EMS trains others to help ‘Stop the Bleed’
Rachel WagonerEagle Staff Writer
CRANBERRY TWP — Cranberry Township EMS is teaching police and civilians how to stop the bleed through a new training program that emphasizes the importance of bystander intervention.
Cranberry Township police officers were trained through the Stop the Bleed program with their regular CPR and first aid training with the EMS this year and received recognition for it at the June 29 Cranberry Township board of supervisors meeting.
Curt Neill, senior manager for UPMC Prehospital Care, was there to give Police Chief Kevin Meyer tourniquets for each officer on the force.
Meyer said they’ve been trained to use trauma kits and have carried them on patrol for years, but now they have an even better understanding of how to pack and dress a wound and apply a tourniquet if necessary thanks to the Stop the Bleed training.
It could save a civilian’s life or even their own someday, he said.
“It’s important for police to have this training because we are often the first to arrive on the scene of an accident or attack where someone — possibly even a fellow officer — is experiencing major blood loss,” Meyer said. “When a person has blood pumping from a serious wound, he or she may not survive long enough for EMS to arrive on scene.”
Knowing how to stop bleeding could be more important than knowing CPR, said David Bertoty, clinical director for emergency and trauma services at UPMC Presbyterian.
A person is more likely to encounter a situation where he may need to use a tourniquet or pack a wound, whether it be a mass casualty incident, car accident or a household accident, than a sudden cardiac arrest, Bertoty said.
“You’re much more likely to need bleeding control skills than CPR,” Bertoty said. “This is not just a technique you can use in mass shooter or bombing situations.”
The Stop the Bleed program was born from the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy, Bertoty said.
With mass casualty incidents on the rise, there was an increased focus and need for not only first responders but for the public to know how to provide bleeding control before EMS arrives, Bertoty said.
UPMC launched a $1.3 million outreach initiative in August 2016 as part of the national Stop the Bleed campaign to train civilians, to train school personnel and get a Stop the Bleed trauma kit in each school building, Neill said. The initiative also aims to train and get tourniquets in the hands of all police officers, he said.
Cranberry Township Police Department is the first in Butler County to be fully trained and equipped through the program, Neill said.
Cranberry Township EMS began including Stop the Bleed training in its community CPR classes in February, said Ted Fessides, deputy chief of administration for Cranberry EMS. It fits naturally between CPR and first aid training during the class, Fessides said.
The training gives the basics of wound treatment: direct pressure, elevation and wound packing.
“That puts Cranberry at the forefront of this,” Bertoty said. “Ideally we’d like this incorporated into CPR training. That’s a really great thing. It really gets more people trained.”
For those interested in getting Stop the Bleed training, www.stopthebleedtoday.com.