“Stop the bleeding, safe a life”
With the recent events involving mass shootings, we have all taken a hard look at how we would respond if something as tragic as this happened in our area. Although the numbers of people that die in these senseless acts are small when compared to other common events, it is important that we are prepared if it did occur in our back yard. It is interesting how the topic of tourniquets has come and gone and now come back in our scope of practice. At a recent EMS conference, I made a tally mark in my notes every time I heard the word “tourniquet”. At the end of the day I counted 25 marks! This month we will look at the Bleeding Control program offered by BleedingControl.org.
“Stop the Bleed” is a program being taught to civilians by healthcare professionals across this nation. As with CPR it also starts with some ABC’s. A- Alert yourself to the life-threatening bleeding. B- Recognize this is in fact a life-threatening bleed and begin to take life saving measures. C- Compress the bleeding with direct pressure, wound packing and hemostatic application, or use a tourniquet. Time is life. Everyone needs a hero on their worst day.
So how much blood can a person loose? An adult can loose 30 to 40 percent of their blood volume. This is in the range of three to four pints. A very good way to demonstrate this is to fill a plastic two-liter bottle with water and dump it out on the truck bay floor. Four pints is 2.27 liters, so this is a great visual on the amount of blood loss that can be fatal in an adult.
Go online to BleedingContol.org and find an instructor or class in your area. Take an inventory of the equipment you currently have available to respond to severe bleeding. Consider purchasing a bleeding control kit.
Upon completion, the firefighter should be able to….
• Discuss recent mass casualty events.
• Identify target hazards in your service area.
• Inventory your bleeding control resources.
• Demonstrate the ability to identify severe bleeding.
Scott Meinecke is a member of the Sheldon Volunteer Fire Department, an instructor for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, and field staff for the Fire Service Training Bureau. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org