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Developing a Community of Immediate Responders

Stop the Bleed campaign

In the video above, Susan Kennedy, senior director of Trauma, Burn and Critical Care, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, speaks about the Stop the Bleed program at MedStar Health.

The shirt you’re wearing right now could save someone’s life. Thanks to a new MedStar Health outreach program, you can learn how to leverage that and more.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center has joined the Stop the Bleed campaign, a national program launched in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in response to mass shootings in the United States. The campaign aims to teach community members how to recognize and stop severe bleeding resulting from car accidents, workplace incidents, playground injuries, shootings and larger-scale emergencies like natural disasters.

The goal is to create a “community of immediate responders,” says Erin Hall, medical director of Community Violence Intervention, MedStar Health, adding that no matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene.

“This course empowers participants and gives them the tools they need to potentially save a life,” she says.

MedStar clinicians provide Stop the Bleed training courses to schools, businesses, community groups, government organizations and other groups. They teach safe blood-loss management techniques, including how to create a tourniquet with everyday items like a shirt or belt.

By educating themselves about emergency first-aid techniques, ordinary people become the first line of treatment and can save lives.

“It’s just as important for people to learn how to stop a stranger’s blood loss as it is to learn CPR,” says Jack Sava, MD, Chief of Trauma, MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He points out that a person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, making it critical to stop blood loss quickly.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Stop the Bleed course attendees range from Boy Scout troops to Capitol Building security officers to residents of senior housing communities.

“I learned how to be helpful in a high-stress situation,” said Bethany Anderson, a community member who took the course at the Takoma Park Seventh Day Adventist church. She’s studying to be an audiologist, and was interested in taking the class to understand how to pack wounds and apply tourniquets in emergency situations.

“I think if more people knew how to respond in emergency situations, more lives could be saved,” she says.

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