The techniques of evacuation are proven techniques. They are, however, all subject to improvement and should be discarded or modified as better methods of handling victims are developed.

a. When evacuating a victim from mountainous areas keep in mind that the purpose of a rescue operation is to save a life, and physical risk to the rescuers must be weighed against this purpose. However, there is no excuse for failing to make the maximum effort within this limitation. Work and expense should be no deterrent when a life is at stake.

b. Rescues will be unplanned (improvised) or planned rescue operations. For a planned rescue, equipment that is especially suited and designed for rescue should be used. For training missions always have a medical plan developed before an emergency arises (plan for the worst and hope for the best). Ensure that the MEDEVAC plan is a comprehensive plan and must be thought out and understood by all that may be involved in a potential rescue.

c. The following actions will be done immediately at the rescue scene.

(1) Assume command. One person, and one person only, is overall in charge at all times.

(2) Prevent further injuries to the victim and to others. Use reasonable care in reaching the victim.

(3) Immediately ensure the victim has an open airway, resume victim's breathing, control serious bleeding, and maintain moderate body warmth. If the victim is unconscious, continually monitor pulse. Protect the patient from environmental hazards.

(4) Do not move the victim until you have ascertained the extent of injuries, unless it is necessary to prevent further injuries or the victim is located in a dangerous location (for example, avalanche run-out zone, hanging glacier, possibility of falling rocks).

(5) Do nothing more until you have thoroughly considered the situation. Resist the urge for action. Speed is less important than correct action.

(6) Decide whether to evacuate with available facilities or to send for help. Speed in getting to a hospital must be balanced against the probability of further injury if working with inexperienced people, lack of equipment or wrong equipment, and terrain at hand.

(7) When the evacuation route is long and arduous, a series of litter relay points or stations should be established. These stations must be staffed with the minimum medical personnel to provide proper emergency treatment. When a victim develops signs of shock or worsens while being evacuated, he should be treated and retained at one of these stations until his condition allows evacuation.

(8) Helicopters or heated vehicles, if available, should be used for evacuation. While the use of aircraft or vehicles is preferred and can expedite a rescue operation, evacuation of a seriously wounded soldier should never be delayed to await aircraft, vehicle, or a change in weather.

Continue reading here: Planning Rescue Operations

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