JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three-to-six minutes. That's how long it would take to bleed to death.

When emergencies happen and you have a life-threatening bleed, what happens in the first three minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

"First, you need to make sure you're safe yourself," said Dr. Brian Yorkgitis, a trauma surgeon at UF Health in Jacksonville. "So if you're on I-95, being in the lane of traffic is not the safest place. Where it's an active shooter situation or maybe an industrial accident, you need to be safe first because the last thing we need is more victims."

Yorkgitis travels the country teaching what everyone should know to stop the bleed after an injury.

We invited him, flight paramedic J.D. Montgomery and the Trauma One team to First Coast News to teach us the ABC's of bleeding.

He said 'Step A' is to alert 911.

"In some of these chaotic situations, help may not be called because everyone thinks you're doing it or someone else is doing, so we ask you assign someone specifically or yourself," he said.

'Step B' is to find the bleeding, he said.

"Are they bleeding from leg, arm?," he asked. "You might have to take their clothes off to see a sign of bleeding."

And 'Step C' is compress. Yorkgitis said if you have a tourniquet and have been trained to use it, apply it as quickly as possible above the joint and don't loosen it, even if the patient complains it's too tight.

"Tighten and then twist and then lock it in place. I just saved my own life in seconds," he said.

Yorkgitis cautioned against using an improvised tourniquet like your belt or a string.

"Really need a commercially made tourniquet that really provides that good pressure and equal distribution to stop bleeding," he said. "It hurts to have a tourniquet applied but it saves a life. If you use a small string, you're not going to distribute that force and you're not going to help patient. You can actually make a venous tourniquet and you're going to make the patient worse."

If you don't have a tourniquet available and you have a large wound, the first thing you want to do is pack the wound. You can grab gauze if you have some nearby or if you don't have gauze, you can even use a towel, your shirt, a sock and stuff it into the wound as deep as you can. Once you've done that, you want to apply continuous, direct pressure until help arrives.

During the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, lives were saved by direct pressure, Yorkgitis said.

"There were no tourniquets inside that building but there were people that were willing to apply direct pressure and as a result they saved lives,' he said.

The most common mistake made is lifting up the gauze or towel to see if the bleeding has stopped.

"All that is going to do is allow the patient to bleed more," he said. "And it's going to disrupt any type of clot that has formed at the site of bleeding."

Whether treating yourself or someone else, these steps are proven to help save lives when the clock is ticking.

"It doesn't take long for you to lose enough blood for it to be fatal," he said. "So for people who are able to jump in and know what to do the better your chance of surviving."

Last Year Trauma One trained more than 1,000 people in the Jacksonville area. The training is free.

Click here to find out where you can find a local class and sign up