Amy Joe Vietor worked with Britton-Hecla stu- school under the direction of Marshall County dents during a “Stop The Bleed” class held at the Healthcare Trauma Coordinator Toni Mattson.
Local Training Helps B-H Students To Be Prepared
The only thing more tragic than a death…is a death that could have been prevented.
That’s the motivation behind training called “Stop The Bleed” that was recently conducted for Britton-Hecla students by Marshall County Healthcare Center Trauma Coordinator Toni Mattson.
“The Stop The Bleed training started about 2012 following the Sandy Hook School shooting,” said Mattson. “Studies were done to see why people died in the tragedy, could any of the deaths have been prevented, and what could you do to prepare. They found that a lot of lives could have been saved if bystanders had some basic skills on how to stop bleeding.”
Training includes information and hands-on practice on how to pack wounds and use tourniquets. “Stop Bleed” kits were also developed that include five vacuum-sealed bags containing gauze, trauma scissors, marker tourniquets, and gauze called Quick Clot. Three of those kits that look like small red duffel bags are located at the B-H Elementary, High School, and Middle School.
A grant paid for kits to be provided to each school in South Dakota, and the state’s trauma coordinators were asked to take the kits to schools and provide training on how to use them.
Mattson, with assistance from Marshall County Healthcare Center employees Susan Smith, Karole Chapin, Allison Tank, and Amy Jo Vietor, conducted that training for 120 students at Westwood and Sunset Colonies, and also for grades 8-12 at the Britton-Hecla School. Mattson plans another session for B-H teachers at an in-service next month and for B-H students in grades 5-7. She also previously conducted training for employees of local businesses at the Marshall County Community Building.
“Hopefully in a small town we will never have to deal with mass shootings or bombings, but it is also excellent training for anybody that happens to come upon a car accident, or has to deal with farm injuries or somebody hurt at home or in school,” noted Mattson.
The training stresses the ABC’s of bleeding. The ‘A’ stand for alert – call 9-1-1. ‘B’ stand for bleeding – find the bleeding injury. ‘C’ stands for compress – cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, apply a tourniquet, or pack the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then apply pressure.
Mattson said that direct pressure is effective much of the time for external bleeding and can even stop major arterial bleeding, and she emphasized that the pressure should never be released to check the wound. Mattson also put a lot of emphasis on getting gauze right down into the wound.
“If it’s a major wound and you’re just putting pressure on top, you’re not getting down to where the actual bleed is.”
Tourniquets can also be a life-saver, and students had a chance to practice their application.
“Tourniquets got kind of a bad rap for a while,” said Mattson, but now there is not as much fear about them. It’s been proven you can leave one on as long as six hours and still keep the extremity. It’s also always better to risk damage to an arm or leg than have somebody bleed to death.”
Mattson also stressed the importance of assessing the situation and putting safety first.
“Safety at the scene is number one. “If it’s not safe, you can’t provide care. Get yourself to a safe place or pull the victim to somewhere that is safe.”
Additional information can be found at www.bleedingcontrol.org. “Stop The Bleed” kits can also be purchased at that web site for use at homes, businesses, or in motor vehicles.
“I think the kids loved the chance to participate in the hands-on training,” concluded Mattson. “The biggest benefit is that it’s such good, common sense education. Hopefully nobody ever has to use it, but it can save a life.
“The only thing more tragic than death, is death that could have been prevented, and that’s the biggest takeaway from the whole program. People can die from bleeding in an arm or leg, but that death is so preventable if you know what to do.”