It is important to know when and how to rescue and move victims in an emergency situation.  However, as a bystander becoming a rescuer in an emergency situation it is imperative that you DO NOT put your own safety at risk, in an attempt to help others, unless it is your duty to act.  Instead activate EMS and remain on the scene, record important information to report when someone who is better trained arrives.  

Types of Rescue

Water Rescue
  • Reach-Throw-Go
    • Reach for the victim
    • Throw anything that floats
    • Go by swimming (must be trained)
  • Enter the water as a last resort
Ice Rescue
  • Extend a pole or throw a line, with floatable object to victim
  • Pull victim to shore
Electrical Emergency Rescue
  • Turn off power at circuit breaker, fuse box or outside switch, if possible
  • Unplug power cord, if possible
  • Stay clear of high-voltage power lines
  • Wait for trained personnel with proper equipment if scene is unsafe
Hazardous Materials Incidents
  • Look for signs on hazardous materials
  • Look for signs on vehicle
  • Look for spilled liquids or solids
  • Avoid strong, unusual odors
  • Stay away and upwind
  • Wait for trained personnel to arrive
Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • Park in a safe area and call or direct bystander to call EMS
  • Turn on emergency hazard lights
  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Apply PPE
  • Turn off ignitions of involved vehicles, if possible
  • Activate flares and/or reflectors, if available
  • If you suspect spinal injuries in victim, stabilize head and neck - see head, neck and spine injury section
  • Check and care for life threatening injuries first
  • Remain with victim(s) until EMS arrives and takes over
Fires
  • Call EMS or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Quickly remove people from the site
  • Use a fire extinguisher for small fires
  • Check and care for life threatening injuries first
  • Remain with victim(s) until EMS arrives and takes over
Confined Space
  • Any area not intended for human occupancy may have dangerous atmosphere (low oxygen levels)
  • Rescue requires special training and equipment
  • Call or direct bystander to call EMS
  • Only enter the space if you are trained and have protective equipment
  • Check motionless victims first
  • Remove victim(s) and provide care

Moving Victims

Only move victims if:
  • There is immediate danger to the victim
  • It is necessary to provide care
  • It does not put you, the rescuer in danger
  • You can protect victim’s head, neck and back
Recovery Position
  • Keeps victim’s airway open
  • Allows any fluid to drain from the mouth 
  • Can prevent aspiration
  • How to place victim in position
    • Extend out victim’s closest arm above his/her head
    • Place victims leg farthest from you over the other leg
    • Support victim’s head and neck
    • Place victim’s other arm across his/her chest
    • Roll victim toward you
    • Use victim’s knee of the top leg to prop the body
    • Place victims hand under the chin

Emergency Rescue Moves

When moving the victim, drag with the victim’s body position at the longest axis
   
Clothing Drag
  • Apply PPE 
  • Stand behind victim’s head, looking toward victim’s feet
  • Grasp victim’s shirt, near shoulders
  • Lift up and walk backwards while dragging the victim to safety
Blanket Drag
  • Apply PPE
  • Stand behind victim’s head, looking toward victim’s feet
  • Place the victim on a blanket, sheet or large fabric
  • Grasp blanket above victim’s head
  • Lift up and walk backwards or crawl while dragging the victim to safety
Extremity Drag
  • Use victim’s legs or forearms
  • Stand holding firmly to arms or legs and pull victim to safet