Carvings November 15, 2021
Stop the Bleed: when knowing what to do isn’t enough
Stop the Bleed is a program that began after the murder of 20 schoolchildren and 6 school staff members in Sandy Hook, Connecticut in 2012. Recognizing that a victim of a stabbing, shooting, car accident or workshop mishap can die within 4 or 5 minutes from blood loss, and that 40,000 (!) persons die that way in the U.S. annually, the Department of Defense, American College of Surgeons and other organizations put together a course that teaches the simple steps that could save thousands of lives every year.
The methods are simple and take only minutes to learn, although the hands-on practice that all students demonstrate in order to obtain a certificate of completion takes a little longer. The techniques shown in the program are only meant to control deadly hemorrhage in the few minutes before emergency responders arrive: Press, Pack, Tourniquet.
As many of you know, I began a CPR training program at our church in 2001. Since then we have trained more than 700 members of the parish in this lifesaving skill. We began to teach Stop the Bleed just before the pandemic began and have trained more than 100 persons so far.
Knowing what to do is important but you need to have access to the means of stopping extreme loss of blood. That requires such things as gauze pads or rolls and tourniquets. Do you have these items in your home, your car, your office, your boat or your RV? I didn’t think so!
Acquiring these items won’t drain your savings. Start with a small pouch, or even a Ziplock bag. Several rolls of 3- or 4-inch gauze, two tourniquets and cheap scissors are the basics. You might want to include a pressure dressing or Israeli bandage but applying these takes training and practice.
Why two tourniquets? Because one might not be enough to stop the bleeding, because the plastic windless might break, or there might be a second wound or a second victim.
Why scissors? Because you need to expose any site of bleeding and cutting clothing is the fastest way.
At St. Thomas More church in Oceanside we have four Red Bags, enough materials to treat several victims. They are placed at opposite ends of each of our two campus buildings in order to maximize speedy access and to provide redundancy in case one is not accessible. I mention this because you might want to consider doing the same at your place of worship or your workplace.
You can obtain further information at www.stopthebleed.org.
If you are in the San Diego area and would like to organize a Stop the Bleed class, let me know. Classes are limited to six persons because I only have one set of materials. However, I can do more than one class, since the total time involved is about one hour. The cost is $10 per person to cover the cost of supplies and you will receive a certificate of completion. Unlike the CPR class, the items I need for presenting the PowerPoint are easy to transport, so I can come to any location within the county, home, business, church or school. All proceeds go to our account at the church.