BOSTON (CBS) — After a traumatic accident or injury, it can take as little as five minutes for someone to bleed to death. And if bystanders know how to respond, a victim’s odds of survival are much higher.
The Homeland Security Department’s Stop the Bleed initiative aims to turn bystanders into rescuers—giving them the training to save lives. Medical and military personnel are leading one-hour classes all over the country that teach citizens how to apply pressure to a wound, pack a wound and (if possible) apply a tourniquet. One such event was at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
The attendees were all clinicians at the 23rd annual Pri-Med Medical Conference. “Anyone can do this,” explained Dr. Eric Goralnick, Director of Emergency Preparedness at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. “Regardless if it’s an active shooter, a car accident or a household accident, the idea here we’re trying to minimize preventable death and give people a chance to get to the hospital.”
The initiative was born, to some degree, of lessons learned on the battlefield and the need to respond to mass shootings. The U.S. military saw a significant reduction in preventable deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan once troops had similar training.
Dr. Goralnick and members of his team say “Stop the Bleed” is now what CPR was 35 years ago. They insist that no one should ever die of uncontrolled bleeding.
The clinicians who took the one-hour course at the Hynes say it’s valuable information and a great opportunity. Just around the corner from the training room is a portable Bleeding Control Kit, it’s right next to the AED defibrillator in the hallway. Another part of the Stop the Bleed initiative is to install the kits, which include tourniquets in more public places.
About 130,000 people have taken the course nationwide. Dr. Goralnick and his team have taught about 2,500 New Englanders. They say, as more people take the training, communities become more resilient. “To empower the public by a course and them leave the course saying ‘I can do this and I’m going to help my fellow citizens, my fellow community members,’ that’s the best part of this.”
For more information, visit the Homeland Security website.