'Stop the Bleed' teaches people to save lives

Posted at 3:21 PM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-09 16:51:53-04

CINCINNATI -- There's a new lifesaving tool joining CPR that first responders say people should learn to use and keep with them at all times.

"Stop the Bleed" could help in case of an accident at home or a mass casualty situation. The program trains people to apply a tourniquet in order to stop bleeding and possibly save a life.

About 2,000 people in the area have already gone through the training. It just takes a little common sense, an hour for training and the knowledge of how to use a tourniquet. 

Laura O'Brien, the chief of staff for Councilwoman Amy Murray, was among those who took the training at Cincinnati City Hall Wednesday.

"I think it's always scary to think about a situation like this happening, but that's why we're trying to be prepared, make sure our city staff is prepared," O'Brien said.

Murray also practiced how to pack a wound with gauze and apply pressure until expert medical care is available.

"I feel much more prepared to be able to do something if it's someone I am with, or I see an accident that I can take action," she said.

Dr. Brian Gavitt, a trauma surgeon at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and combat surgeon, taught the class Wednesday.

"This is a bystander skill," he said. "This is something that everyone, essentially, needs to have as a skill."

"Stop the Bleed" grew out of the Sandy Hook school shootings and military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's no time to wait for paramedics when someone is bleeding out.

"The reality is, the person who is going to save a life is the first person who contacts that injury and contacts that wound," Gavitt said. 

The program is so successful that TSA agents at airports have been trained in the use of tourniquets. Every Cincinnati police officer is also equipped with one as part of their personal gear, just in case.

Tourniquets used to be a non-no to stop bleeding due to the possibility of damaging a limb, but not anymore.

"There have been no limbs lost due to tourniquets applied if they're seen and evaluated within two hours," Gavitt said. "They may lose the limb because it's crushed or mangled, things like that, but it's not the tourniquet."

The Cincinnati Fire Department is spearheading the program. They're already collaborating with Cincinnati Public Schools. Assistant Chief Tom Lakamp said they've already completed training two schools and aim to finish all Cincinnati public high schools next year.