Stop the Bleed Month: Guiding Everyday People to Help Save Lives

Mobilize Rescue Systems™

Did you know that trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 46?

We all can do our part to reduce bleeding-related deaths. Just five minutes can mean the difference between life and death for a bleeding victim, and with EMS arriving an average of 7 to 14 minutes after an initial call is made, time is not always on their side. In these situations, bystanders can intervene and provide potentially life-saving care while emergency personnel are on their way.

The importance of lay people in preventing bleeding deaths cannot be overstated — that’s why public safety experts across the United States deemed the entire month of May to be “Stop the Bleed Month.”

What is Stop the Bleed Month?

Stop the Bleed Month is a national awareness campaign backed by major health organizations and the Department of Homeland Security. The mission of the campaign is to train rescuers using a grassroots approach, teaching people about common bleeding situations that can occur within their community. Situations can range from accidental workplace injuries to violent attacks.

The need for the national Stop the Bleed campaign became clear in December 2012, following the Sandy Hook shootings. When members of the American College of Surgeons found that many victims succumbed due to bleeding, they united with experts in medical care, law enforcement, and public policy to devise a training program that reduced shooting-related deaths by limiting blood loss. Their recommendations became known as the Hartford Consensus.

The Hartford Consensus sought to underscore the importance of early intervention for heavy bleeding. They orchestrated events to train communities and raise awareness about controlling blood loss while aiming to make bleeding control kits more accessible to the public. The campaign was a resounding success, as the White House and DHS officially sponsored Stop the Bleed month as a National Public Awareness Campaign in 2015. As of September 2019, over a million people received Stop the Bleed training.

During training, bystanders learn the skills required to keep bleeding victims alive, safe, and as comfortable as possible until emergency services arrive. Many Americans can receive free training locally; others can attend a training session via webinar.

How Bystanders Can Help Stop the Bleed

Stop the Bleed attendees will learn the most effective ways to assist and support victims in the event of a trauma-related emergency. According to FEMA, the best way to aid is through the following five-step program:

  • Call 911

    If someone is bleeding profusely, they need immediate medical intervention. Call 911 the moment you find a bleeding victim.

  • Protect the Injured

    If the bleeding victim is in active danger, such as lying in a roadway, move them to safety.

  • Stop the Bleeding

    If a wound is smaller than both of your hands, don gloves and apply a significant amount of pressure to the open wound. If there is a large injury or multiple wounds, use a tourniquet or a hemostatic agent (such as QuikClot) to slow the bleeding. Apply pressure to any open wounds until help arrives.

  • Encourage Comfort

    If a victim is conscious, ask if they need help adjusting to a comfortable position, as this will encourage consistent breathing. If they are not conscious, place them on their side in the recovery position, avoiding contact with their head or neck when possible.

  • Provide Comfort

    While help is on the way, the bleeding victim may be afraid or at risk of losing consciousness. Speak to them directly about something other than the incident until EMS arrives. If the victim needs to be kept warm or begins to display signs of shock, wrap them in a mylar blanket.

Accessing Medical Supplies to Stop the Bleed

When rescuers are given the tools necessary to assist bleeding victims, the entire community becomes safer. Communities must supply trauma kits like Mobilize™ trauma kits to help rescuers provide the most impactful intervention possible. A standard kit for bleeding victims should have items like tourniquets, QuikClot, mylar blankets, gloves, and a first aid guide. Mobilize kits provide rescuers with a mobile app that provides step-by-step guidance on how to best treat bleeding victims.

Rescue systems and trauma kits are not one-size-fits-all, however. Stop the Bleed leaders should discuss the most common threats in their community and stock public places with the best tools for these threats. For example, Stop the Bleed training aimed toward police officers may choose to stock chest seals for officer-related shootings, while those in communities with high rates of violent crime might prefer tourniquets to help stabbing victims.

One of the most important aspects of Stop the Bleed month is empowering bystanders to step in. Sadly, many people are afraid of injuring a bleeding victim, or even being sued for trying to help. Thankfully, the right education alongside protections like the Good Samaritan law gives bystanders the confidence needed to help save lives. After completing Stop the Bleed or a similar first aid course, 98% of trainees were more likely to help bleeding victims.

If you’d like to take steps today to help victims of blood loss, sign up for a Stop the Bleed course today and consider acquiring a Mobilize trauma kit for your vehicle, office, classroom, or home.