During a major disaster, hospitals are likely to be overcrowded or closed, which means you shouldn’t count on a nurse or doctor to help you if someone get seriously injured. Doctors will either be too busy helping people with more serious injuries, or they’ll be hunkering down with their families.
You and your friends and family are going to have to help one another, so if someone gets a deep cut you’ll need to know how to stop the bleeding before it’s too late.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before using any of the methods mentioned in this article.
And don’t try to plan on not getting hurt. If something terrible happens in your city, you will likely find it necessary to go rummaging for supplies and equipment, and you may have to trudge through fields and climb fences to get where you need to go.
You might also find it necessary to reinforce your doors and walls, build temporary shelters, hunt for wild game, and so forth. Not to mention defending yourself from marauders. All of these are activities in which you could get injured, and one of the most common injuries is a bad cut that won’t stop bleeding.
I’m sure you’ve seen in the movies where people put pressure on wounds or make tourniquets, but how exactly does this work? Here’s what you need to know:
1. If Possible, Raise The Injured Body Part Above the Heart
Gravity will stop the blood from flowing so quickly and make it easier to stop. This makes a bigger difference than you might think.
2. Put Pressure On The Wound
Blood will not clot until it stops flowing. The best thing to use is gauze as it helps blood stick together. But if no gauze is available, use a thick cloth instead. If the blood soaks through, add another layer. Don’t remove a layer! Doing so will rip away clotting agents and you’ll have to start all over. Keep the pressure on the wound for at least 15 minutes, though sometimes it may take as long as an hour for the wound to clot.
3. Use Pressure Points
These are areas where blood vessels are very close to the surface. If you press here, the blood flow will be slowed. Be certain that the point is somewhere between the wound and the heart, otherwise it will have no effect. Common pressure points include: between the shoulder and elbow, behind the knee, groin area along the bikini line.
4. Use a Tourniquet
This should be a last resort as it is somewhat dangerous, but if you must, use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. If you don’t have one, you can make one with a folded cloth or a wide belt. Never use a thin rope, wire, or string as this could cut off too much blood and the entire limb could be damaged or even lost. Tie the tourniquet between the wound and the heart, several inches above the wound. Use a simple square knot, like tying shoes without a bow. Then push a stick through the knot and twist to tighten it. Loosen the tourniquet every half hour or so to see if it is still needed.
When the bleeding has completely stopped, bind the wound with a tight bandage and apply an ice pack for at least 10 minutes. You’ll also need to clean and protect the wound, but I’ll save that information for another post. For now, check out this article. for more information.