How to Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid

Two Methods:Protecting the SpineMoving a Person Without a Spinal Injury

Do not move an injured person unless they are in a life-threatening situation. Moving an injured person can worsen the injury. If the person has a spinal injury it can cause them to be permanently paralyzed. If the person is not in immediate, life threatening danger, call emergency responders for medical help. If you do need to move the person out of life threatening danger, it is important to do it correctly to reduce the risk to the injured person and to yourself.[1][2]

Method 1
Protecting the Spine

  1. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 1
    Do not move someone if you think she has a spinal injury. Moving her could increase the damage and even cause her to be paralyzed. If you are unsure if the person has a spinal injury, then you should proceed as if she does. Signs of a spinal injury include:[3][4]
    • Having a head injury, particularly one that involved a blow to the head or neck.
    • Showing changes in the state of consciousness, for example, being unconscious or confused.
    • Experiencing pain in the neck or back.
    • Not moving the neck.
    • Experiencing weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the limbs.
    • Losing control of the bladder or bowels.
    • The head or neck is twisted in a strange position.
    • Reacts to painful stimulus (trapezius pinch or sternal rub) by flexing all her limbs inward or by extending all her limbs out (referred to as posturing).
  2. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 2
    Stabilize someone with a spinal injury. If the person’s head or body moves, it may increase the damage to the spine. You can prevent this by:[5]
    • Putting towels or pillows on both sides of the person’s head to prevent it from rolling or slipping.
    • Providing first aid, like CPR, without moving the head. This means that you should not tilt the person’s head back to open the airway. Instead, use the jaw-thrust method.
    • Not taking the person’s helmet off if he was wearing one. For example if he had a bike or motorcycle helmet on, leave it so you don’t move the spine.
  3. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 3
    Roll the person onto her side if necessary. This should only be done if the person is in immediate danger, for example if she is vomiting or choking on blood. Under these circumstances, you may have to roll the person onto her side. It is important to do this with at least one other person so that you can prevent the person’s body from twisting.[6]
    • One person should be positioned at the head and the other at the injured person’s side. The two of you must coordinate so that the spine remains aligned while the person is rolled. Twisting can cause additional damage to the spine.
    • While rolling, wait for the lead person's cue. Roll by grabbing the opposite shoulder and hip, rolling the patient toward you. While the person is in this position, check her back and neck quickly for obvious injuries.

Method 2
Moving a Person Without a Spinal Injury

  1. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 4
    Use the human crutch method. If the person is conscious and can move on his own, this method might be the most effective. It can be used if the person has an injury to only one leg.[7][8]
    • Crouch with your knees bent and back straight next to the injured person on the side of the injury. Have the person sit up and wrap his arm over your shoulder. Slowly stand, allowing the injured person to support himself with his good leg. You will support his weight on the side with the injury. Hold his hand around your shoulders with the hand furthest from him. Put your other hand around his waist.
    • Help him balance as he hops to safety. This enables him to minimize the amount of weight that must go on the injured leg.
  2. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 5
    Drag the person to safety. The drag method is safer than lifting the person, for both you and the injured person. Lifting increases the amount of weight that you must support and it puts the person at risk of falling. Always pull slowly and steadily, moving the person in as straight a line as possible. You want to keep the person’s spine aligned so that it does not twist or bend unnaturally. Which type of drag you use will depend on the injures that the person has.[9]
    • Leg drag —This method is used when the person has no leg injuries, but cannot walk. Bend at your knees so that your back remains straight, but you can hold the person’s ankles. Lean back and slowly and steadily use your weight to drag the person to safety. Be careful not to drag the person over surfaces or objects that may injure her. If you are sure that the person has not suffered a spinal injury, you can lift the head and put something underneath to protect it. If you think the person might have a spinal injury, you should move the head as little as possible.
    • Arm drag — This method is necessary when the person has leg injuries. Bend your legs and keep your back straight. This will protect your own back. Lift the person’s arms above the head and grasp the person by the elbows. Squeeze the elbows against the sides of the head so that it remains supported and does not drag on the ground. Use your own weight to lean back and slowly drag the person to safety.
    • Clothing drag — If the person has injuries on both the arms and legs, it may be necessary to drag her by her clothing. If you use this method, pay attention to the clothing to make sure that it doesn’t suddenly tear and cause the person’s head to bang on the ground. Bend your knees and grip the clothing under the armpits. Lean back and use your weight to drag the person.
  3. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 6
    Carry a child using the cradle method. This method is quick and easy but it can only be used for children and people who are much smaller than the rescuer. Because the person’s entire weight hangs on your arms, you will tire quickly.[10][11]
    • Scoop the child up so that you are carrying him in front of you with one hand around his back and the other under his knees.
    • Bend at the knees and keep your back straight when lifting. If you injure your back in the process of lifting the person, you won’t be able to help as effectively.
  4. Image titled Carry an Injured Person by Yourself During First Aid Step 7
    Carry a larger person like a backpack. This method can be used if the person is too large for you to carry in the cradle position or the person must be carried too far for you to maintain the cradle position. It can be used for people who are unconscious.[12][13]
    • Start with the injured person on her back. Bend her legs and stand with your feet on her toes. Pull her up by her wrists to a standing position.
    • As you put the person into a standing position, rotate so that the person’s chest is against your back and her arms are over your shoulders. This allows you to hold the person’s arms, tip forward slightly at the waist, and carry the person like a backpack.

Article Info

Categories: First Aid and Emergencies