Stop the Bleed
BOHEMIA—More than 800 teachers from Connetquot School District took Stop the Bleed classes on Thursday, April 5 to learn key lifesaving skills, including tourniquet and wound treatment. The event, which was held at Connetquot High School, was organized by Stony Brook Medicine’s Trauma Center with support from EMS Community Ambulance and the Lakeland Fire Department.
Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign launched by Homeland Security and the American College of Surgeons in October 2015. Beginning as a grassroots effort to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives, the Stop the Bleed initiative is currently in all 50 states and almost 40 countries.
During his seminar in the high school’s auditorium last week, Stony Brook trauma educator and EMS outreach coordinator Colby Rowe explained that uncontrolled bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death from trauma.
Rowe said Stop the Bleed was a response to the string of mass shootings in our country. But he also stressed this basic training is “practical everywhere,” being that trauma is the leading cause of death in the United States among ages 1 to 46.
He also said the “golden hour,” or the first hour after the occurrence of a traumatic injury, which is considered the most critical for successful emergency treatment, is a “good principle,” but explained that most victims of trauma die within 10-20 minutes. “That’s why it’s all the more important to stop the external bleeding and get the victim to a trauma surgeon,” who could also attend to any internal bleeding, said Rowe.
Rowe stressed that it doesn’t matter whether the cloth you use to pack a wound is clean, since the victim will be put on antibiotics regardless. He recalled one time when a victim’s wound was packed with an “oily mechanic rag.”
“It did the job,” Rowe said.
First-aid kits are not the same as trauma kits, and the fact that people on blood thinners will “bleed faster” were among some of his other side notes. Rowe also said Connetquot was one of the first school districts in Suffolk County to support Stop the Bleed, which has been taught in over 20 districts in the county.
Stop the Bleed’s ultimate goal is to reach 300,000,000 U.S. citizens. This is quite an undertaking, considering the U.S., as of last year, has a population of just over 325,000,000, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Stony Brook Medicine’s Trauma Center has trained more than 3,500 people across Long Island.
Teachers and other faculty members participated in brief demonstrations on how to pack a wound. Multiple participants commented on how much packing it took to seal the simulated wound.
“Unless the victim is unconscious, they’re going to feel the wound being packed,” said Lakeland Fire Department EMT James Farrell, adding that in an emergency situation, it’s important to “stay calm.”
Some participants admitted that wouldn’t be so easy, particularly in an active shooter scenario.
There are over 5,500 classes and over 9,000 instructors registered on BleedingControl.org, which has become the leading portal for bleeding control information, international stories of Stop the Bleed’s efforts, and approved training materials. According to their website, the campaign has taught more than 100,000 individuals, but is always looking for continued participation and support.
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