One of the most harrowing events that can happen is when someone is witnessing a person who is injured and badly bleeding, especially when that witness has no medical training and nothing to use as a tourniquet to wrap around, or slightly above or below, the wound to stop the bleeding.
As such, this summer the Canby Fire District is taking part in an aggressive, soon-to-be-community-wide-campaign called "Stop the Bleed," which, similar to the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) found all over town, will place kits at locations across Canby — everywhere an AED already is installed — that allow bystanders to take simple steps needed to keep the injured and bleeding person alive until emergency responders arrive.
A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, the Stop the Bleed website says. And a June 2016 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans 46 years old or younger.
Of the 147,790 U.S. trauma deaths in 2014, as many as 20 percent — or about 30,000 — may have been preventable after injury with optimal trauma care, the study found.
Stop the Bleed is a national campaign launched in October 2015 by then-President Barack Obama, which "intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders, who always are the first people at the scene, to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives," according to information published on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website.
"It's a national campaign that's been around for a while but we decided it was something we thought was good to participate in," said Todd Gary, Canby Fire's division chief of community risk reduction. "The first place the Stop the Bleed kits will appear will be at Canby Fire's two stations — the one on S. Pine Street and the substation on S. Ivy Street just south of town. The third kit will be installed at the fairgrounds (Clackamas County Event Center). We're also going to start carrying these kits in all of our rigs."
The Canby Police Department also plans to become involved in the Stop the Bleed campaign and carry the trauma kits in each of their vehicles, Gary said.
The kits are designed to provide users with immediate access to products intended to stop traumatic hemorrhaging. Each kit is vacuum sealed and tamper proof "for easy storing and opening," a Stop the Bleed .pdf file says.
Basic kits include one permanent marker, two pairs of latex-free gloves — like the kind used by emergency room medical professionals and EMS crews — a tourniquet, an emergency bandage, one pair of trauma shears, two rolls of primed, compressed gauze dressing, and a printed, laminated insert that shows instructions for how to use the kit.
Each kit also includes information on where to locate the body's major pressure points and how to use a tourniquet to stop major bleeding, Gary said.
And while the kits appear well thought out and able to provide the necessary materials to help someone stop hemorrhaging, Canby Fire has decided to create its own kits that are appropriate for Canby rather than using the generalized, national version of Step the Bleed kits.
Not everyone responds well during a traumatic, intense situation, and Gary said the instructions are easy enough to read and clear enough that a bystander who is able to remain calm can read the instructions to any person who is focused and administering the life-saving techniques.
"One of the things about this is, like the AEDs, which are used during a heart attack, we hope we don't ever need to use them but it's nice to know they will be available in public places all across Canby when and if the time or need arises," Gary said.
According to the Homeland Security website, the Stop the Bleed campaign arose out of the national tragedies that seem to occur regularly, such as a school or nightclub shooting — particularly a lot of the shootings that tragically occur in large assembly areas. Saving victims of automobile crashes also is a major focus of the campaign, the website says.
To read the complete National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine study go online to www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23511.