Bleeding Control Kits
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a call to action and created a national awareness campaign called Stop the Bleed. This initiative is intended to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.
No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding severely can die from blood loss in just a few minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide care until first responders arrive.
Watch the videos below to learn simple, lifesaving techniques to control critical bleeding.
Bleeding Control Videos
Bleeding Control Kits FAQs
Toggle ItemShould I have my own personal kit?
It is impossible to know when or where an emergency will occur, so it’s important to keep emergency kits in several key locations such as at home, at work, and in the car. Each of these kits should include basic first aid materials in addition to necessities such as food and water. For more information visit ready.gov/kit.
Toggle ItemAfter packing a wound or using a chest seal, should I maintain pressure until help arrives?
Chest seals do not require the application of pressure, simply ensure that they are carefully sealed on all sides.
For wounds packed with gauze or a clean cloth, maintain steady and direct pressure until medical personnel arrive.
Toggle ItemHow do I control bleeding for a head or neck wound?
Packing a wound in the head or neck should be avoided since packing wounds in these locations introduces greater risk of brain injury, airway compromise, and paralysis. Instead, gauze should be placed gently on the wound and light pressure should be applied until medical personnel arrive.
If a spinal injury is suspected, do not move the injured individual. Movement may cause additional injury. Take actions to control any bleeding and to treat other injuries, but ensure that the individual’s head, neck, and back don’t move.
Toggle ItemDoes the gauze in the Bleeding Control Kits expire? If so, can expired gauze be used if that’s all that’s available?
The Bleeding Control kits around campus contain medical gauze that does not expire. When using a type of gauze that does expire, such as hemostatic gauze, follow manufacturer directions.
Toggle ItemWhat if I can’t get help for more than a few hours?
Take actions to stop the bleeding and call for help from medical professionals as soon as possible.
Toggle ItemWhat should I do if I need to help someone who has been injured but I feel like I’m going to pass out?
Always ensure your own safety before helping someone else. Try to find out why you feel like you’re going to pass out. Are you injured? Is your body responding to stress, anxiety, or fear? If you are not physically injured, try laying down or sitting with your head between your knees. Hopefully this will help and allow you to assist the injured person. If you are injured and bleeding severely, treat your own wounds before helping anyone else.
Toggle ItemWhat if I’m alone and bleeding?
Most first aid actions can be performed alone if help is not available. Tourniquets and chest seals are both easily applied, but applying pressure on packed gauze may be more difficult. Take actions to stop the bleeding and call for help.
- Gauze – Gauze is extremely useful when managing severe bleeding. Simply cover a wound with gauze and apply pressure. Gauze could also be used to pack wounds located in areas that cannot be treated with a tourniquet, such as the shoulder, hips, or groin. Pack as much gauze as possible into the wound, then apply direct pressure until help arrives. If bleeding continues after several minutes, insert or apply more gauze and continue applying pressure. Do not remove the gauze. If gauze is not available or if you run out, use a clean cloth.
- Gloves – Gloves should be worn the entire time you are in contact with blood to prevent infection and the spread of germs.
- Trauma Shears – Before packing a wound with gauze or applying a tourniquet or chest seal, all clothing covering the wound should be torn or cut away using trauma shears.
- Tourniquets – Each bleeding control kit contains a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) and a Stretch-Wrap-And-Tuck Tourniquet (SWAT-T). Both should be applied at least 2-3 inches above a severe arm or leg wound and tightened until bleeding has stopped. The CAT tourniquet is slightly easier to tighten and may be preferred by users, but the SWAT tourniquet is equally effective and can also be used as a pressure wrap if needed. Document the time the tourniquet was applied and share this information with first responders or medical personnel. Never remove a tourniquet once it has been applied.
- Permanent Marker – This should be used to record the time that a tourniquet was applied. The time can be written directly on the tourniquet.
- Chest Seals – A chest seal should be used when someone has a penetrating chest wound between the neck and naval on the front, side, or back of their chest. Seals don’t stop bleeding inside the chest cavity, but they can prevent air from entering the body through the wound and causing additional damage. To apply a chest seal, clear the affected area of clothing, blood, and fluid, then center the chest seal over the wound and attach it like you would a sticker. Make sure it is carefully sealed on all sides.