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EMT Trauma Assessment Steps.

Scene Size-Up

Scene Safety
Number of Patients
Mechanism of Injury
Additional Resources on Standby
C-Spine Stabil­ization

Initial Assessment

General Impres­sion:
What do you see? (Verba­lize)

Level of Consci­ous­ness:
If the patient is Alert ask his/her Name, Current Place, Time/Date, and What happened to determine the level of consci­ous­ness. If the patient can answer all 4 questions, he/she is Alert and Oriented times 4.

If the patient is not Alert and Oriented, does the patient respond to Verbal or Painful stimuli? Or is the patient unresp­onsive?

Apparent Life Threats:
Look for apparent life threats like massive bleeding, chest wounds, etc.

Open and assess the Airway. Suction any secretions if necessary.

+ Assess Breathing.
+ Check for Adequate Ventil­ation.
+ Blood Oxygen Saturation (Has to be above 94%).
+ Manage injuries, wounds that can compromise breath­ing­/ve­nti­lation.

+ Check pulse (Rate and Quality).
+ Check skin (Color, Temp, Condit­ion).
+ Do a blood sweep and manage any major bleeds.

Treat for Shock and Transport:
Treat the patient for shock and transport.


Take / direct the assistant to take a set of baseline vital signs.

Try to obtain inform­ation about patient's history from the patient or someone who knows the patient.

Onset: When did this start?
Provoc­ation: What makes it better or worse?
Quality: Can you describe the pain?
Radiation: Does the pain radiate to other parts of the body?
Severity: On a scale of 1-10, how severe is the pain?
Time: How long has this been going on?

Signs and Symptoms: What can you see? What is the patient compla­ining about?
Allergies: Does the patient have any allergies?
Medica­tion: Does the patient take any type of medica­tions?
Past Medical History: Has this or something similar happened before?
Last Oral Intake: What did you eat or drink last? And when?
Events: What were you doing when this happened?

Secondary Assessment

Assess the affected body part or system extens­ively.

Perform Head to Toe assess­ment:
Perform the head to toe assess­ment. Look for DCAP-BTLS (Verba­lize).

<DC­AP-BTLS = Deform­ities, Contus­ions, Abrasions, Penetr­ations, Burns, Tender­ness, Lacera­tions, Swelli­ng.>

+ Inspect the head.
+ Palpate the skull.
+ Assess eyes for reacti­veness.

+ Inspect position of trachea.
+ Inspect jugular veins.
+ Palpate cervical spine.

+ Inspect chest.
+ Palpate chest.
+ Auscultate chest.

Abdomen & Pelvis:
+ Inspect abdomen.
+ Palpate abdomen.
+ Assess pelvis.

Upper Extrem­ities:
+ Inspect, palpate, and assess motor, sensory, and distal circul­atory functions.

Lower Extrem­ities:
+ Inspect, palpate, and assess motor, sensory, and distal circul­atory functions.

Posterior Thorax, Lumbar, and Buttocks:
+ Inspect posterior thorax.
+ Palpate posterior thorax.

Manage secondary injuries and wounds approp­ria­tely.


+ Airway
+ Breathing
+ Circul­ation
+ Vital signs
+ Interv­entions (Bandages, Splints, etc.)

If the patient is stable: Reassess every 15 mins.
If the patient is unstable: Reassess every 5 mins.


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