Lifting Techniques for First Aiders

The use of proper lifting techniques in first aid is essential to avoid back and knee injuries.

Utilizing the general principles in lifting also helps maintain your balance and prevent falls that could further cause injury to the victim and rescuer.


There are different lifting techniques that are used when providing first aid. Choosing the right lifting technique to use is important to ensure safety of both the victim and the first aider. There are some things to remember when lifting a patient. You should:

  1. Think through the move before initiating it. Know what you will do and how to avoid possible difficulties.
  2. Do not attempt to move or lift someone if you think you cannot physically handle and control the weight.
  3. Always keep your balance and start the move from a balanced position. The loss of balance can lead to serious injuries to both the patient and the victim.
  4. Make sure to establish a good, firm footing that you can maintain throughout the move or lift.
  5. Carry the weight with your leg muscles, not your back. Bend to your knees while keeping the other foot slightly in front. Make certain your back is straight as you lift your legs.
  6. Be aware of your breathing. Make sure you do not hold your breath while lifting or carrying.
  7. If possible, always keep your back straight whenlifting or carrying the victim.

Types of moves

There are different types of lifting techniques that can be used in specific situations. None of these lifting techniques actually protect the victim’s spine or fractured bone unless the injured site has been properly splinted or immobilized. In any emergency move, you will need to use the most efficient lifting method for the limited time you have to move the victim. Here are some of the most common lifting techniques and when they should be used:

  • One-Rescuer Moves
    • One-Rescuer Assist –victim is conscious and can walk with assistance
    • Piggyback Carry – victim is conscious, can stand, and has no fracture of extremities
    • Fireman’s Carry – victim is conscious, with or without facture of extremities
    • Cradle Carry – victim is either conscious or unconscious
    • Pack-Strap Carry – victim is conscious and without fracture of extremities
    • One-rescuer drags – victim is either conscious or unconscious without any fracture; use of blanket offers additional support for the body
  • Two-Rescuer Moves
    • Two-Rescuer Assist – victim is conscious and can walk with Lifting Techniques for First Aidersassistance
    • Extremity Carry – victim is either conscious or unconscious without any fracture of extremity
    • Fireman’s Carry with Assist – victim is conscious or unconscious without any facture in the body
  • Three-Rescuer Moves
    • Three-Rescuer Carry – victim is either conscious or unconscious without any fractures.

These lifting techniques can be used for emergency and non-emergency moves. Although two- or three-rescuer moves ensure added safety, it should be used only when there is enough manpower to provide first aid for all victims. Moreover, when using two- or three-rescuer carries, the first aiders should be well coordinated, with one standing as leader.

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