Hero Training: Evacuating the Wounded

Hero Training

There may come a time when you've got to step up to the plate in an emergency. If you've got the heart, we've got the information that could just save a life. Or, at the very least, make you look cool in front of girls and knowledgeable in front of guys.

By Robert Fure

While no one wants to experience an emergency, in this rough and tumble experience we call life, there will be accidents and people will get hurt. There will be an occasion for you to lend a hand to help, to rescue, to put yourself to the test. In the event of a serious injury, it is imperative you contact a health care professional, via 911 or whatever other measures are available. However, in the event that you must take action to prevent further harm, you need to be prepared. This article will give you a few ways to do one of the most essential and simple of rescue operations – remove the wounded from the path of harm.

It should be noted that the extent and specifics of the wounded's injuries should help you decide which evacuation method you choose.

The Drag

This is by far the simplest and easiest method of removing someone from harm's way. No surprise then, that it's one that should be avoided as it can do some minor damage in its execution. To begin, move the wounded individual into a seated position. Stand behind them and hook your arms through theirs, gripping them at the shoulder. Your arms should look somewhat similar to a harness in their positioning. Next, simply walk backwards, supporting as much of their weight as you can. This is less than optimal in many situations, as you'll note that the person's legs, feet, and possible rear end, will be drug across the ground. But a stingy scrape is far better than burning to death. This type of carry may be the only way for smaller people to move larger ones.

Hero Training: The Drag

The Cradle

Requiring the most strength of any of the removal techniques, this one is best used in only short distance carries. You've undoubtedly seen it in many a movie where the hero rescues the damsel and carries her to safety. Or perhaps you just saw your brother carry his wife across the threshold – it's the same carry. Begin with the injured person standing. Get into a slight crouch next to them with one arm near the back of their knee and the other near the middle of their back. Have the intended luggage ease down into your awaiting arms. One arm should be positioned in the back of their knee joint and the other should be across their back, coming around to grip the chest. If they're able, the carried person should swing an arm around your neck and try to alleviate some of their weight.

The Fireman's Carry

Despite popular misconceptions, the Fireman's carry is a move in which the carried is held across both shoulders, rather than just one. It is interesting to note, that in many situations, Fireman are instructed to utilize the drag method, to keep the wounded person's airway (mouth, nose) away from toxins and smoke that rise in a fire. However, the Fireman's carry is still an effective technique for carrying people extended distances, despite requiring a relatively high degree of strength. When hoisting someone up to your shoulders, it is important to do as much of the lifting as possible with your legs, rather than your lower back. Two injured people can't carry each other out of the fire, you know. To execute this carry, start by positioning your body next to theirs. For a right handed person, put your right hip against theirs. Take their left wrist in your left hand and drape it over your shoulders. Crouch down and pull them across both shoulders. Your right arm will go between their legs and take a firm grasp of their leg, preferably grabbing hold of some of their clothing. Keeping your back in a natural position without bending it too much, stand up and settle the person across your back. Now get to rescuing.

Hero Training: Fireman's Carry

Modified Fireman's Carry

AKA – Doing it Wrong. For short distances with someone with minor injures, you can carry them over one shoulder. Crouch in front of them, let them lay over your shoulder, secure them with one arm and stand up. This is by far not optimal, as it is an uneven amount of pressure applied to their body, to your body, and its difficult to hold them over distance. Use only when it's the last and only option.

General Notes

Remember in every event that if it can be done, you should seek professional assistance. But one day a girlfriend might twist an ankle on a hike or a football buddy might need a hand to the sideline, or on a rare chance, someone might need your action to save their life. Be strong and be sure and do what you can. Always make sure to lift with your legs to avoid damaging your own back. Clearly communicate with the wounded to make the lift as easy as it can be for both of you. Good luck, heroes.