Rural & Remote First Aid

 Stopping the Bleed: The Benefits of Haemostatic Dressings in First Aid

Stopping the Bleed: The Benefits of Haemostatic Dressings in First Aid

In an emergency situation, severe bleeding can be life-threatening. While pressure and traditional bandages are crucial first-aid measures, haemostatic dressings offer a new level of control for bleeding wounds.

What are Haemostatic Dressings?

Haemostatic dressings are specialised bandages designed to accelerate blood clotting and stop bleeding quickly. They contain various clotting agents, such as zeolite or kaolin, which work by interacting with the body’s natural clotting factors to form a gel-like substance that seals the wound.

Benefits of Haemostatic Dressings:

Rapid Blood Clot Formation: Haemostatic dressings significantly reduce bleeding time compared to traditional bandages. This is especially beneficial for severe arterial bleeds or situations where immediate medical attention is unavailable.

Ease of Use: Many haemostatic dressings are designed for simple application, even by individuals with minimal first-aid training. This can be crucial in the stressful moments following an injury.

Portability: Haemostatic dressings are typically compact and lightweight, making them ideal for first-aid kits carried in backpacks, cars, or workplaces.

Versatility: These dressings can be effective for various bleeding wounds, including cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds.

Haemostatic Dressings vs. Traditional Bandages:

While haemostatic dressings offer significant advantages, traditional bandages remain a vital part of any first-aid kit. Here’s a quick comparison:

Haemostatic Dressing
Traditional Bandage
Primary Function
Accelerate blood clotting and stop bleeding quickly
Apply pressure and absorb blood
Effectiveness for Severe Bleeding
More effective
Less effective
Ease of Use
Generally easier to apply
Requires applying pressure and securing
Compact and lightweight
Can vary in size and weight

Who Can Benefit from Haemostatic Dressings?

Haemostatic dressings are a valuable addition to first-aid kits for:

Individuals at Risk of Bleeding Injuries: People who participate in activities with a high risk of cuts or puncture wounds.

Professionals: First responders, law enforcement personnel, and anyone working in environments where bleeding injuries are a possibility.

Families: A valuable addition to any home first-aid kit for emergency preparedness.

Important Considerations:

From the Australian Resuscitation Council Guidelines:

When available and the first aid provider is trained in their use, we suggest that haemostatic dressings are of most value in the following situations

  • Severe, life-threatening bleeding not controlled by wound pressure, from a site not suitable for tourniquet use.
  • Severe, life-threatening bleeding from a limb, not controlled by wound pressure, when the use of a tourniquet(s) alone has not stopped the bleeding, or a tourniquet is not available.

Not a Replacement for Medical Attention: Haemostatic dressings are for first-aid use only and should not replace seeking medical attention for serious injuries.

Training is Recommended: While generally easy to use, consider taking a first-aid course to learn proper application techniques.

Read Product Instructions Carefully: Different haemostatic dressings may have specific application instructions.

Haemostatic dressings are a powerful addition to any first-aid kit, offering a fast and effective way to control bleeding in emergency situations. By understanding their benefits and limitations, you can be better prepared to handle bleeding injuries and potentially save a life.

Be Prepared for Anything: Equip yourself with haemostatic dressings for your first-aid kit. Visit Rural and Remote First Aid to browse our selection of high-quality haemostatic dressings and ensure you have the tools you need to respond to bleeding emergencies.

By Scott Brown

If you would like more information about this topic or any others, purchase any First Aid stock or equipment, or to book a Remote Area First Aid course, please contact us on 0491 057 339 or email

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Author bio:

For over 23 years Scott Brown has been training Remote Area First Aid across Australia. Having first joined Rural Ambulance Victoria in 2001 and working in the high-country in Victoria, he began teaching First Aid for Rural Ambulance Victoria. 23 years on, he works with some of Australia’s largest pastoral corporations and property managers that combined manage over 200,000 square kms of the Australian landscape.

Known for conveying detailed First Aid information in a relatable and relaxed way, Scott’s courses have become popular with Agricultural Property Managers, overseers and ringers alike. The highly practical course content ensures relevance to actual situations that are possible to encounter on a working property.

Scott continues to work with Ambulance Victoria alongside his First Aid training. 

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