What To Do If A Shark Or Barracuda Attacks
1. Stay as calm as possible. Get the victim out of the water as quickly as possible. Get
medical help as soon as you can. In the meantime, follow the steps below.
2. Put pressure directly over any areas that are bleeding. Do this by putting a thick folded
cloth under the palm or heel of your hand or by wrapping a stack of gauze squares over the
wound with an elastic wrap, or by pressing on the wound with your bare fingers. If the bandage
soaks through, unwrap it and make sure it is directly over the bleeding area. Most bleeding
stops with direct pressure. After you begin to put pressure directly on the wound, don't peek
underneath or release the pressure for at least 10 minutes. It may take this long for the
blood to clot and the bleeding to stop. Putting a cold pack over the area where pressure is
being applied may help the bleeding stop sooner. Wounds to the scalp (head) tend to bleed
for a long time so you may need to apply pressure longer to injuries in this area.
3. The injured person should lie down. The injured area should be raised so that it is
higher than the person's heart.
4. If you have put pressure on the injury by wrapping it with bandages or cloth, make
certain it is not so tight that you are cutting off blood circulation below the injured area.
For example, if the person's leg or arm has been wrapped, his toes and fingers should
still be pink (not blue) and should not go numb.
5. Usually, pressing directly on the wound will stop the bleeding. Uncontrollable bleeding
is rare unless part of the person's body has been amputated (cut off) or a major blood vessel
is torn. A more dangerous way to stop bleeding is to put strong pressure on the artery at a
"pressure point" above the injury or to put a tourniquet around the arm or leg. Usually, these
extreme methods should only be used by medical experts, because using one of these methods
often means that the person's arm or leg will need to be amputated. If bleeding is so severe
that you cannot stop it with direct pressure, and the person is in danger of bleeding to
death, you may have to use one of these methods. To apply pressure to the artery, choose the
pressure point closest to the wound between the wound and the heart. These pressure points are
directly over the artery on the wrist, at the elbow, and near the groin. Pressing firmly at one
of these pressure points will stop nearly all blood from circulating below the pressure point.
To use a tourniquet, wrap a piece of cloth or elastic close to the wound between the heart and
the wound. Tighten it just enough so that bleeding can be controlled by direct pressure to the
wound. You should release the tourniquet briefly every 10 to 15 minutes to see if it is still
necessary. The decision to use a tourniquet or apply pressure to a pressure point on the artery
means that the person will probably lose his arm or leg in order to save his life.
6. If the person is bleeding from a severe cut in the neck do not disturb the wound. You
might disrupt a blook clot and cause even more bleeding. Put cloth or gauze over the wound and
apply firm pressure (but do not press so firmly that you choke the victim).
7. If there is a cut where internal organs or bones are sticking out, do not try to push
them back inside. Cover them with most bandages. The moist bandages should be held in place
without too much pressure.
8. If there is a serious injury to the person's chest area, all open wounds should be
covered right away, especially if they are "bubbling".
9. After you have controlled the bleeding, keep the injured part from moving. You may need
to make a splint (a thin piece of wood tied to the injured arm or leg to keep the arm or leg
from moving). Check bandages regularly to be sure that swelling has not made the bandages too
10. If a person has been scratched by a shark "bumping," control the bleeding, wash the
scratch with soap and water, and rinse it with fresh water (use ocean water only if no fresh
water is available). Cover it loosely with a sterile bandage.