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    Past Self Rescue Tips

    April, 2000
    Improvise wound closure strips out of duct tape. Cut the duct tape into 1/4 inch strips. Puncture tiny holes along the length of the tape with a safety pin. The holes prevent fluid build up under the tape while it covers the wound.

    January-March, 2000
    There are no self rescue tips - the web mistress took off on a caving expedition!

    December, 1999
    Almost all cave rescues involve long term (over a few hours) care of a patient. Good psychological care of an injured caver becomes a critical factor for a successful rescue. Keep your patient calm and allow them to participate in their rescue. This gives them a feeling of control and allows them to utilize their limited energy toward the rescue instead of toward panic and immobilizing fear.

    November, 1999
    Create a makeshift sleeping bag from a couple of plastic garbage bags. Loosely fill the garbage bags with clothing, dry leaves, papers, etc. Tie or tape the bags shut to prevent moisture from soaking down the contents. Place one filled bag over the patient, and the other below.

    October, 1999
    Blisters can be "glued" in place if it is necessary to keep walking. Drain the blister with a sterile needle or knife. Inject a small amount of super glue or tincture of benzoin into the blister and press the loose skin into place. The pain is intense, but will only last a few moments. Cover the blister with a piece of tape and keep going.

    September, 1999
    Use a zip top bag to create padding if no other material is available. Inflate the bag by blowing into it and then seal it with duct tape.

    August, 1999
    Circular cuts on T-shirts for a compression bandage
    Make a conforming roller bandage out of a T-shirt or similar stretchy garment. Cut a thin strip of material from the body of the shirt in a circular fashion.

    July, 1999
    A moistened non-herbal tea bag may be used to control bleeding and pain within the mouth. The tannic acid in the tea acts as a vasoconstrictor (constricts the blood vessels).

    June, 1999
    Place anchors for fixed ropes high and away from the edge of a pit. The high rigging prevents sharp bends in the rope and decreases the rope's contact with the edge. If a haul system is needed, it can operate with greater efficiency. Placing the anchor farther back from the edge also creates a "safe zone" for potential rescuers to work.

    May, 1999
    Replace a lost filling by melting some candle wax from your rescue candle. Let the wax cool until it is soft and pliable, and stick it into the tooth. Smooth it out with your finger, bite down on it, and wipe away the excess wax.

    April, 1999
    Picture of safey sling
    It is easy to make a sling from just a few safety pins. Secure the patient's sleeve to his coveralls using several large safety or diaper pins, spaced evenly along the arm. Make sure you pin the upper arm to the coveralls too. Wrapping the arm and torso with duct tape will further secure the sling.

    March, 1999
    Wrap several feet of duct tape around each of your water bottles. This method of carrying tape does not add much bulk or weight to your gear. The tape will also be available when you need it.

    February, 1999
    If you don't have enough pulleys for your haul system, a carabiner may be used as a poor substitute. Expect losses in efficiency of 50 percent or more.

    January, 1999
    As a person's blood pressure starts to drop, the pulse will disappear from certain areas of the body. First, the pulse will disappear from the feet. Next, it will disappear from the wrist, then from the neck. Prior to blood pressure dropping, the pulse rate will usually increase. A change in pulse is a clear indication that the patient is experiencing distress.

    December, 1998
    Small plastic sandwich bags are often used to carry caving items. You can use them as a substitute for a set of surgical gloves. Turn the bag inside out (dirty side in) and stick your hand inside. The bag is a little awkward, but does provide a barrier against contamination.

    November, 1998
    A broken finger can be splinted simply by padding it and taping it securely to the finger next to it!

    October, 1998
    Need a splint? How about a nalgene water bottle? Cut off the top and bottom of the bottle. Next, make 2 lengthwise slits in the remaining tube, from top to bottom, splitting the tube in half. Place the two pieces of nalgene around the injured area. Tie or duct tape the splint in place.

    September, 1998
    A bandanna worn under the helmet can keep your hair clean, your head warm, and act as a bandage or sling in an emergency.

    August, 1998
    An irrigation syringe can be made from a small zip-top plastic bag and a safety pin. Pour water into the bag, seal it shut, puncture the lower corner with the safety pin, and squeeze the bag.

    July, 1998
    Carry a set of non-latex (vinyl, Nitrile, poly-blend, etc.) surgical gloves in your medical kit. They create instant "clean hands" for dealing with wounds.

Pages created June 1998 - Last update May 2000
Copyright © 1998-2000 Cindy Heazlit for The Self Rescue Group
Designed and maintained by Cindy Heazlit