These 5 tips can help you save a life
Learning first aid skills is about preparing for the worst, but not everyone knows the simple steps that can be taken to stop someone from dying of blood loss.
Accidents and traumatic incidents happen every day, which is why emergency professionals across the nation are encouraging people to know how to save lives after a traumatic injury.
May is National Stop the Bleed Month, which is part of an initiative aimed at training bystanders to respond to emergencies where patients may die due to blood loss. The program was started by the federal government after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Uncontrolled bleeding can lead to loss of life in as few as three minutes, and techniques to control excessive blood loss aren’t as commonly known and understood as how to fight fire.
“Bleeding out is the number one most preventable death in any type of traumatic injury,” says Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Trauma Nurse Manager and Stop the Bleed trainer Lori Chiappetta. “By securing the bleeding before first responders arrive, bystanders can help stabilize patients and expedite treatment in the emergency room.”
Chiappetta and trainers across the country host and lead classes to teach skills such as packing wounds and applying tourniquets that could apply in a range of situations, including broken bones on the playground and stabilizing serious car accident victims.
“This is a set of skills that are valuable to everyone, even if it seems like an intimidating topic. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, Stop the Bleed can help give you a little more confidence and take the steps you need to take to save a life.”
When confronted with someone who is bleeding out, there are five simple steps to follow:
- Ensure your own safety.
- Follow the ABCs:
- Alert 911. Your efforts can help keep people alive for hours, but only professionals can save them.
- Bleeding – find it and fight it. Remove or tear away clothing anywhere that could be injured.
- Compress – see below:
- Apply a tourniquet, or anything you can tie tightly to a wounded appendage, two to three inches closer to the torso from the bleeding. Continue tightening until the bleeding stops and take note of what time it was applied. A second tourniquet can also be used above the first.
- If you don’t have a tourniquet, apply gauze or cloth in and around the wound, then apply firm, steady pressure to the bleeding site with both hands, if possible.
- Do not remove or reposition your tourniquet or your pressure until you are immediately relieved by another bystander or emergency responder.
About the Author
Nathan Lurz, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. He has nearly a decade of professional news experience as a reporter and editor, and a lifetime of experience as an enthusiastic learner. On the side, he enjoys writing even more, tabletop games, reading, running and explaining that his dog is actually the cutest dog, not yours, sorry.