ST. LOUIS – Every second counts in an emergency. In fact, bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death in trauma patients. The number of mass shootings in the U.S. is increasing every day, so knowing what to do if you find yourself in an unimaginable situation and controlling the bleeding can help save a life.

Dr. Chris Behr is a SLUCare Trauma Surgeon at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center. He explains the steps you should take to help stop the bleeding in an emergency situation before someone can get to a hospital.

“The first thing to do is to hold pressure if you can. Take gauze, take a shirt, or whatever you can to hold it directly over the wound,” he said. “Push hard and once you push, don’t let go. If that’s stopping it, if that’s controlling the bleeding that may be all you need.”

He warns that if pushing on the wound is not working, you need to find a tourniquet.

“Put the tourniquet past the wound and tighten it as much as you can,” he said.

Behr says their Stop the Bleed classes educate police, fire, and EMS on how to stop a potentially fatal bleed. He says their classes educate teachers and the public on how to use a kit and the techniques needed to save a life.

“If you don’t have a tourniquet, anything you can put around and tie tightly. You want to get it right before the wound and tie it enough to stop the bleeding. A tie, a shirt, belts; anything that can replace the gauze,” he said.

Kits can be purchased on Amazon or in most pharmacy locations.

Behr says trauma professionals would love it if people had the kit and the knowledge on how to control bleeding.

“If you can get the bleeding stopped and get them to us, we can take care of them and, most of the time, can leave the hospital alive,” he said.

To learn more about Stop the Bleed, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.