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Be prepared to save a life — know how to respond in a bleeding emergency

Published in Emergency Services, For the Health of It

The ABCs of Bleeding: Ensuring Your Own Safety

A: Alert — Call 911.

B: Bleeding — Find the bleeding injury.

C: Compress — Apply pressure to stop the bleeding by:

  • Covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, OR
  • Using a tourniquet  — Trauma Services recommends the C.A.T. Tourniquets at on this page)
  • Or, packing (filling) the would with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.

We all may become an unintentional witness to a traumatic event in our lifetime: motor vehicle crashes, falls or recreational injuries are just a few instances to name. Trauma can occur any place and at any time with serious consequence such as uncontrollable bleeding. If put into this situation, are we prepared to know what to do?

Without having a background in first aid responder training, we do our best by calling 9-1-1 and then wait for professional emergency responders to arrive. However, 5-10 minutes is all it takes for a person to die from rapid blood loss. As a passerby and first on scene, we have the opportunity to save a life by taking immediate action to initiate a few basic methods to control blood loss.

This is why the Trauma Services Department at St. Cloud Hospital has taken a passion for employing the Stop the Bleed Campaign. Our aim is to provide all persons within our communities the tools and knowledge of how to respond in an emergency where bleeding control is essential to saving a life by use of tourniquet application and or proper wound packing.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma. We can make a difference and change this!

Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. It is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

To help our mission in embracing the Stop the Bleed campaign in your community, you can request a course and we will come to you! You can anticipate learning the primary principles of immediate bleeding control response (see sidebar).

Connect with Melissa Hjelle, Injury Prevention Specialist for more information or to invite us to offer a course near you. Call 320-251-2700, ext. 52574, or email

Stop the Bleed Campaign is an initiative founded by the American College Surgeons, The Committee on Trauma and The Hartford Consensus.