1 minute readHealth & Safety
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5 Reasons to Take a First Aid for Severe Trauma Course

Accidents can happen and being prepared with a plan can help equip you to know when and how to respond. The newest American Red Cross course, First Aid for Severe Trauma™ (FAST™) is a national STOP THE BLEED course available for adults and students to learn how to respond and care for someone during a life-threatening bleeding emergency.

Want to learn more about this course? Here are five important takeaways:

1. FAST helps you understand and identify when bleeding is an emergency. When responding to an emergency, being prepared is crucial, especially when life-threatening bleeding is involved. For example, severe bleeding can be considered life-threatening when blood loss equals to a half can of soda.

2. Learn how to assess the scene to prevent personal injury. You can’t help an injured person if you get injured yourself. FAST will teach you how to properly assess the situation and ensure you are providing care safely.

3. Acknowledge who will get the bleeding control kit or call 911. In the FAST course, students refer to each other by name and repeat what they hear out loud. In a high stakes situation, identifying who will help or who needs to take further action makes all the difference. For example, if there are four people responding to a bleeding emergency and someone says, “Go get the bleeding control kit.” Usually, either no one goes or everyone goes – and neither of these situations helps the victim.

4. How to properly use a tourniquet when one is available and required. People with life-threatening bleeding need immediate action and FAST teaches you what to do. Using a tourniquet can be a useful skill but can be difficult to use without proper training.

5. FAST was developed with feedback from students, for students. Not only is the course available for high schools students under the age of 19 at no charge but it was developed with students input in mind.

Learn how you can prepare for the moments that matter with the FAST Course at redcross.org/FAST.


The FAST Course is a collaborative initiative between the American Red Cross, National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.