If someone around you gets hurt and the injury leads to severe bleeding, that person can die within just a few minutes. However, you might be able to save their life.
Some of the people who died could have survived if their bleeding had been stopped in time. That’s what the American College of Surgeons found about the December 2012 Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. The findings have led to a trauma first aid program called Stop The Bleed.
“If something happens right now, in this auditorium, the first people who can help each other are we who are already here by the the time emergency services arrive,” UVM Medical Center trauma medical director Dr. Ajai Malhotra said.
Stop The Bleed training turns bystanders into first responders. UVM Medical Center offers it regularly, and it has much wider application than you might think.
“We live in a rural environment,” Dr. Malhotra said. “There are farming accidents. Accidents can happen on the road, so really, the training is useful for anybody and everybody, and not just in mass shooting events.”
Police often arrive at an emergency situation before EMTs can get there, so the training can help officers keep victims alive until dedicated medical help can respond.
“More and more police officers are actually carrying bleeding control kits in their cruisers,” Malhotra said. “We actually encourage everybody to have a small bleeding control kit, which is not very expensive, to be available in their cars.”
The course teaches what it calls the ABCs… ‘A’ for alerting 911; ‘B’ for bleeding — finding the source of it; and ‘C’ for compression — applying direct pressure to certain kinds of injuries, either with a tourniquet or by packing a deep wound with gauze or another fabric.
Stop The Bleed offers a chance to not only learn and practice both techniques, but to learn the types of injuries for which each one is the most helpful. The course is free of charge, it only takes an hour, and you don’t even have to go to a hospital to take it.
To find out when UVM Medical Center is hosting the Stop The Bleed program, or to learn how you can ask medical center staff to bring the training directly to you, click here.