Stop the Bleed Makes Anyone a First Responder
The only thing that is more tragic than a death is a death that could have been prevented.
This is the philosophy behind the program Stop the Bleed, which teaches attendees how to lessen the excessive blood flow of someone seriously injured after a knife wound, gunshot, explosion, vehicle accident or any other traumatic situation.
“A person could bleed out and die from an injury in as little as five minutes,” said Erin Beck, RN, MS, CEN, CCRN, clinic nurse educator of Trauma Services at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “Emergency services aren’t usually on scene and may take longer than that to arrive; the first responder could be you.”
With a deep breath — and a little education — you can make the difference in these life-threatening situations.
Here are the primary principles of trauma care first response:
- Ensure your own safety. If there is an active shooter in the area, run away from danger. However, if you come upon a motor accident, ensure you and the victim are safely away from traffic before addressing the individual’s bleeding.
- Remember the ABCs of bleeding:
- A – Alert. Call 911 or have someone call emergency services.
- B – Bleeding. Find the area on the body where the victim is bleeding.
- C – Compression. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding by:
- Covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands; OR
- Using a tourniquet; OR
- Packing the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.
“We have received a lot of interest from people wanting to share this education and have classes within their community,” said Beck, “That includes school officials, Girl and Boy Scout troops and church administrators.”
You can purchase kits online at the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma website. Kits, which start at $69 and come in various sizes, include items such as a tourniquet, gauze, instructional card and a marker to denote the time you wrapped the injury. Many medical supply companies also carry blood control kits.
“Our goal is to have these kits right beside every AED,” said Beck. Avera is currently working to get Stop the Bleed training courses in communities across the Avera system.