In 2017 there were more than 60 school-related shootings nationwide. With an uptick in trauma violence not only in the nation, but particularly in the school system, U. S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Stewart, Winn Army Community Hospital Emergency Department Soldiers and staff partnered with Liberty Regional Medical Center, Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Department of Homeland Security to instruct teachers, faculty, coaches and staff with the Liberty County School System during a Stop the Bleed training class Jan. 2, at the LCSS board of education.
Winn ACH Trauma team have spent the past few years prepping for a Level IV Trauma Center Designation, and moving forward the importance of teaching others in the community how to help stabilize a bleeding victim, becomes more vital. Currently there is only one Level IV Trauma Center within a 50-mile radius of Fort Stewart, but once Winn becomes designated, the local community will benefit from this valued resource. The Stop the Bleed program is one of the steps moving Winn closer to its designation goal.
The Stop the Bleed campaign was initiated by a federal interagency workgroup convened by the National Security Council Staff. Locally, the Georgia Trauma Commission regionally funded the Stop the Bleed project 100 percent, and the program was implemented region-wide by the Regional Trauma Advisory Committee IX.
A grassroots effort is being made state-wide in Georgia to teach as many people as possible the correct way to help someone who has received an injury with uncontrolled bleeding. Winn Assistant Head Nurse, Michele Evans, who serves as the trauma manager in the emergency department at Winn, explained how important the Stop the Bleed program is to the school systems.
"I would tell teachers, it's not if it happens, it's when it happens," Evans said. "Schools are the most vulnerable places for mass shootings and we always need to be prepared and know how to respond in emergency situations."
Although the program is not being taught to students, the teachers were able to use simulated hands on learning tools, which may help save a student's life in the future. Throughout the boardroom, pool noodle covered PVC pipes with holes strategically cut in them, sat on the various tables, simulating arms and legs, in which tourniquets and bandages were applied during the trainings.
"It's important to have the teachers know how to respond in an emergency," Evans said, "In case there is ever a mass shooting … in the school system, they know how to respond for preventable deaths."
Participants were taught the importance of ensuring their own safety first, especially in a situation such as that of an active-shooter. The teachers, staff and coaches were taught to first call 9-1-1, then find the bleeding injury, compress by applying pressure to stop the bleeding.
Sincere Drake, a paraprofessional at Waldo Pafford Elementary School in Hinesville, Georgia said she found the training interesting, yet saddened because of the necessity.
Evans stressed the amount of time it takes before a trauma becomes a tragedy.
"It takes seconds, even minutes for someone to bleed out," Evans said, "and we need to be able to prepare for that. So we are implementing this program, so that we can save a life. First responders can take anywhere from five to ten minutes … to get on scene."
Anna Anderson, an Emergency Medical Service technician, and chairperson for the Regional Trauma Commission Education Committee, said it is important to implement the training into all parts of the community. As Winn works toward a Level IV Trauma Designation, training others in the Fort Stewart and surrounding communities will become even more important.
"Winn Army is an integral part of the community here in Hinesville and Liberty County, Anderson said. "We also need to make sure that this training is integrated into all levels of the community. This is a grassroots program that is not only taught to healthcare professionals, and law enforcement, we also teach it to Boy and Girl Scout groups. This is a program that everybody needs to be aware of and everybody needs to function in a lifesaving capacity if needed."
To date, the Winn Stop the Bleed team have trained more than 160 educators in the Liberty and Evans County school systems and the entire MEDDAC staff during an annual skills fair.