Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable death in the United States. In fact, around 40% of deaths from trauma are due to severe blood loss or shock. Therefore, knowing how to apply bleeding control measures can make a significant difference in a person’s chance of survival prior to the arrival of professional emergency responders.
Let’s review how to stop the bleed until professional help arrives.
Immediate Responders Can Make A Difference In Bleeding Emergency Situations
Life-threatening bleeding from trauma can occur in many situations, including a natural disaster, car accident, work-related injury or an act of violence such as during active shooter events or stabbings. Bleeding is severe and life-threatening when blood is gushing, spurting, flowing continuously or if there’s about a half soda can’s worth of blood on the ground or pooling on a surface.
If medical help for an injured person is delayed, bystanders can become immediate responders and possibly help save a life by using the following bleeding control techniques:
Use a manufactured tourniquet from a nearby first aid kit. Bleeding control kits are often placed next to public access AEDs.
Apply direct manual pressure to the bleeding wound using a hemostatic dressing, sterile gauze or any other clean cloth material (e.g. clothing, towel or other absorbent material).
Construct an improvised tourniquet using common materials such as a triangular bandage or clothing and a rigid stick-like object. Note this option should only be used if a manufactured tourniquet isn’t available and direct manual pressure fails to stop life-threatening bleeding of an arm or leg.
Whether you use a tourniquet or direct manual pressure, applying compression to a bleeding vessel is the quickest way to control it and stop the blood flow. This, in turn, can reduce the life-threatening effects of further blood loss.
Take a bleeding control training course
In honor of STOP THE BLEED® Day (May 19), we encourage our community to refresh their bleeding control knowledge and share this lifesaving information with family and friends.
Using grassroots efforts, you can join this national awareness campaign and distribute helpful information with the intention of training the general public to respond to severe bleeding until first responders can arrive on scene.
For more information and to find out how well your organization is prepared for an active violence situation or bleeding emergency, take our readiness survey.