First Aid Merit Badge
Choking and Stopped Breathing Bleeding Bandaging
Click here for a printable version of this page.
First Aid merit badge 3D. Show the steps that need to be taken for someone suffering from a severe laceration on the leg and on the wrist. Tell the dangers in the use of a tourniquet and the conditions under which its use is justified.

Second Class 6A. Show what to do for "hurry" cases of: serious bleeding

Serious Bleeding
First Aid merit badge book, pages 24-25
Bleeding can come from two possible sources -- veins and arteries. Both are part of the body's internal plumbing but they serve different purposes.

As blood circulates within the body, it is occassionally recharged with oxygen at the lungs and pumped through the heart. As it carries oxygen away from the lungs, it flows through arteries. Arteries are large blood vessels that are protected by being buried deep within the body, usually next to bones. Arteries have pulses and are pressurized. For this reason, arterial wounds are always life-threatening.

Veins are the vessels blood uses to return to the heart after giving up its oxygen. Veins are generally smaller, nearer the surface and not pressurized. Severe bleeding from a vein can be life-threatening.

When delivering first aid for bleeding, there are three steps to follow:

  1. Apply direct pressure.
  2. Elevate the wound.
  3. Use a pressure point.
Direct Pressure
Applying direct pressure means placing a dressing over the wound and pressing on it, hard. Direct pressure hurts and a conscious victim will complain (yell) when pressure is applied to a serious wound. Direct pressure is the best way to stop bleeding, however.

If the dressing becomes completely soaked with blood, do not remove it. Instead, simply place more absorbent dressing on top of it and continue applying pressure. Removing the dressing will reopen any part of the wound that has started to close.

Elevation
To elevate a wound means to raise it above the level of the heart. By elevating a wound, gravity helps to stop the blood flow. If possible, have the victim lay down and raise the wound as high as possible. If the wound is in the victim's torso or abdomen, try to have the victim roll on his side or place padding beneath the victim.
Pressure Points
Pressure points are places within the body where an artery passes close to a bone. In those places, applied pressure can pinch off the artery and stop the blood flow to a limb. Each arm and leg has one main artery that supplies most of the blood to that limb.


 

 

The arm's pressure points are located halfway along the upper arm, on the inside. Press between the bicep (the top muscle) and the tricep (the bottom muscle) until you can feel the bone. The artery is there (the pulse can be felt there, too). Push hard to stop the blood flow.

The leg's pressure points are located in the hips. They are in the bowl of the hip on either side of the groin, where the leg joins the torso. Press hard on that point with the heel of the hand to stop the blood flow.

Tourniquets
First Aid merit badge book, pages 25-26
A tourniquet is a pressure bandage that will stop all blood flow.

There is only one situation when a tourniquet should be used: When the limb has already been amputated.

When considering a tourniquet, remember:

To apply a tourniquet:

  1. Wrap a wide cloth band around the limb, a few inches above the point of amputation. DO NOT use rope or wire.
  2. Tie a stick or rod into the knot.
  3. Twist the stick until the bleeding stops.
  4. Tie the stick to the limb so it will not loosen.
  5. Do not loosen or remove the tourniquet.
  6. Write down the time you applied the tourniquet and attach it to the victim's clothing. Doctors will need to know before they can safely remove it.
  7. Seek medical assistance immediately.


©2005 Sam Clippinger / samc (at) troop50 (dot) org
Last updated: 12/9/2005