Bystanders or zero responders will always be first on the scene of an accident or incident and, no matter how fast the emergency services arrive, it’s the bystander who becomes the first responder.
This simply means that the more people trained in stopping a bleed, the more lives that can be saved. Calls are now being made to increase training and awareness of the three simple actions you can immediately take in the event of a severe bleed.
We like to use our ABC guide as a quick and easy way to remember what to do when confronted with a severe emergency. It’s important to try and stay calm, and take these initial steps:
A stands for Alert: Firstly, call for help - don’t ever assume somebody else has alerted first responders.
It’s up to you to either call or clearly direct someone else to call for help. Be clear as possible regarding your location. This is especially important if you’re calling from a cell phone as it’s very possible that first responders won’t see your location. Letting the dispatcher know your precise location will assist in getting responders to the patient faster, and save precious time when every second counts.
B stands for Bleeding: Identify the injury.
Look for the sight of life threatening bleeding, as the location of the bleed will guide you in what method you can use to control the bleed. If necessary, open or remove clothing so you can see the wound. Don’t forget areas that are in contact with the ground. Once the wound is located, quickly determine if the bleeding is truly life threatening.
Examples of life threatening bleeding:
You then need to make a quick and decisive decision, since every second counts. Keeping blood inside the body not only delivers oxygen and nutrients around the body but helps the body heal itself through clotting and maintaining body temperature to prevent hypothermia.
C stands for Compression – Apply pressure to stop further blood loss.
To stop bleeding quickly we need to stop the flow, and this is done by applying pressure. Simple direct pressure with a gloved finger is usually highly effective. At times, other techniques will be appropriate and these include tourniquets and wound packing.
Remember, as an immediate responder and giving aid to an injured person, your safety is paramount. If you get injured, you will add to the problem not the solution. These situations are overwhelming but these ABCs are an easy way to remember basic principles of what to do when faced with severe emergencies.
For more information, check out our Education Hub on the link below which features our educational videos, featuring short ‘How To’ guides that take you through various methods of bleed control.