Boost your emergency preparedness with the 20 mnemonics below.
Wait! You don’t know what a mnemonic is? It’s a tool that helps us remember certain facts or large amounts of information. They can come in the form of a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence.
Remember “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”?
Mnemonics help us remember facts and are particularly useful when the order of things is important.
1 – Treating shock
“Face is red, raise the head; face is pale, raise the tail.”
2 – Warning signs of a stroke
Face – One side of smile droops.
Arms – Do they have equal strength?
Speech – Is it slurred?
Time – If you observe these, get them to a hospital quick.
3 – Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
“Hot and dry, sugar high; cold and clammy, need some candy.”
4 – Dehydration
If you’re drinking enough water, your urine should be “Clear and Copious.”
5 – Poisonous plants
“Leaves of three, let it be.” Also, for the non-leafed seasons of the year, “Don’t touch the hairy vines!”
6 – Treating diarrhea
Switch to the BRAT or BRATTY diet:
Some like to add T and Y to get BRATTY:
7 – Using a fire extinguisher
Cool things off with the PASS technique:
Pull the pin
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the trigger
Sweep across the fire
8 – Proper winter camping attire
Stay warm, but not too warm, by getting COLD:
Clean – dirty clothes lose their loft and get you cold.
Overheat – never get sweaty; strip off layers to stay warm but not too hot.
Layers – dress in synthetic layers for easy temperature control.
Dry – wet clothes (and sleeping bags) also lose their insulation.
9 – Diagnosing hypothermia
Look for the “umble” family. Does the person fumble, mumble, stumble, and grumble?
10 – Identifying poisonous snakes
Looking at the color of bands works for some varieties of snakes. Remember “red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, friend of Jack.”
12 – When you’re on fire
Just as we learned as kids: “stop, drop, and roll.”
13 – The ABCs of CPR
ABC in its original form stood for “Airway, Breathing, Circulation.”
Nearly all groups still use ABC in some form, but others add D for defibrillation using an AED.
14 – Determining a person’s medical history
This one is usually for the pros, but when interviewing a patient, take a SAMPLE:
Signs and Symptoms
Past medical history
Last oral intake
Events leading up to the injury and/or illness
15 – Signs of a fracture
Loss of function
Irregularities on the bone surface, such as depressions or lumps
Crepitus, a sound similar to scrunching a bag of frozen peas heard/felt when the two ends of a broken bone grate together
16 – Saving someone from drowning
“Reach, throw, row, go.” But others suggest starting with “talk.” “Always try to talk them back first.”
17 – Conditions that could cause unconsciousness
They’re summarized in the longest mnemonic of the article: FISH SHAPED.
19 – How to treat a sprained ankle or other body part
Rest the injured area. Ice the sprain. Compress with wrap or bandage. Elevate the injured area.
20 – An essential rule of camping
“Dark sky at night, you’re up too late; Dark sky in the morning, you are up too early.”