What to Do with a Gunshot Wound in Survival Situation?

In the United States, every week you hear about one shooting or another. Everyone talks about shootings trying to figure out how to stop these types of tragedies from happening.

However, most people have no idea what to do if you get shot. There are several measures you can take that will help save someone who has been shot.

Regardless of whether first responders are on the way or not, these steps are critical. If demonstrations block roads, if you’re caught in the middle of an active shooter scenario, emergency personnel may not be able to reach you as quickly as you would like.

It’s not always possible to save someone’s life. Even the most well-trained and equipped professionals have patients die. All you can do is do what you can, and give the person a fighting chance until emergency personnel arrives.

bullet hole

Here are some steps you can do to aid in the survival of a shooting victim.

Steps to Aid A Shooting Victim in an Emergency

Step 1: Assess

  1. Ensure your safety. Protect yourself; if you are hit, you become another victim and will therefore be unable to assist anyone.
  2. Assess the situation. Before you go running off in the middle of a firefight, you want to assess what is unfolding around you.

What kind of scenario is it? How many shooters? Where are they located? What are they armed with? These types of questions will give you a better understanding of what’s transpiring and help to reduce your exposure to any unnecessary risk.

Step 2: Act

  1. Call 911. Once you had assessed the situation and seen that medical personnel are not on the scene – get someone to call 911 and have them come back to assist you.
  2. Look for signs of life. If the vitcim is motionless, with no pulse and breath, start giving chest compressions immediately. If there are signs of life the most immediate things to look for are excessive bleeding, collapsed lung, and gutshot wound to the stomach cavity.
  3. Act. Look at the victim’s body to understand where the victim is shot.
  • If bleeding, apply pressure on the area. If there is breath, and you notice an area of the body that is covered in blood, apply pressure, using the palm of your hand, if the wound is large, use a piece of cloth under your palm to soak up the blood.
  • If bleeding is profuse, apply a tourniquet. If the injury is on an extremity and if there is a lot of bleeding, and pressure doesn’t seem to be stopping the flow of blood then you need to find a way to use a tourniquet to reduce blood loss as a person can bleed out in a few minutes.

Note: This should be used carefully and as a last resort as it can cause neurological damage if done improperly.

  • If there is a gunshot hole stuff it. Use a wad of cloth to help stop the bleeding.

Step 3. Stay

Stay with the victim if possible until emergency medical personnel arrives. You can also assist and help the person if needed.


Helping someone who has received a gunshot wound is not an easy thing to do, but it might just be that those few minutes can save a person’s life.

Have you ever seen someone get shot? What did you do if it happened to you?


  1. How to Handle a Gunshot Wound, https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-treat-a-gunshot-wound-1298915
  2. The First Aid and Hospital Treatment of Gunshot and Blast Injuries, https://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article/187549

Photo by Harrison Haines/Pexels

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