Broken Bones, Sprains & Strains

Broken Bones, Sprains and Strains


Injuries During a Disaster

Dealing with broken bones, sprains, and strains during a disaster situation can be daunting, difficult, and downright scary. Remaining calm and being prepared to deal with more serious injuries than cuts, scrapes, and bruises can make the difference in a disaster situation.


Broken Bones

If you suspect that someone has a broken bone, try to get medical help as soon as possible. In the meantime, follow these tips:

  • Do not try to move the person unless it is absolutely necessary in order to prevent any further injuries. Moving someone who is already injured can exacerbate the injury.
  • If the bone has pierced the skin and there is bleeding, stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a sterile bandage (from your disaster supply first aid kit), or a clean cloth or piece of clean clothing.
  • Try to immobilize the area around the injury. Don’t try to move it, straighten it, re-align it or anything else. Apply a splint to the area if possible, and remember that if you add a little padding to the splint it will be much more comfortable for the injured person.
  • Ice packs can help to keep the swelling at bay. However, don’t put a cold pack directly onto a skin. Wrap it in a cloth or towel and then apply the pack onto the area.
  • If the person has gone into shock (if they’re feeling faint, short of breath, etc.), lay them down with their head a little lower than their torso and elevate the legs.


Sprains & Strains

Sprains and strains happen most commonly to the knees and ankles and are very common injuries that occur during an emergency situation. Generally speaking, the more swelling that is present, the more serious the injury. In case of a sprain or strain, remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Rest: Make sure to rest the injured limb. Do not put any undue pressure on the injury.
  • Ice: Ice can help to limit swelling and reduce pain. If you can get hold of an ice pack or ice, wrap it in a clean towel or cloth and then get it onto the injured area as soon as possible.
  • Compression: Compressing the area with an elastic bandage can help to reduce swelling and stabilize the strain or sprain.
  • Elevation: Elevating the injured limb as much as possible can help to limit the amount of swelling in the area. Make sure that the injured limb is higher than the patient’s heart for maximum effect.