Emergency first responders are trained in a variety of life-saving skills. But what about the typical person who may inadvertently find themselves the first person on the scene of an emergency?

Trumbull EMS and various other agencies including police and medical services, held a training class Monday on treating serious bleeding. While no substitute for proper EMS training, the class showed those in attendance what to do while waiting for help to arrive. The event was part of a national movement promoted by American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma and publicized through the website bleedingcontrol.org.

“The most important thing is for people to understand how important it is to quickly take action to control bleeding,” said EMS Chief Joseph Laucella. Someone bleeding from a serious injury can die in three-to-four minutes. Even with a fantastic EMS response, the ambulance probably won’t be there for four or five, maybe six minutes. If the first person there can provide care, that literally can be the difference in the victim surviving, or not.”

More than 30 people attended the session, which included lectures on preparation and practical hands-on training in things like bandaging and packing wounds, treating shock, applying tourniquets, and more.

“Just being prepared to take action in the event of an emergency is important,” Laucella said. “Even in the course of a normal day, maybe there’s a car crash and you’re in the first car after it, or someone trips and falls into a glass coffee table.”

Laucella said identifying the severity of the injury, and knowing what action to take, was key.

“It really depends on what part of the body where the injury is,” Laucella said. “For example, an arterial injury, with bright red, spurting blood, it’s crucial to stop as soon as possible.”

The other important lesson is for bystanders to make sure it is safe to provide assistance before getting involved.

“Their safety is imperative, we don’t want anyone getting involved if it’s going to put them in danger,” Laucella said. “Make sure it’s safe, call 911, then do what you can to stop the bleeding. We can save lives if people just understand the importance of stopping the bleeding and can take basic action.”