
and a half seconds. 6. Repeat the above steps as
necessary. If the obstruction
9. Give six to 10 abdominal thrusts. cannot be removed, call for
If the air will not go in, place the medical help immediately.
heel of one hand against the
This Maine Farm Safety Fact Sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by
the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety,
contact your county Extension office.
Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine
Cooperative Extension, Vaughn H. Holyoke, Director for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant
University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other
agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment. 7/95
Printed on recycled paper