ORLANDO, Fla. – In a potential mass casualty situation, seconds count when it comes to saving the life of an injured person.
Without help, a person can bleed to death within five to 10 minutes. That's why the American College of Surgeons and the Hartford Consensus created the Stop the Bleed initiative to help educate and train everyday people on how to assist someone who is suffering from severe blood loss.
"Our goal is to train every American in basic bleeding control techniques and to work tirelessly toward placing bleeding control kits in every public venue, including schools, community centers, places of worship, and stadiums," the American College of Surgeons wrote in a 2018 progress report.
In Florida -- a state that has been the site of two mass shootings in just as many years -- has 547 Stop the Bleed instructors who have trained 7,398 people, according to the report.
Officials recommend following the steps below in a blood loss situation:
- Immediately call 911 to alert first responders.
- Make sure you are safe before you attempt to help someone else. Get yourself and the victim out of harm's way, if possible.
- Wear gloves, if available, to protect against blood-borne infections.
- Look for the source of the bleeding, which may require removing the victim's clothing.
- Identify any life-threatening bleeding, which could include blood pooling on the ground, blood spurting from a wound, clothing soaked with blood or confusion or unconsciousness in the victim.
- If a first aid kit is not available, use a clean cloth to cover the wound.
- For deep or large wounds, use that cloth to "stuff" the injury.
- Push down and hold pressure on the wound until first responders arrive.
- A tourniquet can be used on life-threatening bleeding on the arm or leg by placing the tourniquet 2-3 inches above the bleeding site.
- A tourniquet should never be placed on a joint.