Class teaches how to stop bleeds, save lives

By Ms. Gail ParsonsJanuary 6, 2020

Stop the Bleed
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Stop the Bleed
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Knowing basic first aid is helpful in many cases, but when a person has a traumatic injury that causes heavy bleeding, an adhesive bandage and chest compressions will not help.

"What kills more people than anything else, is the fact that we just stand there let them bleed out," said Bill Draper, Irwin Army Community Hospital Emergency Medical Services Director, during Stop the Bleed training for Directorate of Public Works personnel Dec. 6.

The Bleeding Control Basic Course is designed for people who have little or no medical training but may be called upon to provide trauma care before emergency medical personnel arrive.

According to the Stop the Bleed website, the campaign was initiated by a federal interagency workgroup convened by the National Security Council staff to prepare the public to save lives by raising awareness of basic actions to stop life threatening bleeding following everyday emergencies and man-made and natural disasters.

"Advances made by military medicine and research in hemorrhage control during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have informed the work of this initiative which exemplifies translation of knowledge back to the homeland to the benefit of the general public," the website states.

Draper and Chris Hallenbeck, Emergency Management Coordinator, gave the class and are available to give the course to other groups on Fort Riley.

The class includes information about when and how to apply pressure, use a tourniquet and pack a wound.

After the verbal instruction part of the class, the props used to demonstrate were given to the attendees to practice with. They tried their hand on using a tourniquet on themselves and their coworkers.

A mock body part was used to give people an idea of what it could be like to pack a wound.

"(Bleeding wounds) don't just happen on the outside," Draper said. "It happens on the inside as well."

Whatever caused the injury made a cavity in the body -- that space needs to be filled. Using the prop, Hallenbeck showed how a wound can be deeper than it may appear.

"As you're packing it … just push around in circles," Hallenbeck said. "You have a push down until you feel that bone."

In a real situation, if the person is conscious, it will be painful because the packing material will touch nerves.

For some injuries, a tourniquet will be the preferred method to stopping the bleed.

Regardless of what method is used, another piece of the initial first aid is to perform a full assessment of the victim, Draper said.

"We're going to first, find the source the bleeding," Draper said. "We're going to look for continuous and large volume bleeding and pooling blood."

Even if one wound is identified, an injured person should be checked for other injuries. Draper spoke of one call on post where the injured person had a nail gun go through his hand.

"It went through his hand, through the board, came back down and went into his femoral artery," he said. "Nobody saw that. They saw (his hand) because it was bleeding bad."

It wasn't until the emergency personnel went to move the victim that they discovered the more serious injury.

In addition to the course there are Stop the Bleed kits, which Hallenbeck and Draper are hoping students will keep in their work and private vehicles.

The kits can include scissors, a tourniquet, a quick-clot gauze, protective gloves and compression bandage. Kits are discussed in the class.

To set up a Stop the Bleed class call 785-240-0400.