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Outdoor First Aid

First-Aid Manual: Fractured Arm

Learn how to improvise a splint with common backpacking gear.

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Wrap soft padding–such as a T-shirt, fleece, or socks–gently around the arm.

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Place a rigid support under the injury–a SAM splint, folded section of a foam sleeping pad, or stick. Make sure it’s long enough to support the patient’s hand. Place a rolled-up sock or bandanna in her palm.

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Wrap an ACE bandage around the rigid support and arm, going from hand to elbow. Second choice: Bind the rigid support to the arm with bandannas at the hand and above and below the fracture site.

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Place the patient’s arm in a sling. Simply pull her shirt up and over the arm and pin in place with safety pins.

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Wrap a soft cloth around the sling and the patient’s torso to make a swathe. Check her fingers for circulation and sensation. Loosen the splint if necessary.