Critical injury packs - saving lives by controlling blood loss

08/04/19

We've already discussed the steps required to ensure your workplace first aid practices are up to date with the latest British Standards (BS) guidelines and the key changes to the latest guidelines, and both stress the introduction of critical injury packs in environments with high risk of wounding.

Blood loss from severe trauma accounts for up to 40% of all trauma-related deaths, amounting to 5,000 deaths, annually, in England and Wales. As the average response time of emergency services in the UK lies around eight minutes, it's critical to be prepared when facing a serious wound, hence the strong recommendation to follow BS recommendations and include critical injury packs in high-risk environments.

The three steps of the Haemorrhage Control Pathway

  1. Trauma dressing

    Usually adequate to stem the bleeding from the majority of severe wounding cases, trauma dressings are the first step of the pathway and should be applied with pressure. It is recommended to use trauma dressings with unique pressure bandages that apply direct pressure to the wound, controlling blood loss more efficiently.

  2. Haemostatic dressing

    In instances of extreme blood loss, where trauma dressings are not reducing bleeding adequately, haemostatic dressings should be applied to the wound. Containing coagulating agents - active ingredients that promote natural blood clotting - haemostatic dressings are the next step towards saving a life from severe trauma.

  3. Tourniquet

    Used as a last resort, when the previous steps have not controlled blood loss or in the instance of complete limb amputation, a tourniquet should be applied to completely prevent blood flow to the affected area, but should only be used when absolutely necessary.

All critical injury packs should include the consumables listed in each step of the pathway, and are often available in a range of formats and sizes, making it crucial to source ones that serve the requirements of your personnel. Critical injury packs are supplementary to first aid kits, not replacements.

For more information on the number of consumables to include in your critical injury packs, download our free "Free First Aid Guide" and prepare your staff for any potential injury.

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