What You Should Do Until Emergency Medical Personnal Arrive After Someone Cuts Their Arm With A Chainsaw

Late fall and early winter are a time when many people are out in the woods cutting up downed trees to use as firewood during the long winter. Unfortunately, this is also the time when many chainsaw accidents happen and people need immediate emergency care even if it's giving by someone who never gives first aid. If you don't know first aid and you see someone who has cut their arm with a chainsaw, here is what you should do to determine how serious the wound is and how you should treat it until experienced emergency medical personnel arrive.

Blood Loss

The only thing that will kill a person who has cut their arm with a chainsaw is blood loss. Every chainsaw accident scene will likely be bloody, but not all of them will be life threatening. You need to determine right away if the blood loss is life threatening or not. The easiest way to determine if it is life threatening is by at how the blood is seeping out of the arm. The worst case scenario for blood loss is cutting an artery. A cut artery will spurt the blood out of the wound. A vein will ooze blood out at a slower pace. If you see the blood spurting, the person is in serious trouble.

Apply Pressure to Wound

The first thing you want to do is apply pressure to the wound, and you want to apply it with a sterilized bandage or something similar. Chances are you won't have sterilized bandages with you. In this case, ask women who might nearby for sanitary napkins you can use. The important thing is that you don't infect the wound with bacteria.

Raise Arm

You want to make it as hard you can for the heart to pump blood through the wounded arm. Raising the arm makes it harder for the pump to push blood up into the arm and this normally reduces the amount of blood loss. You should raise the arm while applying pressure to the wound.


There are movies out there that show people putting tourniquets on bleeding arms and legs. This is something to be avoided and used only if you can't stop the bleeding by applying pressure and raising the arm. Cutting off the lower arm from a fresh blood supply allows the blood in the lower arm to deteriorate and become poisonous. The poison could travel to other parts of the body after the tourniquet is removed and can cause serious illness and possible death.

If you do have to apply a tourniquet to slow down the bleeding, you want to record the exact time you do it. This will help the doctors in the emergency room determine how much poison has built up in the lower arm and how they should treat the person who cut their arm so they get well. You should record the time by writing it in military time on the patient's forehead at the time you apply the tourniquet to the arm. This way, even if the patient passes out due to blood loss, the doctors will be able to determine the amount of poison because they will know how much time has passed since the tourniquet was applied.

Depending on the severity of the accident, take the injured person to an urgent care center like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center or to a hospital emergency room if need be.