How To Stop Severe Bleeding In An Emergency

Image: US Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla

When somebody gets a traumatic injury like a gunshot, it's often not the trauma itself that kills them, but blood loss. In honour of yesterday — Stop the Bleed Day — read on for the basics everyone should know.

According to the official Stop the Bleed booklet, the first step is to make sure you're safe (no use in both of you getting hurt) and then use these ABCs:

  • Alert: Call 000, or delegate somebody to call.
  • Bleeding: Find the injury that's bleeding. You may need to cut or remove clothing -- remember, the person would surely rather be pantsless than dead.
  • Compress: Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

If pressing down on the wound doesn't stop the bleeding, this is where it gets (even more) gruesome. For a wound on the head or neck, or for a wound anywhere when no tourniquet is available, pack the wound with sterile gauze. If you don't have any, clean cloth is better than nothing.

Consider keeping a bleeding control kit around so you always have the supplies.

If you do have a tourniquet, use it. There was an era in first-aid training where tourniquets weren't recommended, but times change. Tourniquets are risky, since the person could end up losing a limb if the tourniquet stays on too long.

But a person can die from uncontrolled bleeding, so it's now considered a good practice in a life-or-death situation.

What Everyone Should Know to Stop Bleeding After an Injury [BleedingControl.org]


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