The Life Saving Skills of First Aid

DISCLAIMER: Under no condition is responsibility to be accepted by Troop 270, or anyone else related to this site regarding the consequences of use of the information distributed in this documentation in any First Aid application.

What is first aid and why do I have to know it? First aid is three things. Treating life-threatening dangers. Keeping the victim safe from further harm and getting proper medical help for the victim. Now, why do you have to know it? Just think, if no one knew first aid, who would fix your friend when he got his broken arm. Or who would save your grandpa's life by giving him lifesaving CPR? The point is, first aid saves peoples lives. Chances are that you'll need to use first aid; not only when you go camping with your fellow scouts, but at home, work or school.

We hope this will be of help to you on your journey to Eagle Scout. Below is a list of First Aid that you will need to know for rank advancement. Click on one of the underlined words or the pictures below.



Here are the First Aid instructions we offer, hope they are helpful!

The snakebite

Most snakes; really most, try to stay away from humans. Just think, if you were his size, would you stay away from someone 10 times your size? Snakes only attack when they feel threatened. If you stay out of their way, they will stay out of yours. Even if you are bit by some scared-to-death snake, the chances that its poisonous are slim.

Symptoms: A snake bites you and it hurts.

First Aid: First thing's first, get away from the snake. It does no good when you try to suck out the venom when the snake is injecting more into the poor helpless victim. Next, help the victim lie down, and loosen the clothing. Calm the victim down. If the venom has reached a blood vain, and the victim is yelling and screaming, its going to spread the poison through his body much faster. Next, put a constricting band 2 to 4 inches above the bite. This is to slow the spread of the venom. You should be able to get two fingers under the constricting band, don't make it any tighter. Treat the victim for shock, and get medical help immediately. If you have a snakebite kit, you will be able to "suck" out a lot of venom through the pump, if it is used quickly.

Prevention: As said before, "If you leave the snake alone, it will leave you alone". Although, on some rare occasions, this cannot be helped. Because snakes crawl on the ground, they will mostly strike at the ankles and feet. Wearing high heeled boots, and paints will help reduce the venom received.


Burns and Scalds

Generally, burn are not that serious. Typically, you'll get burned while lying on the beach or accidentally touching some hot object. Third degree burns can get nasty, and even life threatening, so it is very important to treat them with all seriousness.

The First Degree Burn

1st degree burn is not very dangerous. It will hurt more than anything else. A first degree burn is a type of burn you might get while sunbathing at the beach, hiking in the mountains, or working in your backyard.

Symptoms: The symptoms are pretty easy for this one. A redness which usually burns.

First Aid: Treat with cold water. Some lotions and creams made for minor burns will also help reduce the pain, but will not help heal any faster.

Prevention: Gee, this is a hard one. Apply sunscreen you idiot!


The Second Degree Burn

The 2nd degree burn is a little more complicated than the 1st degree burn. While there is still no real danger in a 2nd degree burn, the blisters can become infected if popped.

Symptoms: A redness around the burn, and is usually painful. Most likely, blisters will appear around the red and throbbing skin.

First Aid: The first aid for the second degree is pretty much the same for the first degree. Treat with cold water. Some lotions and creams made for minor burns will also help reduce the pain, but will not help heal any faster.

Prevention: Since this type of burn is not typically caused by sunburns, and is usually caused by things like hot water and hot coffee or touching a really hot object. Sometimes it is rather hard to prevent. Just be careful around hot things.


The Third Degree Burn

The third degree burn is one that can be life threatening. So it is very important to seek the proper medical help.

Symptoms: The skin will be black, and have a charred, flakey look. Flakes of dead skin may fall off. If the nerves have been burned, there will be little or no pain.

First Aid: Do not remove any clothing, gloves, shoes or anything else around the burn. Do not apply any creams, lotions, jells or ointment. Doing so may make the

burn worse. Treat the victim for shock, and rush to the hospital, his life is in danger.


Puncture Wounds

What are "puncture wounds?" Well, a puncture wound is any foreign object that enters the body. Slivers, fishhook's, nails, knife stabs etc... Assuming that the wound is small, they are pretty easy to treat. If they are larger like getting stabbed or a gun shot wound, of course you would need to see a doctor.

Symptoms: Something that has "punctured" your skin. Usually hurts, turns red around the area and sometimes swell's.

First Aid: If it's small, pull it out with tweezers and wash stabbed area with soap and water. If it is larger like a knife, branch, plank, etc., do not take out but get to the doctor.

For fishhooks: Push the hook through the skin so the barb comes out, cut off the barb and now pull the hook back out. Clean the wound.

Prevention: Prevention for this kind of stuff is pretty easy and straightforward. Wear shoes when going out side, wear gloves and be sure to have your tetanus shot to prevent "lockjaw." And don't hang around any gang hangouts, is easily a good rule of thumb for not getting stabbed.


Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

First off, Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion; what's the difference? Well, Heat Exhaustion is when someone can't cool there body off, when they are starting to become sick because of too much heat. Heat Stroke is basically the same thing, but much more severe. So severe in fact, that it may kill you. So Heat Exhaustion is just a "little" Heat Stroke. Its just called Heat Exhaustion at stage one and Heat Stroke at stage two which at stage two.


Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion can effect someone just about anywhere, indoors and outdoors. Believe it or not, a notable amount of elderly people die inside their homes each year because of Heat related problems.

Symptoms: The victims face is cool and pale, with cold sweat on the on the forehead. The victim may also have headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting and experience meekness.

First Aid: This should be common sense. When you are hot, what do you do? Most people would, take off a sweatshirt, kick off the shoes, drink some water, or get out of the sun. These are the things you need to do for heat exhaustion. The only problem is that the victim can't think to do it himself, so you have to do it for him. So basically you want to cool the guy off. Giving sips of water, laying him in the shade, and loosing the clothing, will all help to cool off the victim.

Prevention: Staying out of the sun, drinking plenty of water, wearing the right clothing for the occasion and having a buddy around who knows the symptoms for Heat Exhaustion.


Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke is just a continuation of Heat Exhaustion. It is caused because of the lack of treatment for Heat Exhaustion. Heat Stroke is the final stage before death, so it is very important to treat, and treat correctly.

Symptoms: The victims face is very red and hot, a strong pulse, and irregular breathing. If the victim is unconscious, you are in trouble, because he's getting ready to die.

First Aid: Get the victim to a shady cool place, raise his head and shoulders and undress the victim to cool him off. Apply wet towels, buckets of water, ice water anything to cool off the victim. Get the victim to the hospital. At this point, the body is beginning to shut down, so prepare to begin rescue breathing.

Prevention: The same as Heat Exhaustion, keep out of the sun, drink plenty of water, wear the right clothing for the occasion and have a buddy around who knows the symptoms for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.


What exactly is shock? Well, shock is when you are put is some situation where you body stops functioning for a while. Hearing bad news, getting in an auto accident, getting a bad cut, can all lead to shock. Shock happens when your body forgets to send enough blood to your head, leaving you dizzy, confused or can even lead to fainting.

Symptoms: The victim may be weak, his face may be pale, cold and clammy. Some victims may be mad or hysterical. These are all symptoms of shock.

First Aid: Have the victim lie down and raise his feet six inches, to get blood to his head. Cover the victim if he is cold and let him sip water if he is conscious. Never leave the victim alone. Talk with the victim and assure him that everyhing will be fine. The main thing is to get blood to the head by raising the feet and keeping the victim calm.

Prevention: To my knowledge there is nothing you can do to prevent shock.


Frostbite is when your fingers, toes, noise and your ears get so cold, the freeze. Eventually they will get numb and fall off. This is why it's important to pay attention to your body.

Symptoms: The body part (typically ones farthest away from the heart, like toes and fingers) is numb and cold. It may have a slight grayish-yellowish look to it.

First Aid: Warm the body part up. Use your hands, armpits, heat pads, anything to get them warm. Getting the victim to a warm place will help. Do Not rub, stroke or massage the frozen skin. Doing so may cause chunks of skin to fall off. Not a pretty site.

Prevention: Stay warm. Wear gloves, make sure your feet stay warm and dry. It's a lot harder to stay warm when you are wet.



When someone gets Hypothermia, it means they got so cold, their body stopped functioning and started to shut down. An easy way to prevent this is to stay warm. Pretty easy huh? The hardest part of Hypothermia is to recognize the signs. One more note, Hypothermia is a life threatening condition, so it is important to act quickly when dealing with Hypothermia.

Symptoms: As Hypothermia progresses, the victim will not be able to recognize his condition. It is very important for you to know the symptoms. A victim of Hypothermia will begin to feel cold and begin to shiver. As Hypothermia continues won't be able to think clearly. His shivering may get worse; the shivering may get more violent. In the far advanced stages, the victim may seem a little drunk. He will stumble and fall and not think clearly. If the victim stops shivering with the last two symptoms and is unconscious, he is about to die. Get medical help immediately. His life is at stake.

First Aid: This is pretty easy. Hypothermia is when the victim is really cold. Naturally the first aid would be to get the victim warm. There are many ways to do this. If the victim is conscious, give him a warm drink. Get the victim out of the cold weather, and have him change any wet clothes. If the victim is unconscious, strip you and the victim down to shorts and get in the same sleeping bag to transfer body heat. Basically, the main point is to warm the body up.

Prevention: This is also pretty easy, wear enough clothes when going outside in the cold. Keep dry when in the cold, it's amazing how fast your temperature will drop when your wet. Make sure you check your buddies for signs of Hypothermia.

General CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a procedure you perform on someone having a heart attack. By squeezing the heart and breathing into his mouth, you provide the victim with two lifesaving elements. It is important to know the signs of a heart attack in order to help the victim get medical help as soon as possible. CPR is very exhausting work, but when you are done, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you saved a life. Most Heart Attacks happen in the home, where it is least expected, so it is important to know how to give CPR.



Symptoms of a Heart Attack:
1) Chest Pains. This pressure in the chest usually spread to the shoulders, neck, jaw and left arm.

2) Sweating. Sweating when the temperature is rather cool, or when very little hard work was done. No reason for him to sweat.

3) Nausea: The victim feel like he is ready to vomit.

4) Shortness of Breath. He may be panting and have trouble breathing for no reason. No hard work or exercise was done.

5) Weakness. Not to say the victim will turn wimpy, but he'll have a lot of trouble doing simple stuff. He'll feel tired and exhausted.

Check for a pulse

Be sure to tilt the head back

First Aid for a Heart Attack:
If the victim is conscious, but is showing the signs of a heart attack, have the victim sit or lie down, which ever is more comfortable for him. Get medical help IMMEDIATELY. Be prepared to perform CPR if the victim's heart stops.

Instructions for General CPR
Shake the victim to make sure he is not sleeping (believe it or not, this happens more than you would think).

If you are unsuccessful in waking the victim, turn him on his back. Tilt the head back to open the airway. Do this pulling up on the chin while pushing down on the forehead.

Look, Listen & Feel. Putting your ear to the victimís mouth, look at chest, see if it is rising and falling. Feel for the breath on your cheek and listen for the victim's breathing. You have established that the victim is not breathing.

Be sure and call for help, after a while, you'll be exhausted and need someone else to take over

Lock your elbows and put your shoulders over the victims chest

Make sure the airway is open (tilt the head back). Pinch the victim noise and breathe two breaths into the victim's mouth. Be sure to pinch the noise hard otherwise your cheek may become a Kleenex.

After giving two breaths, check for a pulse. Take your pointing and middle fingers and put them together. Put those two

fingers on the victim's Adam's apple. Slide your fingers down until you find the valley between the Adam's apple and the muscle on the side of his neck. Press in that valley to find a pulse. You may have to press kind of hard. Hold your fingers there for at least six seconds to be sure the victim has no pulse. You may want to check on both sides on the neck to be sure.

If there is no pulse, contact 911 immediately. Better yet, call out to someone else to call for you, so you can stay with the victim.

Now you start what most people call a cycle. Fifteen chest compressions and then two ventilations. Move over to the victim's chest. Run your fingers up the rib cage until you reach the sternal notch (a few inches below the breastbone). Now put your palm over the sternal notch and placing your other palm on top of your other palm. Lock your fingers between the fingers on the bottom palm. Put your shoulders directly over the compression area. Lock your arms and elbows over your hands. Give fifteen chest compression's with a smooth rhythm of one - and - two - and - three, ect. The compressions should be quick and smooth, keeping your fingers from putting pressure on the victimís ribs. Push down about 1/ 1/2 to 2 inches.  

Continue five cycles of breathing and chest compression's before checking the pulse again.

Continue CPR until you are relived by medical personnel, or the victim's heart starts to beat again.

Stopped Breathing

Shake the victim to make sure he is not sleeping (believe it or not, this happens more than you would think).

If you are unsuccessful in waking the victim, turn him on his back. Tilt the head back to open the airway. Do this pulling up on the chin while pushing down on the forehead.

Look, Listen & Feel. Putting your ear to the victimís mouth, look at chest, see if it is rising and falling. Feel for breath on your cheek and listen for the victim's breathing. You have now established that the victim is not breathing.

Make sure the airway is open (tilt the head back). Pinch the victim noise and breathe two breaths into the victim's mouth. Be sure to pinch the noise hard otherwise your cheek may become a Kleenex.

Continue rescue breathing until you are relived by medical personnel, or the victim becomes conscious and begins to breathe on their own.



Severe Bleeding

Severe Bleeding is one of the five hurry cases, that means it is a life threatening situation. It is very important to treat severe bleeding because you can die from lack of treatment. The symptoms are simple; blood coming form a body. The first aid is also very easy. Put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Use sterile pads, rags, tee-shirts, and at last resort; use your hand. Anything to stop the bleeding. If the cloth becomes blood-soaked, do not take off and change the cloth, if you do, you may end up making it worse. Think about it. When someone bleeds, your body will try to make a scab on the skin and make blood clots it the arty to stop the bleeding. If you have a piece of cloth over the wound, and after a while pull it off, you may end up pulling the scab off too; opening up the wound all over again. That is why you do not replace the cloth, just add another on top. The best way is to tie something around the cloth so you don't have to hold it. Or better yet, if the victim is conscious, have him hold the cloth over his own wound. For "bad bleeds" get to a doctor. If you are in the backcoutry, and the wound will still not stop bleeding and the wound is on a limb, find the artery. Pinch and hold so a majority of the blood stops.




Most people choke while they are eating. You may have seen someone choking while at the school cafeteria. Maybe you have seen someone in a fast food restaurant. You may have choked yourself while eating. All of these scenarios require the Heimlich maneuver. When someone is choking, no air can go through their noise or mouth. They cannot breathe. Some object is wedged in their air passage way, like a cork stuck in a bottle. When you perform the Heimlich maneuver, you are squeezing the lounges to force air out of the victimís mouth, forcing the piece of food out of the victimís mouth so he can breathe again. The Heimlich maneuver has to be done carefully. Your hands are not meant to be inside a guy's ribcage. Doing the Heimlich maneuver can cause some serious damage to internal organs if done improperly. To perform the Heimlich maneuver: If the victim is standing, move behind the victim. Put you arms around the victimís waist. Clasp your hands one finger above his belly button. Give a quick inward then upward thrust to squeeze the lounges. This forces the air into the throat and forces the object out of your mouth. Do this repeatedly until the victim can breathe.

If the victim is unconscious and is lying down: Turn the victim on his back. Again, put your hands one finger above the belly button and give the inward-upward thrust. Do this repeatedly until the victim again can breathe.


 Internal Poisoning

Most poisonings happen in the home, especially with young children. Kids will swallow anything they can get their hands on. So say youíre at home and your babysitting your little brother. Your parents are at some PTA meeting or something. You are watching "Survivor" when there is a commercial break and you decide to run to the kitchen to grab some junk food. You are startled when you round the corner and you little brother Is lying on the floor, face down. You see he has gotten into the medicine cabinet because bottles are all over the floor. One bottle in particular has the lid off with half a dozen pill scattered on the floor. You realize how much you really like your little brother and try to think of something to do. Then you remember that this is one of the five hurry cases. You read all about it on the Troop website. You grab the open bottle and look on the label. You find the poison centers phone number and dial the 1-800 number. Some nice and polite person on the other end answers and asks you a few questions. You do exactly as they say (Instructions may vary, depending on the poison). In the end, everything turns out OK. You and your parents move the medicine bottles and other supplies to a place where your brother cannot' get into them. Your parents explain to you brother "It's not OK to inhale 25 tablets of Aspirin in a time period of ninety seconds."


No Heartbeat

No Breathing

Severe Bleeding


Internal Poisoning


For more information on first aid on the internet:
This site will tell you just about everything you wanted to know about: bleeding, breathing, heart, heat and cold emergency's, poisoning, strokes, fractures, eye injures and much, much more. I highly recommend this site for any first aid needs. They did a much better job than I did.
This is a very good site for learning CPR. It's very easy to learn with the animated illustrations.This site also has videos you can download, the history of CPR, and even a test, to test your CPR skills.