Stop The Bleed

Launched in October of 2015 by the White House, Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that 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 can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care. According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 46.

The American Heart Association and Red Cross have revised guidelines to stress the importance of stopping severe bleeding as a critical first aid skill. Similar to the use of CPR and automatic defibrillators, improving public awareness about how to stop severe bleeding and expanding personal and public access to Stop Bleeding Kits can be the difference between life and death for an injured individual.

Just as there are AEDs and fire extinguishers in place, the hope is to see Stop Bleeding Kits next to AEDs, in schools, office buildings, shopping malls, train stations and all appropriate locations. (See below.)  Below is an excerpt from the Hartford Consensus from which Stop the Bleed was born. It indicates specific locations where bags/kits should be implemented, contains a description of what contents should be included, and lists who should have them:

Building equipment capabilities

Immediate responders need to recognize that applying pressure to a bleeding vessel is the appropriate first action to take and that their hands are a first-line resource. In most cases, control of external hemorrhage can be accomplished by applying direct pressure on the bleeding vessel.

Hemostatic dressings and tourniquets may be needed to effectively stop bleeding. For this reason, the Hartford Consensus recommends that all police officers and any concerned citizens carry a hemostatic dressing, a tourniquet, and gloves. This guideline should also apply to all EMS/fire/rescue personnel. Ground and air medical transport vehicles should carry multiple dressings and tourniquets based upon local need. In addition, bleeding control bags should be accessible in public places as determined by a local needs assessment. Potential sites for bleeding control bags include shopping malls, museums, hospitals, schools, theaters, sports venues, transportation centers (such as airports, bus depots, and train stations), and facilities with limited or delayed access. All hemostatic dressings and tourniquets must be clinically effective as documented by valid scientific data. The Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines for the U.S. military contain objective evidence to support the safety and efficacy of the various options for tourniquets and hemostatic dressings. Contents of the bleeding control bags should include the following:

Placement of bleeding control bags should be as follows:

  • Next to all automatic external defibrillators based on local need
  • Immediately recognizable visually or via a web application
  • Secure but accessible locations
  • Able to be used within three minutes