Living Well: First aid tips offered: Take free Stop the Bleed training through MRH |

Living Well: First aid tips offered: Take free Stop the Bleed training through MRH

Memorial Regional Health staff/For Craig Press
A group of Craig Middle School seventh-graders practice emergency techniques to stop bleeding during CMS Trauma Day, held May 11. The event was sponsored by Memorial Regional Health.
Jim Patterson/file
Outdoor first aid kit essentialsMedical tapeMedical glovesAntiseptic wipesButterfly closuresDressing/gauzeTriple antibiotic ointmentHand sanitizerIbuprofen tabletsAntihistamineSmall utility toolSewing needleSafety pinsTiny whistleEmergency fire starterMedical cardTourniquet (spend $25 or $30 for a quality one)Source: and Megan O’Toole

If you are an outdoor enthusiast who loves to run, hike, climb or ride in our area’s beautiful wilderness, you likely have plenty of gear to support your fun. But do you have a first aid kit? Or a tourniquet? It’s wise to have both, especially if you are leading a group or taking your family on an outdoor adventure. Being well-equipped and knowledgeable can make a big difference in an emergency situation.

Stop the bleed

You would likely call 911 if someone fell climbing or cut themselves deeply. The problem is that sometimes people die from blood loss before care arrives, especially if they are in a remote area. Knowing how to stop the bleed can make a huge difference.

“Studies show that people are dying between calling 911 and getting care, because they bleed out quickly. That’s why we’ve joined the national Stop the Bleed campaign, sponsored by the American College of Surgeons. Our goal is to train as many members of the community as we can on techniques to stop bleeding,” said Megan O’Toole, trauma coordinator with Memorial Regional Health.

A group of health care providers from MRH, including nurses, EMTs and paramedics, have become trainers and are going into communities in and around Craig to teach groups how to apply a tourniquet, pack a wound or apply pressure. Most recently, they taught 140 seventh-graders a modified Stop the Bleed technique.

With a large laceration or gaping wound, you want to tightly wrap it with a tourniquet or piece of clothing to create pressure to stop the bleed. With a deep wound, O’Toole advises packing it with gauze or T-shirt material to take up the space in the wound, then apply pressure.

“Don’t take out the gauze if it’s blood soaked, just apply more,” she said.

If you are out a lot, it’s wise to purchase a tourniquet and take the class to learn how to use it. The team of Stop the Bleed trainers are happy to set up trainings with any group or interested party. Ideal candidates would be CDOT, mine employees, shooting or sports clubs, ranchers, hunters, farmers, school groups, health care workers and more. They offer one- to two-hour classes to children and adults. Contact Megan at or 970-761-0003 for more information.

Twisted or broken extremity

If your child gets his or her foot stuck in the crack of a boulder and twists an ankle, then complains he or she can’t walk, you may need to splint it to get down the trail and out. Use sticks and a T-shirt to make a rudimentary splint or a sweatshirt or towel to make a sling for an injured arm.

“If it’s broken, any time its pulled or moved, it will be painful. Stabilizing the extremity will decrease the pain,” O’Toole said.

Scrapes, sun and signaling

If your child merely scrapes his or her knee, and it’s not too deep, clean it off with antiseptic wipes from your first aid kit and place a bandage on it to help prevent infection from dirt and debris. Remember to bring plenty of water and take breaks in the shade to prevent heat stroke.

“A great trick I just learned is to carry glow sticks in your backpack or saddlebag, just in case you get lost. They are easy to see by rescuers wearing night vision goggles,” O’Toole said.

Lastly, be prepared. Pack lots of water, snacks, a first aid kit and sunscreen. Pack a raincoat and layer your clothing so you are ready for quick storms that can take you by surprise. With a little preparation, you can relax and have fun.


See more