First aid for severe bleeding

Severe bleeding is an excessive amount of blood loss. Even a small injury can result in severe external bleeding, depending on where it is on the body.

What to do

IMPORTANT wear gloves to prevent infection, if possible.

Unconscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan and follow the casualty’s seizure management plan, if there is one in place.
  2. Control bleeding as for a conscious casualty.
  3. Urgent medical aid. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.

Conscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan.
  2. Reassure and lie the casualty down and remove or cut their clothing to expose the wound.
  3. Apply direct pressure over and around the wound using a pad or your hands. Instruct the casualty to do this if possible.
  4. Squeeze the wound edges together if possible.
  5. Raise and support the injured part above the level of the casualty’s heart. Handle gently if you suspect a broken bone.
  6. Apply a pad over the wound and secure by bandaging over the wound.
  7. If blood oozes through the original bandage do not remove it. Place another pad and bandage over the top of the original one.
  8. Monitor bleeding and check every 15 minutes that the bandages are not too tight and that there is circulation below the wound.
  9. Urgent medical aid. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
  10. DO NOT give the casualty anything to eat or drink.

Signs and symptoms

  • Visible blood loss, oozing, flowing or spurting.
  • Pain.
  • Tenderness.
  • Feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Looking pale.
  • Thirsty.
  • Progressive loss of consciousness.

Caused by

  • Anything that cuts or damages a blood vessel.
  • Injury to a blood vessel.
  • Amputation of a body part.