3 minutes to go: supporting Stop the Bleed Month

Three minutes is quick. It’s the amount of time it takes to make a cup of tea, or brush your teeth. Three minutes is minuscule in a 24-hour day, it’s time we don’t even consider. But that’s all it takes to bleed to death.

In fact, there’s no nice way to write it. Traumatic injuries, including bleeding out, take the lives of over 17,000 people every year. And the worst part? So many of these are preventable.

In support of Stop the Bleed Month, and overall awareness of  potentially fatal bleeds, this blog is going to tell you everything you need to know about bleed prevention, in three minutes flat.

What is bleed prevention?

Bleed prevention is the process of stemming a wound after a traumatic injury has occurred. It counts on the first responder having the right training, equipment and experience to treat the wound.

Despite 17,000 people dying from trauma-related injuries in England and Wales every year, it can be a rare occurrence for paramedics to attend scenes where trauma injuries are present. It’s also the luck of the draw for many paramedics. Some are constantly called out to traumatic injuries whereas others may only attend on the odd occasion, and not all of these incidents will involve bleeds. That’s why a key part of bleed prevention relies on education too.

One minute down.

How does bleed prevention work?

When a major artery is cut, it takes just three minutes to lose a life ending amount of blood. The decision for bleed prevention must be instantaneous. It should take seconds at most.

Traumatic wounds that occur outside of the hospital can be treated using compression and elevation techniques. Where a wound is haemorrhaging, compression should be applied either through pressure or a tourniquet. This also leads down a path of choice for the first responder.

During this time, the first aider will need to determine whether applying pressure to the wound is sustainable. The amount of pressure needed from one individual can become very tiring, very quickly.

For most first responders, the best course of treatment is a tourniquet. This allows for hands-free compression without physical intervention from the emergency services. Not only does this preserve the first aider’s energy, but it also means other wounds and casualties can be treated at the same time.

Innovative bleed control products

In the UK, around 24% of incidents attended by paramedics are classified as Trauma. As a broad topic, it covers everything from severe small physical injuries to catastrophic life-changing injuries. That’s why the right bleed prevention products are vital to saving lives.

RapidStop® Tourniquets

About 20 years ago, tourniquets were taboo for emergency services to use. They carried so many negative conceptions with them. That’s why through better education and more innovative products, their perception within the community has significantly changed.

Two minutes down.

They’re now seen as life-saving tools. Designed with military-grade strength in mind, RapidStop® Tourniquets are robust and ideal for use in traumatic situations where major bleeds on the arms or legs are present. Their fast application saves precious time for first responders dealing with traumatic injuries.

Bleed control kits

Fitted with tourniquets, trauma bandages, gloves and more, bleed control kits give first responders options when treating life-threatening bleeds. The amount of equipment supplied within them also prevents further loss of blood from the casualty.

How are major bleeds caused?

It’s easy to think that major bleeds come from car accidents and that they’re a rare occurrence. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Catastrophic bleeds are often caused by mishaps and can be accidental.

30 seconds left.

Sever bleeds can be caused by:

  • Falls from height
  • Being struck by moving vehicles or objects
  • Becoming trapped by something collapsing
  • Encountering machinery

Between 2021-2022, 123 workers across the UK were killed by these incidents.

Major bleeds are more common in high-risk industries, but they can’t be ruled out for low-risk individuals either. They can affect anyone at any given time, without discrimination.

Supporting Stop the Bleed Month

Greater education is needed when it comes to severe bleeds. With the correct treatment, first aiders and bystanders will feel more confident in dealing with traumatic situations. They’ll feel empowered to act.

Currently, these are the statistics we’re faced with:

  • 59% of deaths are preventable with the right first aid before medical services arrive
  • 32% are not confident in first aid and don’t know what to do in an emergency
  • 1 in 10 will only call an ambulance; they won’t start first aid

Time’s up.


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