Columns, Training

Stop the Bleed: Not Just a Buzzphrase, Good Public Health Policy

For decades, organizations like the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, National Safety Council and the American College of Surgeons have emphasized Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic Emergency Defibrillators (AED) for the emergency treatment of victims by lay responders in sudden cardiac arrest. We have held countless classes to teach the important skill of CPR and have made a difference and saved many lives. However, in many first aid training courses, control of bleeding is a much shorter class and often skimmed over. Yet, as I teach in every first aid class, you will probably deal with more bleeding issues over your lifetime than even a single incidence of cardiac arrest. Everyone bleeds.

Shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in CT., a Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass Casualty and Active Shooter Events was convened by the American

College of Surgeons (ACS) and attended by many other private and public agencies. The committee’s recommendations are called The Hartford Consensus, and currently consist of four reports. One of those is The

Hartford Consensus III: Implementation of Bleeding Control with the primary principle that no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding, and that laypersons can be effective “immediate responders” to mass casualty incidents, provided they have access to training and the basic equipment necessary to address life threatening hemorrhage.

Uncontrolled bleeding occurs from human made and natural disasters. Severe bleeding can take a life in minutes if not controlled. It’s time we start emphasizing hemorrhage control. It’s time we split that small portion of first aid away from the basic first aid course and into its own. Beyond airway management, there is nothing more important to teach the general public than basic hemorrhage control.

The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) has developed a new 2½ hour course teaches participants the basic life-saving medical interventions, including bleeding control with a tourniquet, bleeding control with gauze packs or topical hemostatic agents, and opening an airway to allow a casualty to breathe. The course is designed for NON tactical law enforcement officers, firefighters, security personnel, teachers and other civilians requiring this basic training. Course materials include a PowerPoint presentation and instructor notes, instructor’s guide, and skill station guide. It’s all there. And it’s all free. To learn more about this incredible life- saving training program and how you can qualify to teach this program contact NAEMT Education at [email protected] or visit their web site at NAEMT.org. It’s time to emphasize “Stop the Bleed” and teach our students how to manage bleeding control of all types and severity.

Bleeding Control for the Injured (B-Con) teaches participants the basic life-saving medical interventions, including bleeding control with a tourniquet, bleeding control with gauze packs or topical hemostatic agents, and opening an airway to allow a casualty to breathe.

Additional Resources:

  1. The Hartford Consensus; https://www.facs.org/about-acs/hartford-consensus
  2. Bleeding Control for the Injured (B-Con); http://www.naemt.org/education/B-Con.aspx
  3. Stop the Bleed; Department of Homeland Security; https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed
  4. Stop the Bleeding Coalition; http://stopthebleedingcoalition.org