Learning how to stop bleeding is vital, as a person can die from severe, uncontrolled bleeding in as little as five minutes, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department officials said.
When a traumatic-bleeding emergency occurs in Fairfax County, most often a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker or bystander is on scene immediately after the injury has occurred.
The first step is to call 911 to get Fire and Rescue Department units on the way. The sooner you call 911, the faster professional help will arrive.
If a commercially made tourniquet is not immediately available, residents should be very cautious in attempting to make an improvised tourniquet, officials said. Thin items such as phone chargers, extension cords, shoelaces and rope are too narrow to be used as a tourniquet. In addition to not working, those items can cause severe damage to the nerves of the injured limb, officials said.
Instead, residents should expose the area that is bleeding, and with a cloth or bandage use both hands to apply firm, steady pressure to that area.
If you don’t have a bandage or cloth immediately available, apply firm and steady pressure with your hands. This will still help to slow or stop the bleeding, officials said.