Emergency Prep & Outdoor Survival
Unless it’s just a broken toe, there’s nothing minor about breaking bones. There’s not usually any blood, so how do you know if you’re dealing with a break? It’s a broken bone if there’s swelling, stiffness, non-stop pain… or if the bone is poking through the skin.
Here’s what to do if you crack, snap or pop:
- Immobilize the joint (DON’T try to straighten it out).
- Leave a broken foot in the boot until you reach a hospital—this will keep the swelling down and protect the foot during transportation. Pull it out and you’ll wish you hadn’t.
- Splint your broken arm or leg with sticks and strips of cloth to immobilize the limb. Does your buddy have a broken leg? Splint their injured leg for them using this slightly different technique:
- First, place padding between the legs.
- Then bind the broken leg to the working leg to completely immobilize both legs and reduce movement. Use strips of cloth or rope and tie them above and below the injured area—not over the injury.
- If someone in the group has a broken back or neck, DON’T move them—this could worsen the damage. Call for medical help immediately. If they’re in a dangerous spot and MUST be moved, carefully support their head, keep them steady and carry them vertically to a safer location.
- Call for help if you’re unable to move yourself or another injured rider from the woods. A 300 lb. dude with his legs tied together won’t be easy to lift.