Tie a knot, save a life

Tourniquet demonstration by Rural Metro. (WVLT)
Tourniquet demonstration by Rural Metro. (WVLT)(WVLT)
Published: Aug. 5, 2019 at 11:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Once tragedy strikes, like during an active shooter situation the clock starts ticking. A gunshot wound or a puncture needs immediate attention.

"Those are critical minutes," Jeff Bagwell with Rural Metro said.

Time that could mean life or death is spent waiting for help to arrive from paramedics.

"It's agonizing you have to sit there and watch from a distance," Bagwell said. "To have to wait on somebody to give you information and hope that people are surviving on the inside."

Bagwell says in a big store it could take police a long time to give the all clear for EMS to go in, meaning victims have to wait, and continue to bleed.

"Those are agonizing minutes for someone who's laying there bleeding," Bagwell said. "They have to search, aisle by aisle, to try to find this person, and ensure there is not another shooter."

That's where anyone who's already inside can help, with something you already have with you. A belt or even a piece of cloth will work. You just have to cinch it down tight to make a tourniquet. That can be used to stop the bleeding.

"If the wound is in the forearm, we want to go up around the bicep," Bagwell said. "We want to tighten it down to where we see the blood loss slowing down."

Taking a minute to help someone nearby could just save their life by stopping the bleeding until medical professionals arrive.

"In a mass casualty situation you may be able to impact several peoples' lives with just some basic common sense," Bagwell said.

The Department of Homeland Security is encouraging everyone to take a "stop the bleed" course. You can find classes online near you


Rural Metro offers them for free to any group, you can contact them at 865-560-0239.