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Current Events How to treat life-threatening bleeding during a protest

Jun. 1, 2020
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DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert on bleeding control techniques, but I do have previous training, and have used these skills during an unexpected emergency. For more information (and free downloadable graphics!), go to Stop the Bleed. Be safe, protect each other, and fuck police brutality.

SCENARIO 1-A: The victim has been shot in the arm or leg. You have access to a first-aid kit and a medical-grade tourniquet.

  • STEP 1: Identify the source of the bleeding. If blood is spurting out of the wound, pooling on the ground, or soaking through bandages, the victim needs a tourniquet.
  • STEP 2: Wrap the tourniquet approximately two or three inches above the wound. Do not place the tourniquet on the joint area (knees or elbows).
  • STEP 3: Pull the strap as tight as possible. Don’t be afraid of hurting the victim. Tourniquets are uncomfortable and even painful, but they must be wrapped as tightly as possible to staunch life-threatening bleeding.
  • STEP 4: Secure the strap in place with the Velcro.
  • STEP 5: Twist the plastic tube (windlass) until the bleeding ceases.
  • STEP 6: Secure the windlass in the nook provided. It looks like a little armrest.
  • STEP 7: If you have time—and if you still need to evacuate an unsafe area, you may not—mark the time that the tourniquet was applied on the little tag.
  • STEP 8: Once you are in a safe place, ask the victim for their name and the phone number of a friend or family member. Update them on the situation. This way, multiple people will be able to corroborate your account of events in the future.
  • STEP 9: If the victim is distressed or in shock, distract them. Ask them about their family, where they’re from, or even their favorite color until help arrives.

SCENARIO 1-B: The victim has been shot in the arm or leg. You do not have access to a first-aid kit or a medical-grade tourniquet.

  • STEP 1: Identify the source of the bleeding. If blood is spurting out of the wound, pooling on the ground, or soaking through bandages, the victim needs you to apply pressure on the wound.
  • STEP 2: Apply pressure with both hands and a clean piece of cloth (a shirt, flannel, etc.). If the wound is deep, pack the cloth into it. This may cause pain or discomfort, but it helps prevent additional blood loss.
  • STEP 3: Apply as much pressure as you physically can.
  • STEP 4: Ask another protester to help create a makeshift tourniquet out of cloth.
  • STEP 5: Instruct them to wrap the cloth as tightly as possible two to three inches above the wound. If possible, twist the cloth while wrapping to create additional pressure.
  • STEP 6: Once you are in a safe place, ask the victim for their name and the phone number of a friend or family member. Update them on the situation. This way, multiple people will be able to corroborate your account of events in the future.
  • STEP 7: If the victim is distressed or in shock, distract them. Ask them about their family, where they’re from, or even their favorite color until help arrives.

SITUATION 2-A: The victim has been shot in the neck, shoulder, or groin area. You have access to a first-aid kit.

  • STEP 1: Identify the source of the bleeding. If blood is spurting out of the wound, pooling on the ground, or soaking through bandages, the victim needs you to apply pressure on the wound.
  • STEP 2: Apply pressure with both hands and gauze. If the wound is deep, pack the gauze into it. This may cause pain or discomfort, but it helps prevent additional blood loss.
  • STEP 3: Apply as much pressure as you physically can.
  • STEP 4: Once you are in a safe place, ask the victim for their name and the phone number of a friend or family member. Update them on the situation. This way, multiple people will be able to corroborate your account of events in the future.
  • STEP 5: If the victim is distressed or in shock, distract them. Ask them about their family, where they’re from, or even their favorite color until help arrives.
  • ADDITIONAL INFO: Do not use a tourniquet on neck, shoulder, or groin wounds. Tourniquets are only for extremities.

SITUATION 2-B: The victim has been shot in the neck, shoulder, or groin area. You do not have access to a first-aid kit.

  • STEP 1: Identify the source of the bleeding. If blood is spurting out of the wound, pooling on the ground, or soaking through bandages, the victim needs you to apply pressure on the wound.
  • STEP 2: Apply pressure with both hands and a clean piece of cloth (a shirt, flannel, etc.). If the wound is deep, pack the cloth into it. This may cause pain or discomfort, but it helps prevent additional blood loss.
  • STEP 3: Apply as much pressure as you physically can.
  • STEP 4: Once you are in a safe place, ask the victim for their name and the phone number of a friend or family member. Update them on the situation. This way, multiple people will be able to corroborate your account of events in the future.
  • STEP 5: If the victim is distressed or in shock, distract them. Ask them about their family, where they’re from, or even their favorite color until help arrives.
  • ADDITIONAL INFO: Do not use a tourniquet on neck, shoulder, or groin wounds. Tourniquets are only for extremities.

Illustrations by Yoo Young Chun.