ELYRIA — Trauma nurses and emergency medical professionals brought prosthetic limbs and combat gauze to the Elyria Schools Administration Building on Thursday morning for a different kind of professional development training course for teachers and staff.
Sixty district employees learned what they should do to stop massive blood loss in the event of an emergency.
“In our world, we call it hemorrhaging, but in your world we call it bleeding and you have to stop it if that person has any chance at survival,” said Dave Sirl, emergency medical services coordinator at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
MetroHealth’s trauma experts brought Stop the Bleed, a hands-on, two-hour training course, to the district as part of a national drive to train everyday people in techniques to manage blood loss if they are first on the scene of a traumatic injury.
Elyria is the first district in Northeast Ohio to partner with MetroHealth for the program that Hartford Consensus launched as an “awareness campaign and call to action for bystanders to become trained and empowered before professional help arrives.”
According to medical experts, a person who is hemorrhaging can die within five minutes if bleeding is not controlled. Stop The Bleed gives citizens with no medical experience the knowledge and skills to apply pressure to bleeding injuries, use tourniquets to control bleeding and pack wounds until professional help arrives. The timing of the class coincides with National Stop the Bleed Day, which is Saturday.
“It’s a great class. It’s super easy and really the target person is the layperson,” Sirl said. “Hospital and pre-hospital professionals, we all get certain training, but I love participating in this initiative because I can tell you firsthand that application of a tourniquet specifically by a nonmedical person outside of a hospital environment has saved lives.”
Teachers receiving this type of training may immediately bring to mind active shooter situations in schools. However, the course is not just geared toward that extreme case.
“The focus is what your immediate response is to someone bleeding is going to be and it is far reaching beyond just the school environment,” Sirl said. “When we do it in a school, you are thinking about that horrible day you hope never happens. But the application of these skills reaches beyond the school building.”
Cristina Ragone, trauma program manager at MetroHealth, said The Hartford Consensus pulls together opinions from medical professional, military experts, the National Security Council, FBI, law enforcement, fire rescues and EMS with the overarching principle that no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding.
“There is an opportunity to prevent bleeding and death before the paramedics even arrive,” she said.
For district staff, the training left them feeling empowered as they practiced tying tourniquets around each others arms and learned to pack a simulated wound with gauze. And just like teachers may emphasize the ABCs of learning, the trauma professionals shared their own form of the acronym:
- A: Alert first responders that help is needed by calling 911
- B: Find the bleeding injury
- C: Compress the injury by applying direct and deliberate pressure. A tourniquet can be used if one is available or stuff the wound with gauze or a clean cloth.
“I think it just helps me alleviate that anxiety. What if I ever need this?” said Denise Blatt, the district’s director of pupil services. “I will have a skill set to rely upon if and when I should ever need it. So for me, it alleviates anxiety and worry knowing that I will be more prepared.”
This is true not just as a school employee, but in any situation, said Health Hale, an art teacher with the district since 1999. Hale first brought MetroHealth to Prospect Elementary School for a buildingwide training sessions and, after attending, Blatt brought the trauma professionals back for Thursday’s districtwide training.
“Even as someone at a store or a car accident or even with our own kids, we now know what to do in an emergency,” Hale said.
Every staff member who attended the training received a free tourniquet to store in their classrooms for future use.