Urban Survival Day 9 – Deal With Blood Loss

Posted: March 2, 2013 in Survival/Self Defense
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s tip involves a lot of talk about blood.  Seriously, this tip covers two pages in the book.  So there will be some slightly graphic discussion about blood.  If you’re squeamish about blood, you may not want to read on, but its only words.  There are no pictures.  I did my best to keep it on a level that anyone would be comfortable with.

9)  Deal With Blood Loss

“Your tender human flesh doesn’t stand a chance against a misdirected axe or an errant blade, and that doesn’t even begin to take into account accidents involving sharp rocks, or a skin-shredding tumble on a trail”.  Dealing with blood loss is something that everyone will have to live with at some point if they’re in a survival situation.  I mean, how many times have you cut yourself in the kitchen alone?  Add in the stress and panic of a disaster and you’re just asking for trouble.

The first type of blood loss is called “ooze“.  This is a basic scrape or abrasion that opens capillaries.  The blood loss is very minimal and you aren’t at risk from that directly.  With this type of injury your biggest danger is infection.  To deal with it the book recommends that you:

  • Disinfect the wound
  • Use moderate pressure to stop the bleeding
  • Keep the wound moist with aloe vera or antibiotic ointment until it has healed
  • Cover it with a semipermeable dressing
  • Change the dressing daily and inspect the wound for infection, which might require professional treatment


The  second type of blood loss is deemed “spurt” by the book.  This type of blood loss is the result of “arterial bleeding” and it can be extremely dangerous.  Your main goal here should be to stop the blood loss as quickly as possible.  Here’s what you should do:

  • Elevate the injury above the heart
  • Aggressively apply pressure
  • If a wound on a limb wont stop bleeding, tie a tourniquet above the wound and tighten it until the blood stops flowing.  But be warned that the use of a tourniquet can lead to the necessity for amputation.  Use only when you must.
  • Call 911 or transport the victim to an available medical facility immediately


Our third type of blood loss is called “flow.  This type of blood loss is the result of an open vein and is described as “dark red blood [gushing] steadily”.  Again the priority is on stopping the blood loss.  Take the following steps:

  • Elevate the injury above the heart
  • Use tweezers to remove any debris that is lodged in the cut
  • Disinfect the wound
  • Apply direct pressure to the injury.  You can apply pressure with bare hands at first, but then search for something to serve as a direct-pressure pad.
  • After the bleeding stops, use tape or cloth strips to secure the dressing over the wound


The fourth and last type of blood loss is much harder to detect, but just as serious as the others.  This type of blood loss is “internal” bleeding.  This most often occurs during car crashes, or when a person is hit near an organ.  The steps you should take are below:

  • Monitor for hypovolemia (a state in which blood levels are drastically reduced).  Shock, pallor, rapid breathing, confusion, and lack of urine are all signs.
  • Incline the victim toward the injured side.  This constrains the blood flow to the damaged area, and keeps the good side up and running.
  • Stabilize the victim, treat for shock, and call 911 or transport the victim to a medical facility immediately.


Ok, that’s all the blood we’re going to discuss today I promise.  I think this is definitely some useful information.  I honestly don’t think I would’ve been able to identify types of bleeding and causes until reading today’s tip.  Its something everyone should know, especially anyone interested in preparing for disasters.

Hopefully you learned something that you’ll hopefully never need.  Whenever possible however, seek medical help for injuries that result in blood loss.  We can do many things to slow the blood, stop it, and disinfect it, but none of that comes close to what our medical professionals can do.

And as always, here’s my shout out to Rich Johnson and his book Urban Survival Guide from which these tips are coming from.  If you like this kind of stuff and want to have all of these tips at hand whenever you want, go on out and buy a copy.  But if you’re not a spender, just subscribe and hang out with me for the remaining 102 tips!

  1. Notcsi says:

    Good info.
    Their thoughts on tourniquets is a bit dated I think. They are widely used. In fact, every soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan has at least one in their kit. The most common cause for death with these guys is bleeding from and extremity which can usually be controlled using a tourniquet.
    An interesting note: If you have knee surgery, they put a hydraulic tourniquet on you leg during the surgery.

    • nvchad2 says:

      Thanks for the comment. I did not know that. I’m sure that in writing the book they had to say it that way, otherwise someone would come along and sue them after they injured themselves using it wrong. Better safe than sorry. But I definitely think I would rather use one and lose an arm, rather than not use one and die.

  2. […] Lie the victim down, keeping their head low.  ”Treat any outward injuries, such as fractures or bleeding“. […]

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