Bystanders Can Be Heroes: Learn How to Stop Bleeding

None of us think we’ll ever be in a situation when we have to save someone’s life by stopping blood loss. We hope we won’t, at least.

It can be an automobile accident, a gash from cooking or using power tools, or sadly, a mass shooting. Injuries that puncture the skin can be deadliest not from the injury itself – but from the blood loss that occurs as a result. And when an injury like this occurs, sitting back and waiting for emergency personnel can be more deadly than stepping in to help.

Seconds count during a severe bleeding event. In fact, a person who is bleeding can die from blood loss in less than five minutes.

class teaches how to stop bleedingExcessive bleeding is responsible for nearly 35 percent of pre-hospital deaths and 40 percent of deaths in the first 24 hours of a traumatic event, according to the National Trauma Institute. And when a traumatic event like a vehicle crash, fall, bombing, or mass shooting occurs, bystanders can be the first to step in while emergency medical services (EMS) are en route to the scene.

The devastating shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 1, 2017 was a prime example of bystanders becoming medics – and preventing more fatalities. Strangers used belts as makeshift tourniquets to stanch bleeding, and others drove the wounded to hospitals in the back seats of cars and the beds of pickup trucks. What the Las Vegas shooting showed, trauma experts said, is that blossoming efforts to teach the public to help the wounded in mass casualty emergencies should be expanded.

That’s exactly what Firelands Regional Medical Center is attempting to do by offering Stop the Bleed classes throughout 2018.

“In traumatic events, how many victims could be saved by bystanders who are educated about what to do?” said Marisa Munafo, BSN, RN, education specialist at Firelands Regional Medical Center. “Most traumatic deaths come from blood loss, because people can bleed out in only a few minutes. If more bystanders are confident about how to help before EMS arrives, more lives can be saved.”

Marisa herself was recently in a situation that required knowledge from Stop the Bleed. While driving down a highway, Marisa witnessed a collision between a semi and another vehicle that resulted in the semi overturning on the highway. She frantically pulled her car over, raced to the driver’s side door of the semi, and as soon as she could get access to him, saw that he was bleeding from the forehead.

“I could see the gash on his head, and I kept thinking ‘I need to apply pressure,’” said Marisa. As others stood back watching, recording the action on their smartphones, Marisa jumped in to apply pressure and stop the man’s bleeding.

how to stop bleeding

This is one example of a moment you could have the opportunity to save someone’s life – an opportunity you would never expect, but you can easily prepare for.

The hour-long Stop the Bleed class teaches the average person how to identify situations when pressure, packing, or a tourniquet is needed, and how to apply one of those three methods. The class includes insights and education from real emergency personnel, followed by real training utilizing a manikin, real tourniquet, and other makeshift limbs with gauze for packing.

“Participants can learn not only how and where to apply a tourniquet, but also gets hands on practice packing and applying pressure to open wounds on a manikin,” said Marisa.

After the class, participants can purchase Stop the Bleed kits which include a tourniquet to keep in their vehicles or homes for emergencies, should they happen. You don’t have to have a medical background to save someone’s life in an emergency. All you need is the knowledge, training, and empowerment to act when needed. That’s what Stop the Bleed classes provide.

If you would like to participate in a Stop the Bleed class, or would like a Stop the Bleed class taught at your organization, school, or business, call 419-557-6740.

Upcoming Stop the Bleed Classes

Cost: $15 per person
Location: Firelands Regional Medical Center South Campus, 1912 Hayes Ave., Sandusky, in the Education Room
Dates: Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 14, Dec. 12
Optional supplies, including tourniquets, will be available for purchase.

Register here.