Jim Thorpe officers, workers train to stop severe bleeding
Susan Mulderig, secretary and meter attendant for Jim Thorpe Police Department, practices applying a tourniquet on the arm of Tara Henry-Morrow, an EMS liasion for Lehigh Valley Health Network, during a Stop the Bleed training in Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall on Friday. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Bleeding is the number one preventable cause of death following an injury.
Ambulance crews know that, so they carry tourniquets and other supplies that can temporarily halt bleeding until a person reaches the hospital.
But in the crucial minutes before an ambulance reaches an injured person, police officers and ordinary citizens sometimes have a window of opportunity to save an injury from becoming fatal.
On Friday, Jim Thorpe Police Department hosted Lehigh Valley Health Network for a Stop the Bleed training.
Officers got to practice using supplies and techniques proven to help stop severe bleeding until a person can get needed medical attention. They also invited members of the borough’s public works department and Carbon County Adult Probation to train with them.
Borough Police Chief Joseph Schatz said an officer could potentially use the training to save ordinary citizens, as well as their fellow police officers. In 2017, State Police Cpl. Seth Kelly used a tourniquet to save his own life after he was shot by a driver during a traffic stop along Route 33.
“It’s very important to us here that we have the officers trained in that. Not only to help others in need if they would need to, for uncontrolled bleeding, but the officers themselves,” Schatz said.
According to Bree Hartman, an adult trauma coordinator at LVHN, a person can bleed out in less than five minutes. There is no replacement for a trauma unit, but if someone at the scene is prepared to treat a victim who is bleeding severely, it can help them avoid having someone die before they reach the proper care.
Stop the bleed has uses in many situations. The training was developed to respond to mass shootings, but can also be used to prevent deaths following injuries by machinery, or in the outdoors, Hartman said.
The training taught the responders to differentiate between severe wounds to the limbs, neck or torso. They got hands-on training on how to treat them using equipment like tourniquets and quick-clotting gauze, which can reduce by half the time it takes for a wound to clot.
The idea of stop the bleed training was developed following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Out of that tragedy, health care providers resolved to train people to help stop severe bleeding.
“Unfortunately, it was born out of tragedy. But the goal is really just to teach as many people as possible throughout the United States as well as internationally how you can act as an immediate responder if you were to find yourself in a situation where there was life-threatening bleeding,” Hartman said.
LVHN conducts regular Stop the Bleed sessions for the community and first responders.
For more information about the program, visit bleedingcontrol.org.