Stop the Bleed: Learn How You Can Save a Life

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Stop the Bleed graphic (hand in stop sign)

A person can die from severe uncontrolled bleeding in as little as five minutes.

Often times, when a traumatic bleeding emergency occurs, the first person on scene is a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker or bystander.

Here are some simple steps and effective bleeding control techniques that could preserve someone’s life until our firefighters/paramedics arrive.

First call 9-1-1 to get Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units on the way. The sooner you call 9-1-1, the faster professional help will arrive .

Be sure the area is safe before you decide to help. Your safety is the number one priority. You cannot help someone if you get injured.

1. Apply Pressure With Hands

Expose the area that is bleeding. Apply firm and steady pressure with your hands . This will still help to slow or stop the bleeding.

Stop the Bleed step 1 graphic

2. Apply Dressing and Press

With a cloth or bandage use both hands to apply firm, steady pressure to the area that is bleeding.

Stop the Bleed step 2 graphic

3. Apply Tourniquet(s)

If bleeding has not stopped, and there is one available, apply a commercially made tourniquet at least 2-3 inches above the injured area and tighten.

If a commercially made tourniquet is not available, be very cautious in attempting to make an improvised tourniquet . Thin items such as phone chargers, extension cords, shoelaces and ropes are too narrow to be used as a tourniquet and can cause severe damage to the nerves of the injured limb.

Place a second tourniquet above and next to the first tourniquet. A tourniquet will not work if placed on top of a knee or elbow so be sure to avoid these areas.

Stop the Bleed step 3 graphic


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