Blog - Building Beginnings

First aid 1840s-style

fire in grateThese ‘hints for emergencies’ were found in a book of newspaper cuttings compiled in 1842. They not only reveal the recommended responses to dealing with fire and drowning, but also provide an interesting glimpse into the materials apparently at hand in an early Victorian household.

Disclaimer: This is not current first aid advice.

Fire in houses:

‘Should a fire break out in any chimney, a blanket wetted should be nailed to the upper ends of the mantelpiece so as to cover the opening entirely. A solution of pearl-ash in water thrown upon a fire extinguishes it instantly; the proportion is a quarter of a pound dissolved in hot water and then poured into a bucket of common water.’

‘If the house is on fire and you have to pass through the flames and smoke, pull off any loose cotton clothes, and put on stays, flannel or any close-fitting garments.’

bucketChimney fire:

‘A chimney on fire may be immediately put out by casting on the fire in the grate a few small pieces of roll brimstone.’

To restore a person apparently drowned:

‘Send quickly for medical assistance. Cautions:

1. Lose no time.

2. Avoid all rough usage.

3. Never hold up the body by the feet.

4. Nor roll the body on casks.

5. Nor rub the body with salt or spirits.

6. Nor inject tobacco smoke or infusion of tobacco.’

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