First Aid Procedures
CHEMICALS IN THE EYE
- Immediately flush eyes thoroughly with a gentle stream of clean, cool water for at least 20 MINUTES WITHOUT DELAY. Delay of a few seconds can greatly increase the extent the of injury.
- Do not use neutralizing solutions including boric acid and out-of-date bottled eye wash solutions.
- Hold eyelids apart and roll eyeballs around during irrigation to wash the entire surface.
- Wash alkaline solutions for longer periods of time as they are more hazardous than acid solutions.
CHEMICALS ON THE BODY
- Immediately rinse affected areas thoroughly with cool water for at least 20 MINUTES WITHOUT DELAY. Act fast to reduce absorption through the skin and damage to the skin.
- Remove contaminated clothing while rinsing. Speed in removing chemicals from the skin is the most important way to reduce the extent of injury.
- Be prepared to provide Public Safety with important information about the incident. Identify the chemical source. Occasionally follow-up medical treatment is specialized (e.g., iced benzalkonium chloride solution for hydrofluoric acid).
- Do not use neutralizing chemicals, creams, or lotions.
INHALATION OF CHEMICALS
- Act quickly. Get the victim into fresh, uncontaminated air if the rescue action does not put you at risk.
- Be prepared to provide important information to Public Safety. If known, identify the chemical(s) inhaled. Describe medical signs and symptoms. Accurate information will result in the best handling of a poisoning.
INGESTION OF CHEMICALS
- Be prepared to provide Public Safety with the name of the chemical and the amount ingested, if known. Describe medical signs and symptoms. Accurate information is essential for the Poison Control System ( (617) 232-2120 ) to provide effective medical assistance via the telephone.
- If the victim is conscious and not convulsing, immediately have the person ingest one to two glassfuls of milk or water to dilute the chemical. This is the preferred treatment of choice as water and milk do not result in a hazardous exothermic chemical reaction that would worsen the situation.
- Never induce vomiting. It is frequently dangerous to the victim, particularly if corrosive materials have been ingested.
- Make certain the chemical container goes to the hospital with the victim. Also, send a sample of vomitus for analysis.
- Drop to the floor and roll.
- Use a drench shower only if it is in VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY.
- Do not run if your clothing is burning. Running fans the flames, intensifies the fire and the extent of the burn injuries.
- Use a fire blanket to extinguish flames with great caution because burning clothing retains heat and may continue to smolder. Also, if a person wrapped in a blanket remains standing, a chimney effect may occur and cause the smoke to rise past the person's breathing zone.
- DO NOT remove clothing if it is stuck to the skin, but rather, continue to apply water.
- Apply cool water to the burned area to reduce pain and swelling.
- Apply a dry sterile dressing to the burned area. Do not touch or directly breath on the wound.
- Do not use any commercial sprays or home remedies such as butter.
- Do not break any blisters.
ELECTRICAL SHOCK INJURIES
- Take fast action because electrical shock injuries can cause burns and can cause a person's lungs and/or heart to stop functioning.
- NEVER approach or touch a person who is in contact with live electrical equipment. Locate and shut-off power source first.
- If power shut-off is not possible and you believe it can be done without personal risk, you may use a nonconducting object (e.g., long piece of wood) to disconnect the person from the live electrical source.
CUTS AND BLEEDING WOUNDS
- Control bleeding with direct pressure on the wound with a sterile gauze pad. Elevate the wound above the level of the heart.
- Do not remove any object such as glass or wood from a cut. Removal should be done by medical personnel.
- If a person is bleeding heavily, have the person lie down with feet elevated. Keep the victim warm and calm.
- NEVER apply a tourniquet.
MOVING AN INJURED PERSON
- Do not move an injured person until medical assistance arrives unless there is a real danger of further injury (e.g., an approaching fire).
- If you must move the victim, move the person as a whole, protect the victim's head at all times and watch where you are going.
Support every part of the body if circumstances require you to lift the victim. Keep the victim's body in a straight line, do not bend. Always use your legs, not your back, while lifting or pulling.