dressing, and transporting the victim to a medical treatment facility.
Figure 4-74.Moving a victim away from an electrical line.
Before treatment is started, ensure that the victim is no longer in contact with a live electrical source. Shut the power off or use a nonconducting rope or stick to move the victim away from the line or the line away from the victim (fig. 4-74).
When acids, alkalies, or other chemicals come in contact with the skin or other body membranes, they may cause injuries that are generally referred to as chemical burns. For the most part, these injuries are not caused by heat but by direct chemical destruction of body tissues. Areas most often affected are the extremities, mouth, and eyes. Alkali burns are usually more serious than acid burns, because alkalies penetrate deeper and burn longer.
When such burns occur, the following emergency procedures must be carried out immediately:
1. Quickly flush the area with large amounts of water, using a shower or hose, if available. Do not apply water too forcefully. Continue to flood the area while the clothing, including shoes and socks, is being removed, as well as afterwards. NOTE: There are two exceptions to the above. In alkali burns caused by dry lime, the mixing of water and lime creates a very corrosive substance. Dry lime should be brushed away from the skin and clothing, unless large amounts of water are available for rapid and complete flushing. In acid burns caused by phenol (carbolic acid), wash the affected area with alcohol because phenol is not water soluble; then wash with water. If alcohol is not available, flushing with water is better than no treatment at all.
2. After thorough washing, neutralize any chemical remaining on the affected area. WARNING: DO NOT attempt to neutralize a chemical unless you know exactly what it is and what substance will neutralize it. Further damage may be done by a neutralizing agent that is too strong or incorrect. For acid burns make a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a pint of water and flush it over the affected area. For alkali burns mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a pint of water and flush it over the affected area.
3. Flush the area again with water and gently pat dry with a sterile gauze. Do not rub the area.
4. Transport the victim to a medical treatment facility.
The one and only emergency treatment is to flush the eye(s) immediately with large amounts of water or a sterile saline solution. Acid burns to the eyes should be irrigated for at least 5 to 10 minutes with at least 2000 ml of water. Alkali burns should be irrigated for at least 20 minutes. Because of the intense pain, the victim may be unable to open the eyes. If this occurs, hold the eyelids apart so that water can flow across the eye.
A drinking fountain or field water buffalo may be used to supply a steady stream of water. Hold the victims head in a position that allows water to flow from the inside corner of the eye toward the outside. Do not allow the water to fall directly on the eye, not use greater force than is necessary to keep the water flowing across the eye.
CAUTION: Never use any chemical antidotes such as baking soda or alcohol in treating burns of the eye and do not try to neutralize chemical agents.