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Stop the Bleed campaign makes a stop in NW Iowa

Do you know how to care for an open wound until paramedics arrive?

From a young age we are told to call 911 for emergencies.

But imagine a situation in a rural community where paramedics cannot arrive for a number of minutes.

"Severe bleeding uncontrolled can cause death in five to ten minutes," says Lynette Kiger, director of Akron EMS.

That is why the American College of Surgeons set up a national campaign called "Stop the Bleed". It is very similar to first aid, but takes it a step further.

"It is intended to teach bystanders and the general public on how to apply bleeding control in life threatening situations," says Kiger.

Kiger will aid in Mercy Medical Center's goal of training 1,000 people in northwest Iowa three simple steps of this program.

Step one is to apply direct pressure to an open wound.

Step two, if a wound is particularly deep or large, is to pack the wound with a cloth or gauze.

If necessary, step three is to use a tourniquet, or a belt, to cut off blood flow to the wound.

"What you want to do is apply the tourniquet as tightly as you can and twist it several times if you need to until it cuts off the circulation," says Kiger. "You will not be able to feel any pulses in that arm if that tourniquet is applied properly, and the bleeding will stop."

Kiger feels it is important for everyone to learn this life saving technique.

"It could happen to somebody in your house. It could happen out on one of the farms. You could be out in a car accident with somebody and need to do this," says Kiger. "You never know where a bleeding emergency is going to happen."

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