By Hayley SmithOctober 11, 2018
CRANE, Ind. - Crane Army employees operate in an inherently dangerous environment. Workers handle high quantities of explosives, run heavy machinery, and many work in remote locations fifteen minutes or more away from first responders. The possibility of accident or injury is constant, which is why CAAA implemented a program, Stop the Bleed, to empower employees to assist victims of severe bleeding and buy time until emergency services arrive.
Stop the Bleed, a nationwide initiative started in response to mass casualty events, raises awareness of the propensity of severe bleeding injuries and encourages people to take action to protect themselves and their communities. Program participants undergo training to recognize severe bleeding and learn how to use Stop the Bleed-sanctioned emergency supply kits to provide immediate assistance to victims before emergency responders arrive.
Severe bleeding, if left unchecked, can cause death in minutes and is the greatest threat to the lives of Crane Army personnel. CAAA Emergency Management Coordinator Jessica Kirkendall, who introduced Stop the Bleed to Crane Army and provides training as a certified Stop the Bleed instructor, emphasizes the practicality of knowing how to assist severe bleeding victims in any situation and the importance of having kits at Crane Army.
"Severe bleeding is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States," Kirkendall said. "Over 80 percent of victims taken to emergency rooms with severe bleeding injuries are brought by a family member, a friend or other layperson, not emergency medical personnel. This training is definitely something people can use in everyday life, not just at work."
Greg Tyree, a CAAA safety specialist, was originally skeptical of Stop the Bleed's efficacy but was convinced of the program's value after Crane Army workers had some close calls.
"When we started discussing Stop the Bleed, I thought it was just another 'program of the month' that would just kind of fade away," Tyree said. "Then we had three incidents in less than a month that were inches away from causing serious injury or death, and I realized we had nothing that could have stopped it.
Tyree changed his mind after researching the program and determining that CAAA's current first aid kits are not equipped to treat the types of injuries Crane Army employees may incur on the job. He became a certified Stop the Bleed training instructor and is now one of the program's biggest advocates.
"The Stop the Bleed kits have tourniquets, gauze, compression bandages easy instructions, everything for serious injuries," Tyree said. "My goal is to have bleeding control kits in every Crane Army vehicle and building and train all our people how to use them. We're just trying to buy time with these kits and training, to keep an accident victim going for ten minutes until professional assistance can get there. These aren't supposed to replace getting somebody help."
While Stop the Bleed is geared towards assisting gunshot victims, CAAA implemented the program as a proactive measure against potential workplace injuries.
"Stop the Bleed is an additional resource we can really use to increase our resiliency within CAAA," Kirkendall said. "It's not just the tools that come with the kits, it's the training that goes behind them, so our people can recognize severe bleeding and know how to provide those life-saving measures until emergency responders arrive."
Crane Army production workers and front-line supervisors are the most likely employees to sustain severe bleeding injuries on the job, but Explosives Operator Supervisor Matt Bernet is more interested in people's abilities to help each other outside of work.
"In rural areas like southern Indiana, someone can get hit by a car or injured using chainsaws or other equipment at home and be half an hour away from the volunteer fire department," Bernet said. "You can bleed out in about five to six minutes, so it's important to be able to help a friend or family member."
Crane Army employees pride themselves on their ability to provide quality munitions at the right time to the Warfighter. CAAA prides itself on protecting its workers operating in hazardous conditions. From rigorous safety standards to individual accountability, Crane Army implements the best methods of worker protection. CAAA took that one step further by deploying the Stop the Bleed program across all its facilities to empower employees to assist victims of severe bleeding in any situation and save lives.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base installations under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.