Stop the Bleed: Making bleeding control as common as CPR

Sanford Health provides classes, funding toward kits to prepare SD schools

A doctor and nurse wear gloves while demonstrating how to compress a wound to stop bleeding.

Victims of shootings or accidents can quickly die from uncontrolled bleeding — within five to 10 minutes. Learning how to “stop the bleed” can save lives.

In case of an active shooter, explosion, car collision or farming accident causing traumatic bleeding, it’s important to know how to respond. That’s why Sanford Health is offering classes and helping to fund bleeding-control kits.

As of late August, more than 1 million people around the world have been trained to Stop the Bleed, according to the American College of Surgeons. The life-saving program, which turns bystanders into immediate responders, continues its global training efforts as it enters its fourth year.

In South Dakota, where Sanford Health is based, all 877 schools have or will receive a minimum of five kits per school through a Stop the Bleed grant. Sanford Health has given more than $20,000 toward the $202,000 program. Kits for South Dakota’s 200 universities are yet to be funded and will come at an additional cost.

Speakers at a recent Stop the Bleed class at Sanford Health said they’d like to make bleeding-control skills as common as CPR.

Anyone can be a first responder if they learn proper bleeding-control techniques, including how to use their hands, dressing and tourniquets, said Sanford Health surgeon Gary Timmerman, M.D., and injury prevention coordinator Carly Farner-Cordell, MSN, RNBC.

How to Stop the Bleed

First, ensure your own safety. The acronym THREAT is for remembering how to respond to a trauma such as a shooting or intentional mass casualty event:

  • T — Threat: Does the threat still exist?
  • H — Hemorrhage: Assess the bleeding. Is this something that needs to be addressed immediately?
  • RE — Rapid Extrication: Is it safe to get away from the danger?
  • A — Assessment: Assess the situation and make sure help is coming along with making sure you have helped control the bleeding.
  • T — Transport: Make sure transportation is there or coming to get the victim to the hospital.

Then, stop the bleed using the ABCs of bleeding:

  • A — Alert: Call 911 and get some help
  • B — Bleeding: Find the bleeding injury
  • 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, or
    • Using a tourniquet, or
    • Packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands

What’s in a Stop the Bleed kit

South Dakota Stop the Bleed kits are trauma first aid kits that contain:

  • Responder emergency trauma dressing (pressure dressing)
  • Gauze, 5”x 9” pad
  • Compressed gauze (4.5” 4.1 yd)
  • CAT tourniquet
  • Nitrile glove, size large
  • Trauma shears, 7.25”
  • Surgical tape, 2” mini
  • Permanent marker
  • Bleeding control instruction card

Find a Stop the Bleed class near you.

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Posted In Emergency Medicine, Health Information, News

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