Knowing how to use a tourniquet is a skill that most people will never need to use. In a crisis, though, that knowledge can be essential to helping a person survive a traumatic injury.
Nurses from Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center, a downtown Long Beach hospital housing a Level II trauma center, demonstrated tourniquet use Thursday at Long Beach State. The demonstration showcased St. Mary Medical Center’s recent gift of tourniquets and other emergency supplies as part of the “Bleed No More” initiative, and addressed the need for emergency preparedness.
The kits include Combat Application Tourniquets, gauze, bandages and other supplies that enable people to render lifesaving aid during critical moments between injury and the arrival of professional first responders.
“This important initiative here at Cal State Long Beach comes on a day when our campus is dealing with a recent threat and unfortunately emphasizes the need for this type of planning and preparation,” Provost Brian Jersky said.
The idea behind the kits and training is that people who survive a catastrophe where others have suffered multiple injuries can save lives by stopping a victim’s bleeding.
Jake Heflin, Long Beach Fire Department Public Information Officer, stressed the importance of quick, life-saving response to emergencies. He said that death usually occurs within “5-10 minutes of hemorrhaging.”
“If given the right training, the right knowledge and the right tools, we can step in and apply a tourniquet to stop bleeding, and that saves lives,” Heflin said.
“So, it’s important for individuals that are trained to be immediate responders, even before we get there. Because that intervention can save lives.”
St. Mary Medical Center President Carolyn Caldwell, St. Mary Medical Center Trauma Medical Director Dr. James Murray joined Jersky and Heflin at the demonstration.
“Bleeding Control Kits save lives. While I hope we are not called upon to use them, I urge our campus community to train in their use,” President Jane Close Conoley said. “Being prepared for situations requiring this kind of first aid is a crucial step in limiting casualties.”
Long Beach State is installing 37 “Bleed No More” kits on campus near the automatic external defibrillators, which are used to aid someone suffering a cardiac emergency. Caldwell said the goal of the program is to provide training.
“The reason we felt this was important, especially now, is really about education and survival,” Caldwell said. “Unfortunately, we live in a time when we all too frequently hear about disasters, and we also hear about people in those events that if they had the proper equipment or tourniquet, they could have saved more lives.”
The supplies will further enable individuals to assist following “any incident in which first responders will be overwhelmed,” said Allyson Joy, emergency preparedness manager for the University Police Department.
“We want our campus to be ready to help, to be trained and confident and ready to help,” she added.
Making bleed control kits available to the public is in line with a set of public safety recommendations known as the Hartford Consensus. In 2013, the American College of Surgeons assembled a special committee including trauma surgeons, first responders and other experts to consider methods of increasing the likelihood of trauma victims surviving mass shootings and other multiple-casualty emergencies.
St. Mary Medical Center Foundation received financial support from the Fanny & Svante Knistrom Foundation to distribute bleed control kits at locations throughout Long Beach. Long Beach State was selected as the first venue in the city to receive the kits because so many people congregate on campus on a typical school day.
“We could not do this without the wonderful support of a very generous family,” Caldwell said. “We want to thank them for their grant that encourages us to offer this type of support.”
Long Beach State’s University Police Department has previously convened “Stop the Bleed” training sessions for more than 300 faculty and other employees, Joy said.
Campus department managers may contact Joy to schedule additional trainings by sending an email to her at Allyson.Joy@csulb.edu.