- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Emergency responders are working to get more people ready to help stop severe bleeding, starting with the Hastings Police Department.

During training sessions in the last two weeks, Hastings officers have been learning how to use tourniquets on themselves and others. The training is part of a national campaign to Stop the Bleed.

Curt Smith, assistant fire chief for Hastings Fire and Rescue, said the fire department is working with Mary Lanning Healthcare to provide the training at the local level.

The Hastings Tribune (https://bit.ly/2p1RBg0 ) reports that since law enforcement officers are often among the first to arrive at the scene of an injury, Smith said it makes sense for officers to be equipped and ready to administer blood control measures that could save a person’s life.

Time is crucial when dealing with seriously bleeding wounds, he said.

“People can bleed out in a matter of three minutes or less if it’s a major artery,” he said.

Even within the city limits of Hastings, it takes about four minutes between the time an incident occurs, a 911 call is made, emergency personnel are dispatched and responders arrive on scene.

Sgt. Brian Hessler said the Hastings Police Department was approached by the fire department and hospital about equipping officers with bleeding control kits and training officers in their use.

“We go to a lot of calls and find ourselves in situations where there are injured people,” Hessler said. “If there is trauma to an extremity, these tourniquets can be applied immediately if officers have them with them.”

Given the relatively low cost per officer and the simplicity of the devices, the Hastings Police Department bought a kit for each officer and a pouch to allow it to be carried on a belt so officers can be ready at all times. Hessler said it made sense for HPD to make the investment.

“This has life-saving potential,” he said. “We thought it was pretty cool that the hospital and fire department reached out to us.”

In situations where there is an active shooter or other hazard that wouldn’t allow emergency responders to reach victims, the training will allow officers to stop bleeding until the person can be extracted or the area made safe for medical personnel.

“You train for situations that may arise in the future,” Hessler said.

Smith said the fire department and hospital plan to reach out to other community sectors as well to encourage more people to understand bleeding control. Next on the list is working with schools and industry.

“It doesn’t have to be violent incident,” he said. “It could be a manufacturing facility where somebody gets something caught in or cut off from industrial equipment. They could immediately stop the bleeding until we got there.”

The goal is to make bleeding control kits readily available, much like fire extinguishers and automatic external defibrillators are found in many public buildings.

Smith said the national movement was inspired by military training and advancements in tourniquet technology.

“You have a better chance of surviving a gunshot wound or an IED explosion in the middle of Afghanistan or Iraq than you do in a major city in the U.S. because everyone there carries bleeding control and is taught bleeding control,” he said.

The American College of Surgeons and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are among partners helping to promote the Stop the Bleed campaign.


Information from: Hastings Tribune, https://www.hastingstribune.com

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