ST. GEORGE — Monday afternoon, 65 Desert Hills High School teachers gathered in one of the school’s lecture halls to participate in a training that prepared them to save lives.
The Department of Defense initially partnered with the American College of Surgeons to create the “Stop The Bleed” program after 26 people, including 20 children, were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Since its founding, over 1 million participants have been trained to stop bleeding in a severely injured person while they wait for medical services to arrive.
Kena Sullivan, a trauma nurse and injury prevention coordinator at Dixie Regional Medical Center, told St. George News the program is meant to help increase the survivability of severely injured people, whether it be during a sporting event or a mass shooting.
“We see too many people that pass away because of uncontrolled bleeding and all it takes is that to stop it to save a life,” she said.
Sullivan led the 45-minute training that began at 1 p.m. As a Level II trauma center, medical center staff has been granted the authority to provide training for Southern Utah communities. During the training, participants are taught three different techniques they can use to help stop bleeding in an emergency situation, no matter the cause.
“There are a multiple variety of injuries we can see that can cause uncontrolled bleeding and life-threatening bleeding,” she said. “We see these in the workplace, we see them at home, in car accidents, out having a good time on the four-wheelers. There’s just a lot of times and places you will need this information in your life.”
During the training, participants are taught to help a severely injured person in three steps: immediately call first responders, locate the bleeding and compress. Next, they learn three different ways to stop bleeding, including how to apply direct pressure on a wound using household items, if necessary, as well as how to pack a wound or use a tourniquet.
People experiencing uncontrolled bleeding can pass away in a matter of minutes, Sullivan said, which is why it is important for everyone to know how to “Stop The Bleed.” The Stop The Bleed course does not qualify someone as a first responder, it simply gives the participant the knowledge and experience to help save a life while they wait for emergency medical services.
From church youth groups to high school teachers and everyone in between, Sullivan has trained a number of people and has heard of children as young as 7 years old participating in the training. The training is not limited to any age group.
Blood can be a trigger for many people, Sullivan said, but the program is beneficial to everyone, even if they won’t be directly working to stop bleeding.
“It is pretty hard to see,” Sullivan said. “If you can help on the scene in any way, and if you know these techniques, you can help someone help, perhaps direct them into saving a life if you feel you cannot. You never know when you’re going to need this training.”
Desert Hills High School is one of three schools to have their faculty participate in the training. The school’s principal, Justin Keate, jumped at the opportunity to equip his teachers with the knowledge they need to potentially save the life of a student.
Keate said his school offers students access to amenities that many other schools don’t have, like a wood and auto shop, but these amenities also increase the likelihood of potentially life-threatening injuries.
“We want to be prepared,” he said. “Coaches and teachers. This is not just about shootings. This is just good training anyway here all around. Obviously we want to have these kids and have this training so that we can jump in and do something. This is worst-case scenario here.”
Sullivan showed the group of teachers a bleeding control kits during the training which comes with a number of necessities, including Quikclot gauze, tourniquets and gloves. Keate said the school has one bag, which comes with enough supplies to potentially save about 24 lives, in each of its three buildings, but is looking into getting kits for each classroom.
The trauma department at DRMC hosts the free training course every month in Southern Utah, which can be found on the Stop The Bleed website.
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