Emergencies can happen anywhere, to anyone, and life-saving training is happening here in East Tennessee. The goal is “stopping the bleed,” which is a hands-on program showing everyday people how to stop uncontrolled bleeding until professional help arrives.
This is a national campaign that launched in 2015 following the disaster at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Stop The Bleed program has been happening in East Tennessee for about two years. Now, public schools in our 16-county region are getting kits so they can be prepared for possible life-or-death situations.
The Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 is a prime example.
“It was not EMTs, paramedics, doctors or nurses that saved lives. It’s people like yourself just there watching the event that made homemade tourniquets,” said Chris McLain, Clinical Manager for AMR.
Dying from blood loss is something many in East Tennessee want to stop.
“It’s really only like a gallon and a half of blood in your body,” said Gigi Taylor, Trauma Outreach Coordinator at UT Medical Center.
It’s why training through Stop The Bleed is happening.
“Unfortunately, three to five minutes is all it takes, and it could take an individual’s life if we don’t stop it in that time frame,” said McLain.
Those who take the Stop The Bleed course learn to use tourniquets.
“So you would slide it over the extremity, has to be between the injury site and the heat. We’re going to tighten it down at that point, we’re going to tell the person, ‘This is going to hurt. It’s going to be tight,’ and then we’re continuing to tighten it down until that blood stops,” explained McLain.
He showed us the second part of the program which was packing wounds.
“We’re going to get our gauze over here and we’re going to take it and push it down into the injury site until that area is full and then we’re going to put it over it and we’re going to push down direct pressure onto that area.”
While schools are receiving active shooter training from the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, Stop The Bleed falls into that emergency-response training mindset.
“We got the idea we would really like to have kits in schools,” added Taylor.
The Knox-East Tennessee Healthcare Coalition funding Stop The Bleed kits for all public schools in our 16 counties, which means 350 kits in total.
“We’re putting eight of those kits in each school so if anything happens in any of the schools, the equipment is already there,” said McLain.
This could empower educators and staff to give critical care while first responders are on the way.
“‘Course we hope nothing does happen but those first few minutes could mean the difference between life or death,” said Taylor.
Anyone can sign up to take this training course – churches, businesses or community groups.
You can also sign up to take a registered class at UT Medical Center, the simplest way is reaching out to UT Medical Center, AMR or by visiting Stop The Bleed to search for classes close to you.
Organizers of the national Stop The Bleed campaign say as of December 2018, more than 500,000 people have been trained in almost 90 countries and in all 50 states.