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
- 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
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
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