Simple secondary survey study sheet

Note to on-line users not in my classes: this is a study sheet. It is not complete instruction in first aid or any of the subjects listed.

I have moved much of it to individual webpages but am leaving this original webpage for previous students to reference.


Rule #1 Don’t make things worse


-don’t aggravate injuries-(don’t move anything you think
might be broken)

-don’t move victim (especially if you suspect a spinal injury) unless you absolutely must

increase danger to victim

-don’t expose others to risk and create more victims

-don’t force first aid on a conscious, sane, sober adult who doesn’t want it (get consent/explain what you are doing and keep getting consent/explaining as you go along)

Times to suspect a spinal injury: (and use a jaw thrust instead of a head tilt, chin lift).

are now at: Times to suspect a spinal injury (symptoms, causes, signs of spinal injury)

causes of fainting

Reasons why a person might become unconscious or semi-conscious

Altered mental status (and possibly a confused or combative state) can be caused by:
SUDDEN Altered mental status, (and possibly a confused or combative state) AKA delirium, which can indicate a life-threatening condition,

are now at:
Causes of fainting, altered mental status, sudden altered mental status, unconsciousness



Arm = brachial

Neck = carotid

Groin = femoral

Wrist = radial


Students in HLTH57E (CPR) should be familiar with everything above this part.


Students in HLTH57A (first aid) and lifeguard training or an enhanced staff first aid class should be familiar with everything.

causes of seizures

is now at: Seizures, causes of and basic care for

Signs and symptoms of a concussion:

are now at:
Concussion signs and symptoms, prevention

Treatment for closed soft tissue injuries

Signs of wound infection

are now at Injuries Quick Facts


To care for a victim of stroke, think FAST .

Face – weakness on one side of the face

Arm – weakness or numbness in one arm

Speech – slurred speech or trouble speaking

ime – Time to summon EMS personnel (call 911) if any of the above are seen

and note the time the signs and symptoms began

If you suspect a stroke:

Ask the person to smile. (Watch their face to see if both sides of their face move the same or if there is drooping or weakness on one side of their face.)

Have them hold up both arms, extended out straight from their body. (Someone who had a stroke might be able to lift both arms up, but not be able to keep both arms at the same height or might not be able to lift both arms up to the same height or might have numbness in one arm.)

Have the person try to repeat something simple you say, example: “The sky is blue.”(Someone who had a stroke might have slurred or distorted speech or trouble speaking or can’t speak at all. They might speak clearly, but say the wrong words.)

If they fail any of these, note the time, call 911 or the local emergency number and tell the dispatcher about the symptoms and what time the symptoms started. (Or tell the dispatcher if the stroke was not witnessed and you do not know when the symptoms started.)


Normal respiration for an adult is 12 to 20 breaths per minute, children ranges with age, from pre-teens at 12 or 15 to 20 to newborns to about six weeks at 30 to 50


Normal pulse

Adult 60 to 100

Child 80 to 150

newborn to about six weeks, 100-160

infant 80 to 120 to possibly 150

an athlete may have a pulse of 50 beats per minute or lower


Normal capillary refill is 2 – 3 seconds (not effective on very cold fingers)

normal body temperature
taken at the mouth is 98.6°F (within a range of 97°F to 99°F )

normal rectal temperature is 99.6°F

normal armpit (axillary) temp is 97.6°F


Levels of consciousness

Person, place, time, event

(their name is the last thing of these they’ll remember).

A person who is oriented to their surroundings and situation should be able to tell you their name, where they are, what time it is (not to the exact hour but at least if it is morning or evening, what month and year it is) and what just happened to them.



Alert: able to respond appropriately to questions (including person, place, time and event)

Verbal: Responds appropriately to verbal stimuli when you speak or shout

Painful: Only responds to painful stimuli, such as a pinch

Unresponsive: Does not respond; no gag or cough reflex

a response could include grimacing, rolling away from your voice, moaning

Your palm (or another source says palm and fingers) is approximately 1% of your body surface, use this to estimate extent of burns


Sierra Club wilderness first aid
rule of fours

you can live 4 minutes without oxygen,
4 hours without shelter,
4 days without water,
4 weeks without food
(but that may be the limit of any reasonable expectation of survival)


Simple secondary survey , (also known as a secondary assessment) has been moved to:
first aid Secondary Assessment


Next, a brief lesson in electricity.

When you plug an appliance into a wall outlet and turn it on, it does not use up all the electricity coming to it. The electricity returns into the wall outlet. A special type of outlet, a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), constantly monitors the returning current. If the current does not return because it goes to ground… (for example through you or other people), because you:

put a boom box on a starting block next to a swimming pool and it falls in, then sending the electricity into the pool water and the aqua aerobics class members


work out in the rain with a power tool that has a frayed wire and the wet ‘hot’ wire sends the electricity into you


don’t have a long enough ‘suitable for use with outdoor appliances’ extension cord, so you string together a few that are not labeled for outdoor use, and not suitable for the distance/wattage of the mega-bright decorating lights you want to use, and the cord comes in contact with puddles and sends electricity into the water/people

… the GFI can prevent electrical shock by noticing the difference in the current and shutting off the current to the appliance/power tool (in as little as one-thirtieth of a second!).

ground fault interrupter: ground fault interrupter safety outlet Please note that GFIs can be damaged by lightning or other electrical surges and need to be tested regularly. Since they might not always be functional, putting that boom box/radio/hairdryer where it can fall in the swimming pool/spa/hot tub/bathtub/kitchen sink full of water is never a good idea.




See also:

What the AED says as you use it

CPR quick facts

AED quick facts

How to pass a Red Cross written test

Why did they change CPR?

Bloodborne Pathogens quick facts

fast, basic neurological exam

Oxygen administration quick facts

cultural issues in first aid

wilderness first aid outline

injuries quick facts