What would you do if someone in front of you were bleeding from a wound?
We always hope that a medical professional will be on hand during a crisis, but it’s important to know how to help in case you’re the first person on the scene. Since fatal blood loss can occur within the first five minutes of an injury, trauma victims die of blood loss more frequently than the injury itself. Your actions in those minutes before professional help arrives can save a life.
Here are the steps to stopping blood loss:
- Expose the skin to see where the bleeding is coming from.
- Apply direct and steady pressure to the wound using one or both hands. You can also use clothing to apply pressure.
- If the bleeding continues, use a belt, cloth, or similar device to apply a tourniquet 2-3 inches closer to the torso than the wound location and tighten until the bleeding stops. Apply a second tourniquet if the first does not completely control the bleeding.
- Pressure and tourniquets can be extremely painful for the victim, so provide reassurance and explain why you are taking these steps.
Download the American Red Cross app for more first aid information.