This post originally appeared on the Medical City ER LifeSigns blog.

An emergency trauma situation like a car accident or a shooting can lead to life-threatening blood loss in minutes. Did you know you may be able to save a life by learning to stop the bleed?

Stop the Bleed was a national awareness campaign initiated by the White House in 2015 to encourage the public to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Stop the bleed and save a life.

On this first-ever National Stop the Bleed Day, HCA Healthcare and its affiliates want to teach members of our communities how to safely intervene should they come across someone with a bleeding injury.

“The people who are going to be able to render aid are the ones that are there,” said Jennifer Turner, Trauma Program Manager at Medical City Lewisville, an affiliate of HCA in North Texas. “So after you’ve identified where the bleeding wound is, you’re going to take a piece of gauze or clothing and start packing it inside the wound. Once you’ve wrapped your extra material around the wound, you want to apply pressure until first responders arrive.”

As many as 20 percent of people who die from traumatic bleeding injuries could have survived had there been a skilled bystander to stop the bleed, according to the American College of Surgeons.

Here are the basic steps to stop the bleed, which will be expanded on and practiced in a class.

Stop the Bleed training.

  • Safety first:
    • Get yourself and the injured person to safety
  • Call 911 or ask another person to make the call
  • Determine where the person is bleeding
    • Apply firm, steady pressure with hands
  • Apply a pressure dressing (pack the wound)
    • Pack the wound with gauze, a piece of clothing or other material and wrap extra material around the wound; press firmly
  • Apply one or more tourniquets as needed
    • Tourniquets can only be applied to arms and legs
    • Place the first one 2 to 3 inches closer to the torso than the bleeding
    • Tourniquets can be applied over clothing
    • If bleeding continues, place a second tourniquet 2 to 3 inches above the first

Stop the Bleed kits and supplies.

Similar to having a first-aid kit or jumper cables in your car, you may want to keep a bleeding control kit there as well. Or in your office, classroom or even your purse. You can purchase Stop the Bleed’s official bleeding control kits in singles or larger units or assemble one of your own using the same high-quality products. STB kits contain:

  • Bleeding control instructional booklet
  • C-A-T™ tourniquet (brand recommended by trauma medics)
  • QuikClot® Bleeding Control Dressing™
  • Mini Sharpie™ marker
  • 1 pair protective gloves
  • Compression bandage

You can search for a Stop the Bleed class at BleedingControl.org or check with your local hospital to find out if they are hosting any bleeding control classes.

HCA 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.