ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - After a traumatic injury occurs medical professionals say a patient is in the 'golden hour'. This is where prompt medical attention can prevent death. That time frame is even more critical when mass casualties and other tragedies arise, and paramedics can't immediately reach the scene.
"Nobody thinks it can happen in their town until it happens in their town," said Rapides Regional Trauma Surgeon Dr.Jeremy Timmer.
Still, unforeseen tragedies occur often.
"Mass casualty shootings, school shootings, that's what is making the headlines now," Dr. Timmer said.
He wants the community to be prepared if they found themselves in a similar situation where they need to save a life.
"You might have life-saving people on the sidelines," Dr. Timmer said. "But, if there is still an active shooter situation or something that is deemed unsafe they can't go in and provide care to patients that are injured."
He said bystanders should follow the ABCs: Alert, bleeding and compress.
First, they need to alert 911.
"Sometimes we can't undo what time has already done," Dr. Timmer said. "Take the minute to call 911 and let them know what is going on."
Next, locate the source of the bleeding.
"As you get higher up in the leg, the closer you get to the heart, the bigger the blood vessels are and the more they can bleed," Dr. Timmer said.
Then it's time to compress the wound.
"You can simply put protective gauze over it and apply direct pressure," Dr. Timmer said.
If you don't have access to gauze he said use your T-shirt or the victim's T-shirt.
"I'd rather you use that old dirty T-shirt to save their life and let me deal with the infection, or the risk of infection when you get them to the Emergency Department," Dr. Timmer said.
Although, he prefers 'Combat Quick Clot Gauze' which is used by the military and can be purchased online.
If direct pressure fails, he said a tourniquet is an option
However, he thinks bystanders should use it as a last resort. He said medical professionals use it with ease, but others wouldn't know when to allow blood flow to the injury. This could cause loss of a limb.
"There is an old saying life over limb," Dr. Timmer said. "If this is going to save their life I think most people would rather be alive then lose a leg, or lose a foot or lose an arm then to be dead."
He hopes the ABCs increase a victim's chance of survival.
"If 20 people were shot and they bleed to death on the scene, there is not a thing I can do at the hospital if they don't get to me alive," Dr. Timmer said.