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Learning Material

In recognition of the growing threat of mass casualty events and the need for enhanced training of bystanders to manage life threatening bleeding in these situations, we encourage the installation of bleeding control kits in public buildings where large numbers of people gather. These kits will provide the tools to allow immediate management of life-threatening hemorrhage until EMS providers can arrive. Events such as the Boston Marathon bombings and recent mass shootings highlight the need for increased availability of effective, commercial tourniquets as improvised tourniquets are often ineffective and can make bleeding worse if arterial inflow is not occluded.

What is a bleeding control kit?

A bleeding control kit contains the essential medical equipment and supplies required to save a life in the event of immediate, life threatening bleeding.  A kit can be designed for a personal or home situation or for a larger more public venue.

Each kit should contain these basic items:

  • Gloves
  • Packing gauze
  • Compression bandage
  • Tourniquet
  • Marking pen

Where should bleeding control kits be placed?

Large multi-person commercial bleeding control kits should be mounted in all public access areas including but not limited to those listed below:

  • Schools / College campuses
  • Businesses
  • Airports
  • Train stations
  • Movie theaters
  • Stadiums/arenas
  • Concert halls
  • Courthouses
  • Shopping malls
  • Libraries

Bleeding control kits should be mounted right next to all existing Automatic Defibrillators (AED)

A personal or smaller kit can be kept in or along with your emergency or disaster supply bag or kit, in your car, with your camping gear, etc.

Who should be trained to Stop the Bleed?


Uncontrolled bleeding injuries can result from natural and manmade disasters and from everyday accidents, as well as from catastrophic and terrorist incidents. If this bleeding is severe, it can kill within minutes, potentially before trained responders can arrive. Bystanders who have been provided with basic tools and information on the simple steps they can take in an emergency situation to stop life threatening bleeding can save lives.

Research has shown that bystanders, with little or no medical training, can become heroic lifesavers.  Similar to the use of CPR or automatic defibrillators, improving public awareness about how to stop severe bleeding and expanding personal and public access to bleeding control kits can be the difference between life and death for an injured person.

How can I get a bleeding control kit for my work or home?

There are several commercial kits available online. We do not endorse any specific company but a quick internet search for bleeding control kits, hemorrhage control kits, or tourniquets will yield several companies that can supply you with either pre-made kits and supplies or individual products so you can assemble your own kit.

You can purchase a premade/prestocked kit or you can purchase the items individually and put together your own kit.

When purchasing your own individual tourniquets, we would recommend either the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) or the SOFT-T Wide (Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet Wide).

Can't I just use a t-shirt, piece of rope, belt or other improvised tourniquet?

Improvised tourniquets are rarely as effective as commercially manufactured tourniquets, because they cannot be tight enough to actually stop the bleeding, especially in arterial injuries. As a matter of fact, often these improvised tourniquets can make the bleeding worse by prevention venous return.

Belts cannot be tightened enough, rope or string is too thin to actually stop arterial bleeding and will cause more tissue damage.

When purchasing your own individual tourniquets, we would recommend either the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet) or the SOFT-T Wide (Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet Wide).