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Thread: First aid - helmet removal

  1. #41
    Among the prehospital medicine community there is a common saying: "Just enough knowledge to be dangerous." I think this applies perfectly to bistandards taking helmets off. They think they are doing the right thing and helping but without the proper technique helmet removal can have dire consequences. Even as a paramedic with A LOT of reserch and practice on doing it properly I still get nervous. Here are some general guidelines to follow, however.

    1. Improper breathing is no reason to remove a helmet.
    -Open a face mask, remove a chin strap, but leave that helmet on! Stabilize the head by putting your hands on either side of the victims head and hold their head as still as possible. If the victim has something in their mouth (vomit, saliva, blood, teeth) have someone help you turn the victim, not just their head, to one side so the can clear their airway.
    2. Yelling and cussing from the victim that they can't breathe means they can.
    -If you have enough breath to imply that I fornicate with my mother, you're breathing just fine. Therefore your helmet stays on.
    3. If the helmet comes off save it.
    -The most important thing when a car crash is the shape of the steering wheel. The most important thing when a bike goes down is the condition of the helmet. I, as a medic, want to see it. The doctor will want to see it too. Smashed up helmets tell volumes about the kinetics of a crash.
    4. CPR Rules have changed
    -It used to be ABC, Airway Breathing, Circulation. Overwhelming evidence shows that a persons blood contains enough oxygen for twenty mintues of effective CPR without a single rescue breath. 20 minutes!!! Now the American Heart Association reccomends CAB, Circulation (chest compressions), Airway (clear without any grossness in it), Breathing (rescue breaths). In other words even if a person isn't breathing or has totally ineffective breathing CPR and a clear airway may save their life so open their face mask, take off the chin strap, secure the head and start CPR. Dont worry if you can't do rescue breaths right away.
    5. If in doubt, LEAVE IT ON!
    -Only the most prick paramedic on Earth will judge you for leaving a helmet on when you're not sure if you can remove it safely. If you don't feel like you have the right skills, enough help, or if the helmet feels "stuck" just leave it on and wait for help.
    6. Helmets take up space.
    -Keep in mind that if you do take a helmet off that the persons head, if its resting on the ground, will be a good inch or more above the ground when that helmet comes off. Neutrality is what we want here so once the helmet is off slowly and gently move the head into the neutral position (straight up and down, looking straight forward, not turned in any direction). Also consider that if the victim is wearing armor, especially back armor, that the head may be hyperextended back even though the victim is flat on his back. In that case put something under the victims head to try to maintain neutrality. Removing the victims jacket always seems like like a great idea but as anyone with kids can tell you removing clothes from a limp body is difficult, trying to do it with someone who you're trying not to paralize boarders on impossible.

    None of this is intended to scare anyone away from helping someone who needs it, more as something to keep in mind, just in case. Remember, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and everything will work out just fine.

  2. #42
    Flirting With The Redline Drumr Boy's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    I've heard this information mentioned above about the new CPR rules. Is there a way to have this info updated into the original post so it is accurate?
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  3. #43
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    What's painted on the back of my race helmet?
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  4. #44
    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! atomicalex's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Detroit, MI & Düsseldorf, Germany
    Corvette Club rules are: Name, blood type, allergies, and insurance numbers. Since I periodically tracked with them, all of my helmets have that info. They also have tags that say "Do not remove helmet!" now.

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  5. #45
    RiderCoach 2000 Posts! speeddemon's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    My groovy Shoei x-12 has little red tabs that slip the cheek pads out. This is supposed to make helmet removal easier. But, I still wouldn't want bystanders (or bystandards, as in the original post, love it!) pulling my helmet off.
    '03 Suzuki SV650
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