No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss.
Remember to be aware of your surroundings and move yourself and the injured person to safety, if necessary.
Always call 911 in an emergency first.
You may be able to save a life by taking simple actions immediately. Here are three steps you can take to help save a life:
If you do have a trauma first aid kit:
For life-threatening bleeding from an arm or leg and a tourniquet is NOT available OR for bleeding from the neck, shoulder or groin:
1. Open the clothing over the bleeding wound.
2. Wipe away any pooled blood.
3. Pack (stuff) the wound with bleeding control gauze (preferred), plain gauze, or clean cloth.
4. Apply steady pressure with both hands directly on top of the bleeding wound.
5. Push down as hard as you can.
6. Hold pressure to stop bleeding. Continue pressure until relieved by medical responders.
If you do not have a first aid kit:
1. Take any clean cloth and cover the wound.
2. If the wound is large and deep, try to "stuff" the cloth down into the wound.
3. Apply continuous pressure with both hands directly on top of the bleeding wound.
4. Push down as hard as you can.
5. Hold pressure to stop bleeding. Continue pressure until relieved by medical responders.
Apply the tourniquet
1. 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)
2. Pull the free end of the tourniquet to make it as tight as possible and secure the free end.
3. Twist or wind the windlass until bleeding stops.
4. Secure the windlass to keep the tourniquet tight.
5. Note the time the tourniquet was applied.
Note: A tourniquet will cause pain but it is necessary to stop life threatening bleeding.