Be Citizen Ready: Control the Bleed – Paramedic Services Week 2021 Blog Series

25 May Be Citizen Ready: Control the Bleed – Paramedic Services Week 2021 Blog Series

In as little time as it takes to read this page, someone who is severely bleeding can bleed to death.

With such a time dependent situation, immediate “Citizen Ready” action can definitively make the difference between life and death. Upwards of 2,400 Canadians bleed to death every year and many may have been preventable with quicker interventions.

Many times, the situations that result in severe bleeding happen without warning and tragedy can follow if unprepared. Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable deaths; more specifically from arm and leg injuries. It is believed up to 40% of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences.

  • Average time to bleed to death: 2 to 5 minutes
  • Average time for first responder to arrive: 7 to 10 minutes
  • Bystanders can “Fill the Gap” and “Stop the Bleed”: Seconds


The priority is simple: keep the blood inside the body any way you safely can. You can be trained on how to do so in as little as 10 minutes.

Like many situations that can vary in severity, bleeding is no different. A simple cut may only need simple direct pressure and a bandage to keep the wound clean. A more severe cut or injury that damages deep blood vessels causing hemorrhage will require a quicker response and much more intervention like a tourniquet or wound packing. Many techniques are simple to learn and can even be applied yourself when you are alone.

This infographic (left) demonstrates the many paths you can take to “Control the Bleed”, depending on the situation or location on the body. And remember: You  have the power to “Fill the Gap” and “Stop the Bleed” in a matter of seconds while you wait for emergency responders to arrive, making you a critical part of the process.

Reference: Paramedic Chiefs of Canada