Saturday, March 31, 2018 is National Stop the Bleed Day. According to the Stop the Bleed Day web page, the top cause of preventable death in trauma is bleeding. 20 percent of people who have died from traumatic injuries could have survived with quick bleeding control. As blind and visually impaired parents, we need to ensure that we know how to quickly respond in an emergency. While a fully stocked first aid kit is an absolute necessity, you should also keep a tourniquet and packing gauze readily on hand.
The History of Stop the Bleed:
Stop The Bleed Day was commissioned by the White House following the Sandy Hook disaster in Newtown, Connecticut. A joint committee of emergency responders, law enforcement, and physicians developed a national policy on increasing survivability following mass-casualty events called the Hartford Consensus. The consensus found that victims of trauma are susceptible to critical blood loss before first responders can reach the scene, and that immediate bystander care is critical in preventing survivable death, illustrated by the statistics below:
• Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for people below age 46
• 35% of pre-hospital deaths are due to blood loss
• 80% of victims in a mass casualty event are transported to the hospital by members of the public
• Death due to traumatic bleeding can occur in less than five minutes
• The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that emergency response should begin within five minutes
• National EMS Response times often exceed the NFPA target times
• Of the 147,000 trauma deaths in 2014, 30,000 might have survived with appropriate care, primarily control of bleeding.
Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. Their mission: Make a Difference. Train. Be Trained.
The Primary Principles of ABC Response:
Stopping the Bleed is as simple as ABC:
A-Alert – Call 9-1-1.
B-Bleeding – Find the bleeding injury.
C-Compress – Apply pressure to stop the bleeding by doing the following:
1. Covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands,
2. OR using a tourniquet,
3. OR packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.
Can The Blind or VI Really Stop The Bleed?:
The answer is YES! You absolutely can! The twisting and tightening motion does take some getting used to. However, with proper training, anyone can learn how to apply a tourniquet and the key to learning is through practice!
My husband has trained me – and even our daughters – with a practice tourniquet! Dark Angel Medical offers two kinds of practice tourniquets, the SOF®TT-W and the CAT (Gen 7) Trainer. We have both of these in our home. My daughter, Aoife, age 3, is able to apply the SOF®TT-W to her daddy’s leg. She also practices on some of her larger stuffed animals. That being said, while practice and training are recommended, we never allow our children to “play” with a practice tourniquet. In our house, my husband refers to it as “training.”
As a first responder, he feels extremely passionate about first aid and medical safety. As the father of two daughters, “Mostly Wonderful” also wants our girls to learn how to keep cool heads in medical emergencies. Fostering this type of calm environment when it comes to illness or injury requires an age-appropriate, open dialogue. Our daughters understand blood is in our bodies and when a person is injured, it can come out of you. We don’t panic. We get help. We clean or compress the injury and #stopthebleed.
Courses & Resources:
If you would like to take a course to prepare yourself to assist injured people following a traumatic event, contact your local public health department, hospitals and clinics, emergency medical services, or fire and police departments to see if they offer any training.
In addition, check out these resources and additional information about #NSTBD18,
• Stop the Bleed how-to poster
Spreading the Word:
It’s up to us to spread the message of first aid training for the blind and visually impaired – including tourniquet training! You can help spread the word about National Stop the Bleed Day! Here are a few suggestions:
• Talk to your local chapter or NFB, AFB, or ACB about National Stop the Bleed Day.
• Connect with your NSTBD State Coordinator by e-mailing or joining our Coordination Group on Facebook.
• Like and share NSTBD social media posts using the hashtag #NSTBD18! Visit their Facebook page and invite your friends to like it as well!
Have you taken a #NSTBD course or #firstaid class you absolutely loved as a blind or visually impaired parent? Tell me about it, firstname.lastname@example.org.