'Stop the Bleed' training helping public save lives

May 23, 2019 06:42 PM

Thursday was "National Stop the Bleed Day." It's an effort to get as many people trained in how to stop bleeding in the event of a traumatic event like a mass shooting.

Approximately 40-percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences. So if you can stop the bleed, you can save lives.


On Wednesday, NewsChannel 13's Elaine Houston took part in a "Stop the Bleed" class with NewsChannel 13's Benita Zahn.

The takeaways are simple and clear. In short, anyone can learn this lifesaving lesson.

On average, a person can bleed out in two to five minutes following a traumatic injury. On average it takes seven to 10 minutes for first responders to arrive. That's what makes the "Stop the Bleed" program so important - to train as many of us to stop the bleed. Odds are, if you're involved in a traumatic event, you'll be called on to save lives - even your own.

Registered nurses Eileen Breckenridge and Tina Bagley from Nathan Littauer Hospital teach in the hour-long stop the bleed class.

"I can't go in until I know there's not another active shooter. I can't go in until I know there's not another bomb. So you guys are going to have to take care of each other," said Breckenridge. "Recognize bleeding. Look for it. Don't be afraid to use the tourniquet."

Despite what you might have been told before, they're clear - there's no downside to applying a tourniquet. It will stop the bleed and help save a life.

"So it goes on, so if this is my wound, two to four inches above the wound and we tighten this until we can't tighten it anymore," said Breckenridge, demonstrating on cylinder model.

If not a tourniquet, then apply pressure and wait for emergency crews.

Bullet or knife wound, pack it with whatever's available.

"When I'm packing these wounds, I mean, just in five minutes of sitting here I would never have guessed that that was something that you could actually do," said NewsChannel 13 News Director Dave Jones.

"Stop the Bleed" kits, available commercially, contain treated gauze to help stop the bleed - along with protective gloves and a tourniquet.

When you're able to call for help, know what to tell the first responders.

"They need to look around and tell the dispatcher what they see," said Breckenridge.

Despite the training, it's natural to wonder - could you take action in an emergency. Breckenridge and Bagley say stop, breathe, think and do - lives depend on it.

"Heaven forbid you're at your job and something like that happens. I think it would just kick in and you could do it," said Elaine.

Especially if you remember that all bleeding eventually stops.

"It's about when it stops. We want it to stop before it becomes death," said Breckenridge.

The "Stop the Bleed" class takes about an hour. You get a certificate of completion.

Many county sheriff's departments - like Columbia County, are providing "Stop the Bleed" kits to schools and other community groups. Check with them. They're also available at many chain drug stores and on Amazon.

There's also an effort to get the kits placed with AEDs in all public places.

MORE INFORMATION: "Stop the Bleed"


Benita Zahn

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