May is Stop the Bleed Month
Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained and empowered to take action in a bleeding emergency. A person can die from blood loss within five minutes, meaning those nearest to the life-threatening injury are the most crucial in providing care and, ultimately, saving a life.
How to Stop the Bleed
Heavy bleeding interferes with the body’s natural clotting process. If a person is bleeding heavily, call 911 immediately and take action to help save their life. Wear gloves and goggles when providing care to protect yourself. If you don’t have access to gloves, use plastic bags or anything that will create a watertight barrier between you and the bleeding wound.
Apply pressure with your hands
Expose the wound and apply firm, direct pressure. You may also have the wounded person apply pressure with his own hands.
Apply a dressing and press
Expose the wound and apply firm, direct pressure with sterile gauze or the cleanest cloth available. Add dressings as they become soaked with blood. DO NOT remove the soaked dressings.
Apply a tourniquet
If the bleeding cannot be controlled by applying direct pressure, place a tourniquet at least 2 inches above the injury, but not over a joint. Do not remove the tourniquet once it has been applied. Record the time and tell EMS responders what time the tourniquet was applied.
Be Prepared to Respond to a Bleeding Emergency
Life-threatening bleeding can occur from emergencies such as vehicle crashes, incidents involving occupational hazards, accidental injuries from natural disasters, and intentional injuries from mass casualty events. Many businesses and communities are adding Bleeding Control Kits to public access points to help prepare for the unexpected. These kits include easy-to-use life-saving tools that even untrained bystanders are able to use.
We encourage everyone to get trained, so you feel prepared to assist in a bleeding emergency. EMS Safety’s First Aid program provides First Aid training for community responders, including bleeding control and other related medical emergencies such as responding to shock and traumatic injuries. Find an Instructor near you to get certified in First Aid.