Alicia Harrington was eager to attend Daviess County Public Library's recent employee training titled Stop the Bleed.

Harrington, DCPL collection manager, learned from a family situation how medical training can give a person confidence in scary situations. Her granddaughter suffered from a fever-induced seizure. Harrington's daughter knew what to do, thanks to training she received from her employer, U.S. Bank.

"You never know when you're going to need this," Harrington said of medical training. "It may not be for something at work. It may be for something at home. The more you learn in this situation, the more helpful you will be."

Owensboro Health now offers Stop the Bleed training to any agency, nonprofit or workplace that makes a request. Stop the Bleed is a national program that teaches life-saving steps when someone suffers from an injury and is bleeding. According to Stop the Bleed literature, "uncontrolled bleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death from trauma."

The program was born out of the nation's rising number of active shooter and mass casualty events. Many victims do not die of their initial gunshot wounds. Instead, they bleed to death before help arrives. Stop the Bleed, which teaches techniques developed in the military, is an easy-to-learn program that is recommended for all citizens.

Besides DCPL, Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro Catholic Schools and the Whitesville Senior Citizen Center have agreed to participate in Stop the Bleed training. OH Foundation provides Stop the Bleed kits, which are filled with scissors, tourniquets, gloves, gauze, abdominal pads and instructions.

Stop the Bleed teaches how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and steps to take to control it until help arrives.

Bleeding should be considered life-threatening when it won't stop, spurts out of a wound, saturates clothing or pools on the ground.

The ABCs of responding are:

• Alert -- Dial 911 for emergency medical responders.

• Bleeding -- Look for life-threatening bleeding. Open or remove clothing at the wound site.

• Compress -- Apply pressure to the bleeding blood vessel.

Bystanders are usually the first people at the scene of an emergency, said Kay Ewing, OH community outreach and injury prevention educator.

"Your safety is first," Ewing told DCLP employees.

Anyone who is injured should not try to assist others. If, at any time, the person assisting feels threatened, he or she should attempt to relocate to a safe place, taking the victim along if possible.

If no first aid kit is available, Ewing instructed the class to take a T-shirt, towel or any other cloth and place it over the wound. Then, she said to apply pressure by pushing down with both hands as hard as possible directly on the wound.

If the wound is deep or large, try to stuff the cloth into the wound. Trauma first aid kits have gauze that can be used to stuff a wound.

While applying pressure on the site, don't be tempted to peek under the cloth at the wound. Continue to apply pressure until medical first responders arrive.

Trauma first aid kits have tourniquets. If a victim has an injury to an arm or leg that is bleeding profusely, place the tourniquet 2 to 3 inches above the wound. Never place a tourniquet on a joint. If necessary, go above the joint.

Write down the time the tourniquet was applied.

"Tourniquets hurt," Ewing said. "When you apply it, the patient may tell you it hurts."

Belts can be turned into makeshift tourniquets when no trauma first aid kit is available, Ewing said.

Tourniquets work best when someone suffers from compound fractures, or bones that pierce the skin.

In an emergency, remember trauma first aid kits often are located near automated external defibrillators.

According to Stop the Bleed literature: "Use of the equipment and the training does not guarantee that all bleeding will be stopped or that all lives will be saved."

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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