- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

D.C. police officers are receiving emergency care kits that include things like tourniquets and bandages, enabling them to provide some medical care if they are the first to encounter an injured person.

The Metropolitan Police Department distributed 300 kits this week to give officers basic tools they can use to provide life-saving medical care when they arrive at the scene of an emergency ahead of medical crews. The kits are being distributed in conjunction with training provided to the officers through a tactical emergency casualty care course that teaches them the proper use of the supplies included as well as tactical medical treatment protocol.

“Our officers are often the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency, and they are frequently confronted with serious medical situations. The emergency care kits and training allow us to provide vital medical attention during those first crucial minutes, which can often mean the difference between life and death,” Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

In addition to tourniquets and bandages, the kits also include airway stabilization tubes.

Ed Smith, president of the D.C. Firefighters Association, said he wasn’t familiar with the program but added that responding paramedics and emergency medical technicians rely on police officers to keep them safe while they administer aid to patients at the scenes of violent crimes. He acknowledged that the kits “could come in handy, just like citizens or police officers knowing CPR,” but he hopes the use of emergency kits by officers won’t take away from their other duties.

The head of the city’s police union said he doesn’t see any downside to the distribution and use of the kits, adding that police departments across the country have begun to use similar equipment.

“It’s a good tool to have, and the kits contain some pieces of equipment that could save someone’s life,” union chairman Delroy Burton said.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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