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First, ensure your own safety.
A: Alert — call 9-1-1.
B: Bleeding — find the bleeding injury.
C: Compress — apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure by pushing directly with both hands; Or using a tourniquet; or packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both bands.
To find an upcoming class near you about bleeding first aid, go to cms.bleedingcontrol.org/class/search.
Theresa Carrol stood over a prosthetic wound as it spouted fake blood and quickly stuffed it with gauze. She was one of 60 community members learning how to pack wounds and apply pressure in emergency situations.
“I don’t want to feel helpless in an emergency situation like Las Vegas,” said Carrol, a Westminster resident. “It affected me deeply.”
Carrol said that with events like the mass shooting, which occurred in Las Vegas Oct. 1, and the 2012 mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, she felt a need to be able to act.
The “Stop the Bleed” class, taught by the St. Anthony Hospital Trauma Services on Oct. 19 at the Arvada Fire Training Center, was one of eight classes taught in the two weeks since the Las Vegas shooting.
With incidents such as Las Vegas, the Orlando nightclub and the Aurora theater shootings, society has learned bystanders will always be first on the scene, no matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, said Robert Hayes, RN trauma injury prevention specialist for St. Anthony Hospital.
Hayes said that since the Oct. 1 shooting, the community has been looking for ways to help. The Arvada class was the largest attendance of the Stop the Bleed class since the program began in Jefferson County last spring.
“It’s personally very gratifying to see the concern people have,” said Dr Robert Madayag, trauma surgeon at St. Anthony Hospital. “The number one preventable cause of deaths is bleeding.”
But Hayes and Madayag both pointed out that life-threatening bleeds can occur for a variety of reasons.
“Right now everyone is thinking about Vegas and what can occur with mass shootings and bombings, but these injuries can also occur when you’re hiking, cycling, at work or in a car accident.”
Arvada resident Steve Camins wanted to learn the correct way to stop bleeding because he is active and also has four granddaughter.
“You never know whats going to happen,” he said. “If something happens, I would like to be prepared to deal with it.”
A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes. Madayag, who taught the class, told attendees that if there was one take-away from the night it would be “compression, compression, compression.”
“Recognize the bleeding and hold pressure,” Madayag said, adding that the first things someone should do is call 9-1-1. “The purpose is to be a first responder before first responders get there.”
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