RED CROSS EMERGENCY HANDBOOK
HOW TO COPE WITH....
Accidents, Injuries, and Sudden Illness
Fire, Flood, and Earthquake
Family Problems Caused by Military Service
Emergency Telephone Numbers:
Poison Control ___________________________
Red Cross ___________________________
- Control bleeding.
a. Apply direct pressure on wound with a sterile dressing
b. Elevate injured area above the heart if possible.
c. Apply pressure to supplying blood vessel if direct
pressure is not successful.
- Secure dry, sterile dressings with bandages.
- Cleanse minor injuries thoroughly with plain soap and
water (clean your hands first).
- If evidence of infection appears, see a doctor.
- Do not move the victim.
- Keep the broken bone ends and adjacent joints from moving.
- If an open wound is present, control the bleeding (see
- Apply splints.
- Keep victim lying down.
- Cover him only enough to keep him from losing body heat.
- Obtain medical help as soon as possible.
IN CASE OF A SERIOUS ACCIDENT:
- RESCUE: Do not move victim unless further danger is
- CHECK BREATHING: If not breathing, give artificial respiration.
- CONTROL SEVERE BLEEDING: Use direct pressure and elevate
- DILUTE POISONS: With milk or water
- TREAT FOR SHOCK
- CALL FOR HELP
GIVE THIS INFORMATION:
L - Location of emergency (address and
I - Injury (number and type)
F - First aid given
E - Equipment needed or available
- Dilute with milk or water (except for an unconscious
- Call poison information center
- If breathing stops, use artificial respiration
- Save label of poison container and/or save sample of
vomitus if victim regurgitates
- Transport to hospital emergency room
- To relieve pain and prevent contamination
a. Submerge small minor burns in cold water (do not use
b. Apply sterile dressings to large extensive burns (do
not apply grease or ointment)
- Treat for shock
- Seek medical assistance
STOPPAGE OF BREATHING
- Give artificial respiration - Mouth to mouth method
a) Tip victim's head back, chin pointing up
b) Look, listen and feel for breathing
c) If not breathing, close victim's nostrils by pinching
d) Make a tight seal over victim's mouth with your mouth
e) Inflate victim's lungs with 2 full slow breaths
f) Watch victim's chest fall while listening for air return
g) Check for the pulse at the side of the neck for 5 seconds.
If there is no pulse and there is no breathing, begin
CPR if you have been trained
h) If victim has a pulse, but is not breathing, give artificial
i) Breathe for adults once every 5 seconds; for children,
once every 4 seconds; for infants, once every 3 seconds
j) Recheck for spontaneous breathing every few minutes
- Call an ambulance
Symptoms: Chest pains, difficulty breathing, nausea, sweating,
weak rapid pulse. If you suspect a person has suffered a
heart attack, search for an identification card or bracelet
for additional steps or doctor's telephone number. Question
eye witnesses about what has occurred.
- Place the victim in a comfortable position
- Raise his head and chest if breathing is difficult
- If breathing stops, apply artificial respiration
- Get medical aid fast -- physician or person trained
- If pulse becomes absent, give CPR if trained.
a. Tip head to open airway. Look, listen, feel for breathing
b. Restore breathing. Give mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration
c. Restore circulation. Check carotid pulse. If absent,
apply external cardiac compression on the victim's breast
Single Rescuer: 15 chest compressions
at 80-100 per minute, alternate with 2 slow full lung
inflations, then repeat 15 compressions.
Two Rescuers: 5 compressions at 90-100
per minute. Give 1 breath every 5th compression. Repeat
at 5:1 ratio.
- Keep victim lying down with feet elevated until recovery
- Bathe face down gently with cool water. Do not pour
water over victim.
- Loosen tight clothing. Keep crowds away.
- Provide rest, with feet elevated 8-12 inches.
- Apply cool, wet cloths or rubbing alcohol to the victim.
- Give sips of cool water, 1/2 glass every 15 minutes
for 1 hour.
- Loosen clothing.
- Fan victim.
- Victim should do no work for several days.
- Protect the frozen area from further injury.
- Cover the frozen area with clothing or blankets.
- Do not rub frozen part since this may cause tissue death.
- Immerse chilled part in warm water (102 - 108 degrees)
as soon as possible.
- If thawed and refrozen, immerse chilled part in room
temperature water (70-74 degrees).
- Do not use heat lamp, hot water bottle, or stove to
warm the frostbitten area.
- Discontinue warming the victim as soon as the affected
part becomes flush.
- If fingers or toes are involved, place dry sterile gauze
between them to keep them separated.
- If medical help is not available for 1 hour or more,
give victim (conscious victims only) a weak solution of
salt and soda at home or enroute: 1 level teaspoon of
salt and 1/2 level teaspoon of baking soda to each quart
of water, neither hot or cold. Give about 4 ounces of
1/2 glass every 15 minutes (adults).
...take a Red Cross course
You can help...even if you can't swim.
When a bather is in trouble near a dock, float, or side
of pool, your number one priority is to stay on the dock.
- Extend upper body over water, making sure you have
a firm foothold
- Grasp victim's wrists
- Slowly draw victim to safety
- Extend a pole, towel, shirt, or branch to victim
- Draw victim to safety -- don't let victim pull you
Use buoy or other floatation device attached to rope.
Stand one on end of rope, throw float beyond victim and
slowly pull it into victim's grasp.
In a boat, on a beach, in shallow water...think first.
Use oar or paddle...or a piece of wood.
Let the victim pull you in over your head, or there may
be two victims.
Attempt a swimming rescue unless you are a trained lifesaver.
HOME SAFETY TIPS
- Keep stove and sink areas well lighted.
- Turn pot handles away from front of stove but not over
- Wipe up spilled grease or fluids immediately.
- Cut away from you when using a knife, and keep knives
in rack or drawer compartment.
- Dry hands before using electrical appliances and never
use such appliance while in bathtub.
- Use a stepstool to reach high cupboards.
- Have cracked or frayed electrical cords replaced by
a qualified electrician.
- Avoid wearing loose clothing around fire and don't use
hairsprays near a flame or while smoking.
- Screen fireplaces.
- Use large, deep ashtrays and never smoke in bed or when
you're likely to doze off.
- Keep insecticides, disinfectants, household cleaners,
and medicines in original, clearly labeled containers
and out of reach of children.
- Keep list of emergency telephone numbers --doctor, police,
fire, utilities, ambulance service, rescue squad, poison
control center -- near telephone.
- Keep walking areas and door entries clear of obstructions
and tripping hazards. Have non-skid backing on small rugs
and keep such rugs away from heads of stairs. Keep heavy
traffic areas well lighted.
- Avoid carrying loads that block your vision.
- Keep stairs clear of toys and other stumbling blocks,
and keep them well lighted at top and bottom. Keep treads
and carpeting in good repair.
- Have sturdy handrails, indoors and on porches, and sturdy
banisters on open stairs and stairwells.
- Equip tubs and showers with nonskid mats or textured
surfaces and sturdy handbars, and keep nonskid bathrugs
in front of tubs and showers.
- Keep night lights in bathrooms for elderly persons and
- Clean up floor spills and debris quickly.
WHAT TO DO:
Fire is the most common disaster affecting Southern Californians.
Each year, thousands of our neighbors are left homeless
by fires which may affect only one home or hundreds. The
Southland is especially plagued by devastating brush fires
which sometimes rage unchecked for days.
You should check with your home and place of business regularly,
following the fire department's suggestions for fire prevention.
If fire does occur, you should know what to do, how to
escape, how to safeguard your family, yourself and your
Have a plan. Make sure you know how to get out in
case of fire -- and what to do if your planned exit is blocked
by flames. Every person should know the plan.
Don't panic. Having a plan guards against panic.
Call the fire department. Don't try to fight the
fire yourself. Make sure everyone knows how to call the
Don't use elevators. In a high-rise apartment or
office building, use stairways or fire escapes. Fire could
burn through electrical wiring and leave you trapped in
Close doors. A closed door will hold back the fire
and keep out poisonous smoke until the fire department can
Feel for heat. Don't open any door until you have
felt it, especially near the top, for heat. If it's hot,
don't open it.
Find good air. If you cannot escape, stay near the
floor, where the air is better. If all doors are closed,
open a window for air. If possible, stuff wet rags around
doors to hold back smoke and heat.
Signal for help. If you are trapped, signal with
a flashlight or light-colored sheet or towel.
Get together. As part of your plan, have a spot
outside where your family will assemble. Count them.
Stay out. Do not, for any reason, go back into a
burning building. If someone is missing, tell the fire fighters.
ABOVE ALL, DON'T PANIC
The fire department is only minutes away.
The actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom
the direct cause of death and injury. Most casualties result
from falling objects and debris. Earthquakes also may trigger
landslides and generate huge ocean waves, each of which
can cause great damage. There are many actions which you
can take to reduce the dangers to yourself, your family,
Before an Earthquake Occurs....
- Check your home for hazards.
- Hold family earthquake drills and plan for reunification.
- Teach responsible family members how to turn off utilities
at main switches and valves.
- Take first aid training.
- Keep immunizations and medications up to date.
- Gather together supplies and medications which will
allow your family to survive for at least 72 hours (food,
During an Earthquake....
- Stay calm.
- Inside, stand in a doorway or crouch under a desk or
table, away from windows. Watch for falling objects.
- Outdoors, stand away from buildings, trees, telephone,
and electrical lines.
- On the road, drive away from underpasses/overpasses.
Stop in safe area. Stay in vehicle.
After an Earthquake...
- Check for injuries. Provide first aid.
- Check for gas, water, sewage breaks and for downed electrical
lines and shorts. Turn off appropriate utilities. Check
for building damage and potential safety problems.
- Wear shoes.
- Clean up dangerous spills.
- Turn on radio and listen for instructions from public
- Don't use the telephone except for emergencies.
When rising water threatens your home, move everything
you can to the upper floors or to a place of safety on high
ground. The Red Cross will help you if there is time. Make
arrangements to move your family to a safe place if leaving
your home is ordered by the authorities or the water seems
to be headed for your house. If you have no place to go,
there will be Red Cross shelters. Disconnect electrical
appliances and move small appliances and motors in large
ones to safety. Turn off the main electrical switch and
cover the electrical outlets with tape before leaving. Take
with you important papers, eyeglasses, false teeth, prescription
medicines -- things you may need while you are out of your
house. If the water is rising rapidly during or after heavy
rains, don't wait to make preparations. Move your family
to high ground immediately. Flash floods will rise faster
than you think and cut off your escape. If you are driving
in a flood area and your car is stalled by rising water,
leave it immediately and wade back to high ground. Make
everybody get out at the same time, before the water gets
too deep. IF you are trapped in a car that goes under water,
you can get out of the submerged vehicle by opening a window
or door and swimming to safety. While you're preparing to
get out, move to the back part of the car to breathe any
air that is trapped there.
When a flood is over, don't return home unless authorities
say it is safe. Don't drink the water from a faucet unless
it is announced that it is all right to do so. Don' turn
on any electrical appliances until they have been checked.
If you smell escaping gas, report it immediately. And don't
use any food that has spoiled in a freezer or refrigerator
if the power was off for a period of time.
When a tornado approaches, your immediate action may mean
life or death!
Seek inside shelter...stay away from windows...Keep your
transistor radio tuned for the latest information.
At home -- The basement is best, under a heavy
table or workbench. If you have no basement, stay under
heavy furniture in the center part of house. Keep windows
open, but stay away from them.
Mobile home -- Get out! Find shelter in a sturdy
Office building --Interior hallway on a lower
floor or preferably in the basement.
Factory -- Have a plan to move workers out of
areas with wide unsupported roofs. Move to areas where there
are good walls, such as hallways, or restrooms.
School -- Move to interior hallways on the lowest
floor. Avoid gymnasiums or other areas with a wide unsupported
Open country -- Lie flat in ditch, ravine, or
Do not call the Weather Service except to report a tornado.
Become independent. Check battery-powered equipment, heating
fuel, food stock, and other supplies.
Dress for the season. Layers of protective clothing are
more effective and efficient then single layers of thick
clothing. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Hoods should cover
mouth, to protect lungs from extremely cold air.
Don't exhaust yourself shoveling snow. It is extremely
hard work and can bring on a heart attack, a major cause
of death during and after winter storms.
Take winter driving serious. Keep you car "winterized".
Carry a winter car kit containing equipment to help yourself
keep warm, visible, and alive if you are trapped in a winter
If a blizzard traps you, avoid overexertion and exposure,
stay in your vehicle (but keep it ventilated), exercise,
turn on dome light at night, stand watches, and don't panic.
(Information from the Department of Commerce NOAA National
Weather Service and American Red Cross.)
IF YOU ARE A DISASTER VICTIM
If a fire, flood, earthquake or any other kind of disaster
leaves you and your family in need of emergency food, clothing
or shelter, call you nearest Red Cross chapter. All Red
cross disaster assistance is an outright gift made possible
by voluntary contributions from the American people.
HELP FOR FAMILIES OR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND VETERANS
The Red Cross is the link between you and your family member
in the armed forces wherever he or she may be stationed.
If a member of your family is in military service, your
Red Cross chapter can:
- Help in sending messages about serious family illness
and death, births, and other important matters.
- Make reports to the military to help commanding officers
make decisions about leave, transfer, and discharge in
case of family emergencies.
- Help in obtaining quarters, allotments, medical care,
and other benefits.
- Help in meeting basic emergency needs for housing, food,
clothing, and medical care.
- If a member of your family is a veteran of military
service, the Red Cross can help veterans and their families
or survivors by:
a. Preparing and developing applications for federal and
b. Making reports to the Veterans Administration.
c. Assisting with plans to meet financial needs.
d. Assisting those seeking review and upgrading of discharges.
HOW RED CROSS CAN HELP YOU BE PREPARED...
Know what to do (and what not to do),
and how to do it.
...Take a Red Cross course.
Immediate emergency action you can take until medical help
is there. Courses are offered in the community. Red Cross
offices, schools, and in industrial plants and offices.
Call your nearest Red Cross office for details.
A separate course is offered with practice in the special
skills needed to perform effective cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Swimming, lifesaving, and small craft safety are taught
at all levels by Red Cross-trained instructors.
Nursing and Health Courses
How to care for someone who is sick or injured, preparations
for parenthood, food and nutrition, and other useful health
information is available in many courses.
Red Cross offers a variety of courses which will enable
you to help yourself, your family, and your community when
disaster strikes. A course on personal earthquake preparedness
is also available.
HOW YOU CAN HELP KEEP THE RED CROSS READY...
Be a volunteer blood donor - Those persons at
least 17 years of age, who are healthy and weigh at least
110 pounds, may help those who are sick and injured by donating
blood at the nearest Red Cross blood donor facilities or
bloodmobiles. Red Cross Blood Services in Los Angeles and
Orange Counties operate 365 days a year to ensure an adequate
blood supply in the 200 hospitals serving our communities.
Call your nearest Red Cross chapter for an appointment to
Be a community service volunteer - Red Cross volunteers
teach health and safety education courses; provide disaster
relief services; counseling services to the military, veterans,
and their families; and carry out other Red Cross services
to the community as needed.
Be a financial supporter - Red Cross is supported
by voluntary contributions from the American people through
the annual United Way Campaign, special disaster fund appeals,
membership, bequests, and other individual donations.
Stock #202-652; Form 934
American Red Cross
2700 Wilshire Blvd.
P.O. Box 57930
Los Angeles, CA 9005