You can save a life in a mass casualty emergency before help arrives

Updated: Feb. 16, 2018 at 11:00 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Every second counts when it comes to saving a life, no matter how fast emergency crews get there.

We saw the panic in the recent mass school shooting like in Parkland, FLthis week.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to help if you find yourself in any sort of emergency like that?

The Stop the Bleed campaign started after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.

The medical community realized many victims in mass shootings like this died because they bled out before help arrived.

And if bystanders stepped in, maybe some people could have been saved.

"We can't change what happens, but we can at least empower people to act," said Todd Baker, the EMS coordinator for Northern Ohio Trauma System.

NOTS is a joint effort between MetroHealth System, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Akron General.

Baker teaches classes for Stop the Bleed with everyday people who have no medical training.

"So we don't use big words, we use words that people can understand. There's a simple concept, it's the ABCs of bleeding control," Baker said.

Baker gave Cleveland19 a demonstration on a dummy at MetroHealth in Cleveland.

He says the first step in an emergency is always to call 911.

"So the first thing is to alert, the second is to identify bleeding," Baker said.

You may have to remove some clothing to find the wound.

Next you'll want to get the person on a firm surface and apply pressure.

"But if somebody has a large laceration and you have a dressing, a towel, a shirt, something, and there's life-threatening bleeding, I want to apply the dressing directly over top of the wound," Baker said.

If you have a trauma first aid kit, grab a tourniquet for injured arms or legs.

"The way we would a tourniquet is simply put it two to three inches above the injury. We want to stay away from elbows and bulky clothes," Baker said.

"You want to keep turning until the bleeding stops," he said, showing us how the tourniquet works.

If you can't find a tourniquet, he says just use a towel or clothing.

Remember a person can bleed to death in just minutes, so Tod says there's no time to make a makeshift one.

Keep in mind when you're applying pressure correctly, it's going to hurt the person you're helping.

"So they may feel that they're helping somebody and the person they're helping screams. And the natural impulse is that you're doing something wrong, when in reality that's what needs to happen," Baker said.

Volunteers with Stop the Bleed want to see hemorrhage control kits in public places that carry AED's.

They cost about $50 a kit and include a tourniquet like this.

Baker says he is exploring funding options to get the kits for public areas here in Northeast Ohio.

You can attend a local class on National Stop the Bleed Day on March 31st. To find out more, click here.

Baker is still trying to get more fire departments to host classes.

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