October 30


Emergency First Aid: The Secret Behind The Golden Hour

By Kit Arthur

October 30, 2021

minute read

Emergency first aid (also known as Trauma Care): How to increase your chances of survival if you get shot. You don't have to be a doctor to do this.

Emergency First Aid

The “Golden Hour” is a concept that was created by R Adams Cowley a military surgeon.  It states that if you can get an injured person emergency first aid treatment within 1 hour, that they have a higher chance of making a full recovery. It is because of his efforts, that we have the EMS and Combat Medics systems we do today.

In the recent War on Terror, medics found that if they could train every soldier on their team CLS (Combat Live Saver/Emergency First Aid) That even if they themselves couldn’t get to the injured soldier, that the injured soldier could self treat or receive treatment from a fellow soldier. The result was that more men survived their wounds than died from them.

How to increase your chances of survival if you get shot

If you get shot and need to perform emergency first aid on yourself, the first thing that you need to know is NOT to go digging around for a bullet. It won't be there, and if for some crazy chance that it is, you'll need to only worry about keeping yourself alive long enough to get professional care (our Trauma Care book will show you how to get a doctor's aid even if it is not safe to go to a hospital.)

The second thing you need to do is identify which type of bleeding that you are dealing with. There are arterial bleeds and vascular bleeds.


This is a slow flowing bleed that’s not hot to the touch, and is not bright red. It is basically a cut that hasn’t hit an artery. It may have just cut the skin, muscle, and/or the veins. It will stop by applying pressure. Use an Israeli pressure dressing for serious bleeds. If the wound bleeds through the pressure dressing, then it is an Arterial bleed. Put a tourniquet on it fast!


An arterial bleed is bright red blood that is very oxygenated as it is coming straight from the heart. It may be squirting (due to the heart beating) or flowing like a river (that’s how I would describe a femoral bleed that I worked on once) depending on how far from the heart it is.

Also it will be hot to the touch. You might see squirting with the Carotid and Brachial arteries. The Femoral doesn’t usually squirt, instead it flows very rapidly. The bleeding will not stop with a pressure dressing. 

You will have to use a tourniquet or Quick Clot. This is depending on where the wound is. The issue here is that an Arterial bleed will cause the patient to go unconscious within 1 minute. And with in 2 minutes, they will have so little blood in their body that you can’t save them. So act fast when dealing with this.

Emergency First Aid - Surviving life-threatening injuries

Also, something else was learned from the Gold Hour and emergency first aid (or trauma care). Men that were injured with “Non-Life Sustaining Injuries” (You will learn about that in triaging)  were still making it. Now soldiers were surviving even when they were not supposed to. This is all due to the advancements found in the medical field, and emergency first aid treatment within the golden hour.  

Unfortunately, what has not been documented is the innumerable times that a medic has saved a soldier’s life or spared them greater suffering through preventative medicine (which we address in our Trauma Care book.)

Share this article if you learned something valuable!

When preparing for war or hard times, don't forget to think about preventative work, medical treatment and emergency first aid. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Kit Arthur

About the author

Arthur is the founder and CEO of Tackleberry Solutions. He created this business to teach others realistic wartime tactics based off of personal experience and training. This is contradictory to other tactical instructional classes that focus on the shooting aspect for "tacticool" looks and "accuracy" instead of real-life wartime scenarios. - Arthur has dedicated his life to saving others from hardships and war. His core belief is that the only answer to surviving mass devastation is by being prepared & working together. His goal is to teach that concept to as many people as possible.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}