Three Principles to Stop the Bleed
A person with a severe injury can bleed to death in as little as three minutes. If you follow these simple steps it could be the difference between life and death.
Car accidents, equipment malfunction, or falling are common injuries where people suffer significant blood loss. In these accidents, most people die from the blood loss caused by the trauma. In some cases, people could survive had the bystanders known how to properly stop the bleeding.
After tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in 2013, many officials started to formalize and develop a common method for limiting blood loss due to trauma. The Hartford Consensus and the American College of Surgeons created a method called the BCON or Basic Bleeding Control.
Knowing this curriculum is critical to potentially saving someone’s life one day. You never know when you may become a bystander of an accident where you need to act as a first responder and possibly save someone’s life. The process is organized into three simple steps, that when properly implemented, will make anyone a qualified first responder when it comes to treating blood loss.
Your first step is Alert.
Alert means responding quickly and calling or informing the appropriate medical emergency personnel of the accident. The second portion of this step is assessing the injured and locating a bleeding control kit. You’ll be able to start administering life-saving treatment before the paramedics arrive. In some situations, reacting before paramedics reach the scene, can make a big difference.
Your next step is to Control Bleeding.
Start by assessing the injured person. Where is the injury? How much is it bleeding? There are many different medical definitions for injuries. Some common ones are extremity wounds, torso junctional wounds, and chest/abdominal wounds. These are all based on the location of the injury. For example, an extremity wound would be located on an arm or leg. Where the wound is located is critical at this stage because it will help you determine its severity. For example, an extremity wound is much easy to survive compared to a chest/abdominal injury.
The most dangerous type of bleeding is uncontrollable bleeding that is life-threatening to the victim and occurs when an artery is cut. Arteries appear all over the body, so do not discount an extremity injury. This bleeding will appear bright-red and will be spurting out of the wound. Additionally, the victim may be in an altered or confused mental state. After identifying the victim is suffering from life-threatening bleeding you need to act quickly to save their life.
The final and most critical step is Compression.
Blood loss responds to firm compression, and it can increase the chance of a victim surviving. After identifying the source, you need to quickly control it with pressure, packing, and/or a tourniquet application. These methods all depend on where the wound is located. If it is in an extremity, apply the tourniquet to apply pressure quickly. Do not remove it until paramedics arrive, even though it may cause significant pain to the victim.
Pressure and packing involve injuries on the torso or abdomen. You need to apply pressure over the packing covering the wound. Place the packing directly over the injury and put as much pressure as you can over it. Do not remove the packing or stop applying pressure until paramedics arrive.
Your knowledge could save a life.
You never know when you could become a bystander to an accident. Basic life-saving skills in the AVERT program could save someone’s life one day. Most public places have an AED, CPR, or first aid kits that contain bleeding control kits such as a TAC+PAC.
To learn more about AVERT's stop the bleed training click here.
Knowledge can save someone’s life, and know that you have it, you have a responsibility to use it.