May 19 marks National Stop the Bleed Day, and it’s a great time to get the word out about how anybody can help save a life by learning a simple skill.
Uncontrolled bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death from trauma, and it can happen in a car crash or a household accident, like tripping and falling through a glass tabletop.
A person can bleed to death in a few minutes, often before first responders arrive.
TaTaka Perry-Johnson, trauma program educator at University Health, said a person nearby who has this simple training can mean the difference between life and death.
The greater the number of people who know how to control bleeding in an injured patient, the greater the chances of surviving that injury.
Perry-Johnson said to follow the ABCs of bleeding:
- A=Alert: Call 9-1-1.
- B=Bleeding: Find the source of the bleeding and determine if it is life-threatening.
- C=Compress: 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.
- Using a tourniquet (recommended), belt or rope.
- Packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.
Perry-Johnson said anyone can learn the simple techniques to help stop traumatic bleeding. It’s a short course that takes about an hour, and even young children can participate in classes.
Participants will go through skills training with an instructor. Students will then be asked to demonstrate wound packing and tourniquet placement.
Stop the Bleed kits are also affordable and easy to put together, Perry-Johnson said.