May is national Stop the Bleed month and the push is on locally to make sure as many people as possible learn those life-saving lessons.
“This is probably the most important training that’s out there for the public,” said Dan Leven, deputy fire coordinator for Niagara County.
Members of the public can be the difference between life and death in a trauma situation if they know what to do.
A person can bleed to death in under five minutes, and it often takes longer than that for medical personnel to arrive. Community members who have been trained to assist are critical in those situations.
“I think everyone should be empowered with it,” said Jeff Abbott, Trauma & Injury Prevention Coordinator at Oishei Children’s Hospital. “My kids teach this class with me. They’re 15, 13, and 11. I think it should be taught in every school. Basic first aid, CPR, and bleeding control.”
Stop the Bleed training came about after the Sandy Hook school shooting, when children bled to death waiting for medical help.
“All the powers that be got together and tried to figure out how this happened and realized that a) people didn’t recognize life threatening bleeding and b)how to stop it,” Abbott explained.
That happens more than you might think.
Bleeding out is the most common preventable cause of death in trauma situations, like car crashes, hunting accidents, and more.
That’s why the push is on to get more people to go through Stop the Bleed training.
“Typical training is about an hour. Little bit less. They just changed the program where you have a 20-25 minute presentation and the rest is hands on,” Leven explained.
Training lessons focus on wound packing with hemostatic gauze, as well as properly applying tourniquets. Abbott says both items are available on Amazon and from other retailers, and some people can use FSAs to pay for them.
Abbott says just as you carry a first aid kit or even Narcan with you, you should carry wound packing materials and a tourniquet, or at least know how to create them with materials at hand like a bra strap or phone charger.
That’s a change in message from what many people who went through basic First Aid training over the years may have heard. Up until about ten years ago, people were taught to use tourniquets only as a last resort because they can lead to limb amputations.
However, the best practices have changed and the message is it is better to lose a limb than to lose too much blood.
“It’s a first line intervention,” Abbott said. “We learned in combat that bleeding out causes death and tourniquets and wound packing save lives.”
Western New Yorkers can learn all the latest best practices through a local training session.
In Niagara County, you can schedule a Stop the Bleed training in Niagara County, call the Niagara County Department of Health and Emergency Services Stop the Bleed Coordinators: Francisco Meza Aguero at (716)439-7436 or Dan Leven at (716)438-3177.
The Akron Fire Department is hosting a free Stop the Bleed training session on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Click here for details.
To find Stop the Bleed training elsewhere, click here for a list of classes or call your county health department or local fire department for guidance.