Environmental Protection

KEY POINTS

  • Keeping a casualty warm and dry is potentially life saving after a heavy crash
  • A normal body temperature helps blood clot more effectively, reducing bleeding and improving prognosis.
  • Canopies make very good blankets.

EXPLANATION

When you reach the casualty, think about sheltering them from the elements. It is one of the simplest and most important things that you can do to help. 

Keeping a casualty warm and comfortable is not just a compassionate act. It helps stop further injury, as blood clotting worsens significantly when body temperature drops.

An injured casualty will cool rapidly, even if the air is warm around.

Think about heat loss to the ground, as well as to the air. Try to have them out of the wind, with something underneath them. 

Foil ‘space blankets’ aren’t particularly good: they are designed to reflect back radiant heat, but a cold casualty won’t be producing very much heat to radiate back. A canopy, or even bubble wrap, are much better as they trap a layer of air between the casualty and the environment.

If they are wet, either remove the wet clothes, or wrap them in something non-breathable to form a vapour blanket.