Stop the bleed: Training could save a life during mass-casualty situation

- When crisis and chaos strikes, every second counts. 

Some simple training will give you the tools to step-in and possibly save a life after a car crash or a mass casualty emergency.

They’re skills from the combat zone; lifesaving techniques meant to buy time until paramedics can get there.

“Somebody can bleed out within three minutes,” said Brad Hall, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Emergency Medicine and Trauma and Lakeland Regional Health. “Even in the best response times, you may not be able to get somebody on scene within that time.”

Since January, the hospital has been teaching ways to stop people from bleeding to death. 

Twice a month, anyone from the community can come to the free Basic Bleeding Control Course. 

It’s designed for folks with little to no medical training, learning simple skills that can save lives when the clock is ticking.

The focus is the ABC’s of bleeding:

1. Alert 911

2. Bleeding

Find the source of the bleeding, expose the wound, and determine if it’s life-threatening bleeding.

3. Compress

Apply continuous pressure to stop the bleeding by covering the wound with a clean cloth and push directly on it with both hands, or use a tourniquet to cut off blood flow to an injury on the arms or legs, or stuff the wound with gauze or any clean cloth you have handy and hold pressure to stop the bleed.

It could be a mass shooting, a car crash, or an accident at home, what happens in the first few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

For Susan Habusta, she plans to take these skills back to summer camp where she works as a nurse.

“I am at a camp in Michigan that is far away from a hospital, down a little road that’s gonna take us about a half an hour to get to it, “she said. “If we had a bleeding thing we need to get it under control fast.”

For nearly 90-minutes, participants get hands-on training, learning the effective, inexpensive ways to stop dangerous bleeding.

“The goal of this course is to put lifesaving skills in the hands of everybody, bystanders, your family, your friends, folks that are gonna be with people when unfortunate things happen,” said Hall.

The course is part of a nationwide initiative called Stop the Bleed. The program was launched in 2015 by the White House. 

The idea is to make the training as standard as CPR, and Trauma First Aid Kits common in public places like defibrillators.

If you’re interested in taking a free class, find one near you on

In Lakeland, visit for course information.

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