Living in a world where the actions of unstable people, the dangerous impulses of friends and relatives, and terrorism are very real and becoming increasingly more frequent, quick action can help save the life of someone suffering from massive bleeding.
“If someone is bleeding and you are going to wait for paramedics or police officers to provide help, someone could die,” said Detective Sgt. Mark Pieper of the Eau Claire Police Department.
In an effort to help bystanders know what to do, Stop the Bleed training is being offered next week to Eau Claire County residents, organizations or businesses.
The free class — offered to anyone interested in attending — will focus on preventing people from bleeding to death after injury.
In a little over an hour, those attending one of the three classes will be taught how to use tourniquets, pack a wound with gauze and apply pressure to an injury as methods of reducing blood loss.
“Police departments, by their nature, are on the street 24-7, and typically (officers) are the first responders to any type of accident or injury,” said Pieper, noting officers in his department carry tourniquets and squad cars have additional medical equipment, including specially designed bandages used to stop the bleeding from hemorrhagic wounds.
Those supplies have been used to treat a number of people, including armed subjects shot by law enforcement officers and a child suffering an arterial bleed after punching a window, he said.
“Even before we get called, someone (more often than not) has come across the situation before us, and … we want to empower the public to be more than bystanders,” Pieper said.
Stop the Bleed training is being offered at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Eau Claire Fire Department’s Station 10, 820 Malden Ave.
The program’s history dates back to April 2013. Just a few months after an armed Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and shot and killed 26 people, a committee was formed under the leadership of trauma surgeon Lenworth Jacobs Jr. to create a protocol for national policy to enhance survivability from active shooter and intentional mass casualty events.
One of the committee’s recommendations was to turn bystanders into immediate responders at the scene, a step aimed at improving the survivability of victims with severe bleeding.
That recommendation gained widespread recognition in October 2015 when Stop the Bleed, a national awareness campaign and a call to action, was launched by the White House.
As of December, Stop the Bleed has been offered in almost 90 countries and in all 50 states, according to BleedingControl.org, and more than 500,000 people have been trained.
“It’s an awesome idea as long as equipment is available and people are trained,” said Jon Schultz, deputy chief of operations-emergency medical services for the Eau Claire Fire Department.
“If a severe injury (with bleeding) occurs, you might not have a lot of time to save someone’s life,” he said.
Knowing that, Fall Creek police Chief Chad Dachel solicited donations from area businesses five or six years ago and used the funds to put together boxes for each classroom in the village’s school district and some offices with supplies that could be used to stop bleeding, including tourniquets, gauze and compression bandages.
“Here, we were short on first responders and medical services came out of Eau Claire,” Dachel said.
Liking the idea, the regional trauma advisory committee made similar kits for high schools in the region, Schultz said.
“You hope they’re never needed, but if they are, they are available,” Schultz said.