Turning Bystanders Into Life-Savers

Tourniquet

After a traumatic event, the fate of a person suffering from severe blood loss often will be determined before professional medical help arrives. It is critical for the public to know how to stop the bleeding.

With that in mind, the White House launched a national campaign called “Stop the Bleed” in 2015. The program is designed to turn bystanders into life-savers. University of Missouri Health Care’s Injury Prevention and Trauma Services team holds free “Stop the Bleed” training sessions that focus on the ABCs of a bleeding event.

A — Alert: Call 9-1-1.

B — Bleeding: Locate the bleeding injury.

C — Compress: Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Here is a more detailed look at how to systematically deal with a traumatic injury.

ALERT

  • Call 911 yourself.
  • Tell someone else to call 911.
  • Ensure that you are safe before offering help.
  • Provide care on the scene if it is safe.
  • If the scene becomes unsafe, attempt to move yourself and the victim (if possible) to a safe location.
  • Protect yourself from blood-borne infections with gloves if available.

BLEEDING

  • Find the source of bleeding.
  • Open or remove clothing to clearly see the wound.
  • Identify signs of life-threatening bleeding, such as:
    • Blood that is spurting out of a wound.
    • Blood that won’t stop coming out of wound.
    • Blood pooling on the ground.
    • Clothing/bandages that are soaked with blood.
    • Loss of any part of an arm or leg.
    • Bleeding victim that is confused or unconscious.

COMPRESS

If you don’t have a trauma first aid kit, take the following steps:

  • Apply direct pressure on the wound by covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands.
  • If the wound is large and deep, try to stuff the cloth down into the wound.
  • Push down on top of the bleeding wound with both hands as hard as you can.
  • Continue pressure until relieved by medical responders.

If you have a trauma first aid kit, take the following steps:

  • For life-threatening bleeding from an arm or leg when a tourniquet is not available or for bleeding from the neck, shoulder or groin:
    • Pack the wound with a bleeding-control gauze, plain gauze or a clean cloth and then apply pressure with both hands.
    • Push down on top of the bleeding wound with both hands as hard as you can.
    • Continue pressure until relieved by medical responders.
  • For life-threatening bleeding from an arm or leg and a tourniquet is available:
    • Apply the tourniquet.
    • Wrap the tourniquet around the bleeding arm or leg about 2 to 3 inches above the bleeding site (be sure NOT to place the tourniquet onto a joint — go above the joint if necessary).
    • Pull the free end of the tourniquet to make it as tight as possible and secure the free end.
    • Twist or wind the windlass until bleeding stops.
    • Secure the windlass to keep the tourniquet tight.
    • Note the time the tourniquet was applied.

To schedule a free Stop the Bleed training class for your company, school or special group contact Kassie Campbell at 573-884-6381 or campbellkr@health.missouri.edu.