By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News
While police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel are recognized as the first responders to many crisis situations, Henry County Health Center wants to make sure citizens are prepared to be immediate responders.
On Saturday, March 31, HCHC held three Stop The Bleed training sessions throughout the afternoon to teach civilians how to save a life by ?stopping the bleeding.?
Lacey Harlan-Ralls, emergency department director at HCHC, said in the event of a mass shooting, it can take time before first responders are able to get to victims and administer aid. ?When police arrive on the scene, their first priority is to neutralize the threat,? she said. And even though EMTs may be on the scene, the site has to be secured before medical professionals are allowed in to help victims. ?They want to help (the victims),? Harlan-Ralls said of the police officers and EMTs, ?but they have to make sure the scene is safe before more people are allowed in.?
In these instances, it?s up to those around the shooting victim to save their lives. ?I truly believe the only thing worse than a death is a death that could have been prevented,? Harlan-Ralls said of shooting victims that bleed out before first responders can get to them.
Everyone who attended the training sessions received a Stop The Bleed kit and were instructed on how to use each component. Each kit has two pairs of latex-free gloves, two rolls of gauze dressing, a C-A-T tourniquet, an emergency bandage, one pair of trauma shears and a permanent marker.
The first thing to remember in an emergency situation, Harlan-Ralls told the classroom, is their ABCs.
(A)lert ? In the event of an emergency, alert authorities either by calling 911, pulling a fire alarm or any other means necessary.
(B)leeding ? In the event of an emergency, first find out who is bleeding. Once the victim has been identified the source of their bleeding must be determined.
(C)ompress ? Once the source of the bleeding is found, it can?t just be covered, the wound must be packed and direct pressure must be put on it.
Before administering aid to others, Harlan-Ralls said it?s important to take your own safety into account. ?Your safety should be your first priority,? Harlan-Ralls told the class. ?We don?t want you to become a victim.?
During the class, citizens received a hands on lesson on how to pack a wound. In the back of the Danny Eversmeyer Training Center Jacob Dodds, EMS operations coordinator/training specialist, had two training dummies legs, marred with various sized wounds, for guests to practice on.
Dodds instructed the guests to grab a spool of gauze and start stuffing it into the wound. ?You?ll be surprised how much it takes,? he said.
For the bullet wound Dodds was working on, it took two gauze rolls to fully pack the wound. But he wasn?t done yet. Dodds took a bandage, a long tan wrap that looked similar to an ace bandage, and wrapped it around the leg as tightly as possible. Then he placed his hands over the wound and pressed down.
While working on the wound, Dodds reiterated to the class that Iowa has good Samaritan laws, which allow civilians to perform aid without the fear of retribution if something were to go wrong.
Marion Conner and Janet Russell, both with EMT experience, attended the first session.
?This is something they should have done a long time ago,? Connor said of the Stop The Bleed initiative. Connor said the class gave him a more thorough and more efficient knowledge of wound packing techniques.
Russell said she had never worked much with tourniquets and was glad that part of the training session focused on that tool.
Dodds said his hope is to make Stop The Bleed training as prevalent as CPR training. Dodds added that the kits are not simply for mass shootings, but can also be used in the event of a farm or motor vehicle accident.
?We just want to raise awareness and get more people trained so they can help out in a critical situation.?
For more information on the Stop The Bleed campaign or to schedule a training session for an organization, call HCHC at 319-385-3141 and ask to speak to Harlan-Ralls or Dodds.