In nearly all active shooter incidents, car crashes or injury incidents, the first responders aren’t EMS or the police — they’re the bystanders on scene then and there. Through the Stop the Bleed program, those “first responders” will have the tools they need that can be the deciding factor between life and death.
Through a grant from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Ascension Via Christi, the program — which provides training materials and Bleeding Response kits containing a tourniquet, trauma dressings, gauze, a face shield and gloves — has come to Wichita.
Ronda Lusk, Via Christi’s Trauma Services outreach coordinator, said the program is designed to prepare community members to be able to respond quickly and appropriately should there be a need.
“Our goal is to train as many people as we can on this,” Lusk says.
The program, a joint venture by the American College of Surgeons, the Department of Defense and the Hartford Consensus, was developed in Connecticut after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
James Haan MD, who serves as medical director for Via Christi’s Level 1 Trauma Center, says that during these types of incidents, people who are severely injured can bleed out in as little as three minutes.
“The time it takes to call 911 and get help to the scene is probably going to be more than three minutes,” Haan says. “If we can teach bystanders what to do in an emergency, we can help save lives.”
So far, Via Christi Trauma Services have trained public school nurses, teachers and school personnel, law enforcement officers and Safe Kids Wichita Area Coalition volunteers.
“It’s about reaching the public, whether that’s through schools, churches, businesses or community groups,” Lusk says.
Lusk says that while the hundreds of bleeding response kits being distributed by Via Christi are beneficial, the training is most important. The hour-long course teaches people when and where to use a tourniquet and wound packing to stop bleeding.
“Our goal is to empower people, and let them know it’s okay to help because they’ve been trained,” Lusk says.