“Keep the red stuff on the inside.” That’s the idea behind the Stop the Bleed presentation at RiseUP’s First Aid 2.0 teen workshop. Our presenter was John Cousino, a longtime paramedic, Boy Scout troop leader, and associate professor of nursing at Chattanooga State Community College, where he coordinates the respiratory care program.
Unfortunately, people can end up bleeding in a lot of situations—whether a car accident, a mass shooting, or a knife injury in the kitchen. If more people knew how to respond to these situations, many lives could be saved.
1. Safety first.
• Before you try to aid any victim, make sure the scene is safe. That means look for threats to you and the victim, such as broken glass, the victim’s attacker, or whatever hurt the person.
• Always remember, everyone’s first responsibility is themselves. You can’t help someone if you get hurt, so if the scene becomes unsafe, leave and find a safe spot to stay.
2. Use the acronym ABC.
• Alert medical professionals – Call 9-1-1 (or ask someone else to call).
• Bleeding – Find any bleeding injuries.
• Compress – Stop the bleeding by applying pressure.
– Bleeding is life-threatening if there is a lot of blood around—on the person, their clothes, the ground, etc. Chest and abdominal bleeding cannot be stopped outside of a hospital.
– Bleeding from arms and legs (extremities) should not be fatal, if this kind of care is given. Best solution is a tourniquet.
– 3 ways to compress a wound to stop bleeding:
Pressure – Cover the wound with a cloth, then use your hands to press on it—HARD—toward the bone.
Tourniquet – Place above wound, not on joints. Needs to be VERY tight. Two can be used. Never take off a tourniquet. Makeshift tourniquets are NOT as effective. Correctly done, this WILL hurt.
Fill the Wound with Gauze – Use anything you have: first aid kit, clean shirt, etc.
– Press on it directly with the palms of your hands.
– Once the bleeding is controlled, don’t stop doing what you’re doing.
3. It’s important to remember that the measures you take to stop the bleeding are temporary. Follow-up medical care will be necessary.