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March 02, 2016

Public Safety officers receive bleeding control training

Training is part of national ‘Stop the Bleed’ initiative

woman applying bandage to wound on practice dummy
“This has given me a strong sense of confidence that I will be able to help someone if a situation like this arises,” says Public Safety officer Stephanie Langomas, who took part in a training session last month. “You have to be ready for anything, and this is a skill that can save a life when minutes count.”

Last July, Michael Fitzgerald, a peace officer with the Department of Public Safety, answered a call to help a bicyclist on Intercampus Drive who had been involved in a collision with a car.

“The gentleman had several lacerations, but it was easy to see that one of the cuts on his right arm was very deep, very wide,” Fitzgerald says. “I tried to use a shirt to stop the bleeding initially, but realized quickly that more was needed.”

Fortunately, Fitzgerald—a former police officer and EMT—had a tourniquet in his patrol bag and knew how to use it. By applying the tourniquet, he was able to slow the bleeding until an ambulance arrived.

In January, Kessler Trauma Center began leading a local educational effort to support more life-saving actions. In response to an October 2015 initiative by the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services called “Stop the Bleed,” the center is providing “B-Con” training to all of the 183 officers on the University’s Public Safety team.

In a concept similar to CPR, AED, or fire extinguisher training, the effort aims to lower the number of people nationwide who die of bleeding injuries following shootings and acts of terrorism—such as the Boston Marathon bombing—as well as motor vehicle accidents and other more common traumatic events.

“We are very proud to support a national effort aimed at empowering the lay public with the knowledge and tools to save lives,” says Mark Gestring, director of the Kessler Trauma Center, who says the center will be offering the B-Con training to other colleges and community groups and organizations in the near future. “Beginning this education with our own Public Safety workforce was a natural and important place to start, because they are ever present across the University and are often the first on the scene when an incident occurs.”

When all officers complete the training in a few months, the Medical Center will be one of the first academic medical centers in the state to have a B-Con–trained security workforce.

All officers who complete the course will carry a tourniquet and hemostatic (clotting) gauze on their tool belts, says Mark Fischer, director of Public Safety.

“We’re glad to be able to partner with the Trauma Center on this project in order to give our officers a very significant level of preparedness,” Fischer says. “As past circumstances have shown, we are often the first on campus to arrive on a scene, and you just don’t have time to wait for help when a person has this kind of injury.”

Community groups and organizations that are interested in receiving B-Con training can email or call 275-8000.

trainer and officers practice wound care
Kessler Trauma Center program manager Bill Hallinan demonstrates how a tourniquet is used.

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