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broken bones and splints

18 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

i dont know who in here has ever done hiking or ground search and rescue, but i am curious as to what you guys think would be the best in mking a make-shift splint. my theory was using thick sticks and strips of fabric, but i've also hear of using pillows, newpaper, ive even heard of someone using an umbrella... if anyone has experiance with this, what would you reccomend? Edited by emtcutie

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Posted · Report post

[quote name='emtcutie' timestamp='1294334399' post='252049']
i dont know who in here has ever done hiking or ground search and rescue, but i am curious as to what you guys think would be the best in mking a make-shift splint. my theory was using thick sticks and strips of fabric, but i've also hear of using pillows, newpaper, ive even heard of someone using an umbrella... if anyone has experiance with this, what would you reccomend?
[/quote]

Assuming you did not have a dedicated first aid kit, anything you can find would be suitable. Large sticks, vines, umbrellas, tent poles/stakes, rolled up newspapers or magazines, books, pieces of a frame on a backpack-in other words, whatever you could scrounge up. Think about what you are trying to accomplish, which body part needs to be immobilized, does the victim need to be mobile, is it simply about support, or also protection of an injury site.

Obviously there are commercial, compact kits available, but I assume you are talking about improvisation here.

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Posted · Report post

I will normaly use a Pillow and Zap straps for a broken ankle. I have also seen sticks used as splints before I arrived on scene with ducktape and left on as the pt said that it felt good. Checked the pedals before the hike out of bush.

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Posted · Report post

When it comes to backwoods treatments and as you stated "make-shift" ANYTHING goes.

I would look for strong branches or sticks that are relatively straight. Strips of fabric make excellent bandages to secure them, just think crevats. The umbrella would work as well due to the rigidity. When it comes to splints anything rigid and hard (not flexable) will work. Duct Tape works wonders too in a pinch.

Now if I was part of a SAR team I would be carring a small assortment of hard splints or SAM splints and a few crevats. Can keep them in a small back pack or larger fanny pack.

Even when I go hiking or camping I carry 2 SAM splints and a few crevats with me in my pack. You just never know!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Get your WFR, the stuff they cover in those classes is pretty good.

When I took it, we had to improvise all our splints, and the idea was we'd put a bunch of bulky stuff - sleaping pads/bags, jackets, tarp, blankets, extra clothes... - all around the area, then strap it down. As you compressed it, it would become stiff, rigid, and if you don't mind my saying so, quite svelt.

A pillow would definately work, if you happen to have one in the middle of no-where. An umbrella is going to be kinda long, and I'd be hesitant to use it as a splint if its the only rain gear available. If its of the shorter variety, it would only work for forearm and maybe tib/fib fractures. The long ones are so bendy, I'd hesitate to use them for a femure fracture that requires a traction splint. Sticks might work, but chances are, the time and energy expended trying to find one thats going to work would be spent gathering everryones sweatpants and extra socks. As for magazines, my grandpa was a doc a long time ago, and used some reading material as a splint when the neighbor kid broke his wrist.

If you're interestred in EMS in an outdoor setting, I highly recomend going through NOLS and getting your Wilderness FIrst Responder. I mean, come on, where else can you learn how to improvise a traction splint? Edited by Stitches

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Posted · Report post

Things I have used in the wilderness:

Pillow
Sleeping bag
Hiking poles
Branches
Outter frame backpacks
Shoes
Clothing
Ground pads
Camp chairs


WFR would be a good course for anyone interesting in hiking. First step in survival in the wilderness is to always be prepared. This means, even for a day hike, anticipate the worst and pack extra layers and depending on your skill/where you are hiking you might want to bring a sleeping bag too. If you go out with the mentality that nothing will happen, and something does, you will be unprepared and could make a situation worse.


I have hiked up on inexperienced hikers before where someone has been injured and they had nothing to weather through the night, which is what we ended up doing until some help could arrive. They were in shorts and t-shirts in mid-october where at night, it gets cool. They would have made more problems for themselves if they had to spend the night alone.

Take the course, and be prepared.

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Posted · Report post

I do a lot of Wilderness and Trail, Search-Rescue. Rarely, in SAR, do we improvise for patient stabilization. It would have to be something that we're just absolutely not prepared for, at all. Perhaps multiple patients. It's hard to pack in with short manpower, and inability to determine needs with no other information than "Person Lost" or "Person Down". I think of a six man crew, as a walking rescue truck and ambulance. Everyone, whether it's chest pain or a rolled ankle, gets a backboard, so they won't fall out of the rescue basket if we have to transverse something. As for materials, you're limited as to what you can carry, vs what you want to carry. The traditional EMS style splints just don't work, the boards, framed devices, etc; there just isn't anywhere to store it. If they tell us, it's a fall victim with a femur fracture, we'll carry in a HARE or REEL; or MAST.. Whatever the info is. If there isn't any info, we just take our medical bag. You can't have enough SAM's. I hate SAM's.. on the street. They bend too easily. I'd rather use one of those "FOX" Full-On Extremity Splints w/ the padding and velcro straps. But in the woods, you can use them for anything.

Fracture kit;
1 x KTD, Kendrick Traction Device. It's a folding traction splint in a pouch, made for the military, great for SAR. It employs the same theory as using a ski pole for a traction splint.
10 x SAM, 36" x 4"
5 x Extra Large SAM, 36" x 5"
20 x Cravats
2 x "X-Collar"
4 x 3" Elastic Wrap
4 x 4" Elastic Wrap
2 x 6" Elastic Wrap
A shit load of 3" VetWrap (The cheap version of Coban, still made by 3M, but sold at Tractor Supply for $8 less than moore medical sells the exact same thing)
Dressings, bandages, etc. Loads of stuff, in a nice, easy to carry back pack. Everyone always says they can't find our "EMS Pack" in any catalogs. EMS. Eastern Mountain Sports. Sarcastically cute.

If it's open, the fx, irrigate, dress and wrap with the plastic from a large dressing; then wrap again and splint. It's gonna be a bitch to extract someone, without SAR, if they have an open fx of a leg. An arm, you're probably okay, a leg, no way.

Straight sticks, clean the bark off, make sure they're not infested w/ anything; wrap in clothing if possible. Like slice the toe end of socks open, and slide the stick through it, esp. if there's any wounds. You can, in theory, of course, put anything over the splinting device if it "should be clean". You can use condoms if you have to, why you have enough to do that, we'll never ask. Camping should be fun after all. ha ha. Pack frames can be bent, some have rigid inserts, long slats of bark, with strips of a shirt.. The sky is the limit, use "KISS", Keep it simple stupid.

You can't always be prepared, as a hiker; but we're expected to be reasonably prepared; so if something looks like it could work. Use it. You really can't go wrong, when you have to create your own options. Well, you can go horribly wrong, but you never know, till you try.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

thanks guys, all of this was really helpful. It was more out of curiosity. I used to be invloved with SAR as a part of a Civil Air Patrol ground team (which i doubt anyone has ever heard of on here) I was only a first responder then and worked as the "medic" on my team. I only needed to improvise once while on a mission, it was for a fractured wrist and i ended up using newpaper. We had already used up our splints, when one of our team members tripped. I was intrested in getting back into it since i live not to far from the mountains. So i was just curios as to what other SAR groups have used. So thanks again guys : ))) Edited by emtcutie

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Actually, if we have a really in depth search going on; extended operations, we have several CAP Squadrons available to us, with in 50 NM. Including air support from the CAP. Since HAM and CAP go so well together, it has become quite an active organization again around here. Edited by 4c6

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Just saying, here, ever thought I live in New York City, I got buddies who are CAP "ground-pounders". Someone usually has to go looking for the transponder when it erroneously gets triggered into signaling a "crashed aircraft".
If only asked, some of us got a good story to tell, even from outside EMS experiences.
Admittedly, not for stabilization, there is always the stretcher made from two jackets turned inside out, with the tent poles run through the sleeves. I've never used that, but have known of it for more than 38 years. Edited by Richard B the EMT

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