In our blog, Three Steps to Stop the Bleed After an Emergency Situation, we discussed the three steps an individual could take to stop serious bleeds.
However, if you, your co-worker or customer were non-seriously injured during an active threat at your workplace, could you administer first-aid to them or yourself?
WHAT IS FIRST AID?
First aid refers to the immediate care you should offer when a person is injured until full medical treatment is available.
The first step in any emergency is recognizing the problem and providing help. When in doubt or when someone is seriously injured, you should always call 911. If you are not sure how serious the injury is, the 911 operator will ask you a series of question to determine the seriousness of it.
As soon as you call 911 a response is in action but you must stay on the line to answer more questions until the dispatcher tells you to hang up. You may be asked:
- What happened?
- Where are you?
- What is your name?
- What is your phone number?
First aid often consists of one-time, short-term treatment and requires little technology or training to administer. First aid can include minor cuts, scratches or scrapes, treating a burn and applying bandages and dressings.
Learning first aid
The three key principles of first aid are known as the “3Ps”. These three points govern all the actions undertaken by the first aider.
- Preventing further injury can include moving the injured person away from harm, and then applying first aid to prevent further damage. For serious injuries, this can be applying pressure to any serious wounds until emergency services arrive.
- Preserving life is the goal to save lives and lower the threat of death.
- Promoting recovery involves applying plaster to a small wound.
TYPES OF BLEEDING
Bleeding can occur internally and externally.
External bleeding: This is where blood either leaks through a natural opening or through a break in the skin. External bleeding is described in terms of the blood flow by vessel type. The basic categories of external bleeding are:
- Arterial bleeding: Like the name, blood flow originates in an artery. Blood typically exists the wound in spurts, rather than a steady flow. The amount of blood loss can be copious, and can occur very rapidly.
- Venous bleeding: The blood is flowing from a damaged vein. The blood will flow in a steady manner and can occur with surprising speed without intervention.
- Capillary bleeding: This type occurs in superficial wounds, like abrasions. It will generally ooze in small amounts, as opposed to flowing and spurting.
Internal bleeding is one of the most serious consequences of trauma. It may occur after any type of physical injury. There are two main types of trauma, either may cause internal bleeding:
- Blunt trauma: This kind of trauma happens when a body part collides with something else at a high-speed. Blood vessels inside the body are torn or crushed by force.
- Penetrating trauma: This happens when a foreign object penetrates the body, tearing a hole in one or more blood vessels. Examples of this type of trauma can include gunshot wounds, or falling on a sharp object.
FIRST AID FOR SEVERE BLEEDING
Severe bleeding is associated with a loss of excessive amount of blood. It may be caused by an extensive open wound or damage to a blood vessel, which can take place internally. This condition can be life-threatening if a lot of blood is lost. In these situations, prompt and urgent care is necessary.
Call 911 if:
- Bleeding is severe
- You suspect internal bleeding
- The wound requires anything more than a bandaid
- Blood sprays out of wound
Signs and symptoms of severe bleeding
The signs and symptoms of severe bleeding can include:
- Blood in urine.
- Dizziness, fatigue, confusion.
- Bleeding from the mouth.
- Loss of consciousness.
First aid steps for severe bleeding include:
1. Stop the bleeding
If possible, wash your hands before treating the wound. Apply direct pressure on the wound with a clean cloth, tissue or gauze until the bleeding stops. If blood soaks through the material, do not remove it, put more cloth or gauze on top of it and continue applying pressure. If the wound is on the arm or leg raise the limb above the heart to help slow bleeding. Wash your hands after giving first aid and before cleaning and dressing the wound. Do not apply a tourniquet unless the bleeding is severe and has not stopped with direct pressure.
2. Clean the wound
Gently clean with soap and warm, then rinse soap out of wound to prevent irritation. Many people believe they should use hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound; however, this is not recommended as it can damage the tissue.
3. Protect the wound
Apply antibiotic cream to reduce risk of infection and cover with a sterile bandage. Change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and dry.
4. Aftercare: When to call a doctor
Call a doctor when the wound is deep or the edges are gaping open, debris will not come out, or there are signs of infection. After the wounded person has went home, if they are coughing up blood or the wound has shown signs of infection like redness, tenderness or thick discharge, a doctor should be called.
FIRST AID KIT
Consider purchasing a first aid kit or making your own. Having one available at your workplace is essential. Common items found in a first aid kit include:
- Bandages and tape.
- Sterile gauze.
- Antiseptic wipes and swabs.
- Absorbent compresses.
- Antibiotic cream.
- Cold pack.
- Mask for breathing.
- Eye wash.
SAFERSITE | EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Knowing how to administer first aid to bleeds can help ensure safety for everyone in the workplace. Workplace safety is important. We understand the pressure to keep yourself, your employees and your customers safe. At SaferSite, we have experienced professionals who can help you with first aid.
SaferSite offers a 10-minute medic class which will include CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) certifications. This class presented by Alex Shay, former US Army Combat medic, focuses on:
- Controlling the bleed until higher assistance can be provided.
- What you can do immediately if someone is badly injured.