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First Aid

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Splints are sometimes used to protect wounds from further injury, or to support or immobilise limbs. If medical aid is not far away, it is better to use bulky clothing to provide support. In remote areas where help is likely to be delayed, splinting may be essential.

An improvised splint can be made from a rolled newspaper, or any other firm or rigid article of suitable size. It is possible to use an uninjured leg as a splint by bandaging the injured leg to it: this method of splinting is used for a fractured thigh bone or lower leg. An injured arm can be splinted against the casualty's trunk or supported in a sling.


  • Move the injured limb as little as possible while applying the splint.
  • Make the splint rigid and long enough to extend beyond the joints on either side of the fracture.
  • check the casualty's fingernails or toes (depending on the position of the splint) for change of colour every 15 minutes to ensure that blood circulation is not being restricted.

First aid treatment

  1. Pad the splint well, using cloth, bandages, newspaper, or whatever is at hand (maybe, on a farm, grain sacks from the back of the truck, or a horse blanket). Use extra padding between the splint and the natural hollows and prominent bones, such as those at ankles and wrists.
  2. Firmly bind the splint to the limb in several places, using bandages or strips of cloth. Do not bandage directly over a fracture: place bandages above and below the injury.

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