Washington County Emergency Management is trying to prepare for any disaster by stocking local schools and emergency officials with Stop the Bleed kits.
The kits are vacuum sealed with everything needed - gloves, gauze, a tourniquet - to stop a bleed and potentially save a life. Washington County Emergency Management Coordinator Marissa Reisen said the kits were made possible through several grants.
“The health care coalition that we’re in identified these kits as a need within the local communities. The Stop the Bleed program (has) a big push behind it right now. The premise is, especially in a mass-casualty incident, the number of people who are dying are not dying as a result of the wound itself, they’re dying because it’s taking so long to get help because there are so many people injured and limited resources that they’re just bleeding out. So if we can teach as many people as possible, our responders, teachers, the public, how to stop the bleed, that’s going to save a lot of lives,” she said.
Because the kits come at a price of $60 apiece, they are not purchased in bulk often. Through grants, Reisen said the department was able to purchase two for every fire department and one for every school in the county.
Reisen feels it’s important to get these kits into, not only the hands of emergency personnel, but also the public because knowledge is power in times of trouble.
“In this day and age, you never know where you might be that there could be an incident,” she said. “It’s similar to CPR: the more people who have training, the better off everybody is. It’s not hard, it’s just having the knowledge and the confidence to know what you’re doing.”
She said the premise of the Stop the Bleed program is to pack the wound. The hourlong class it takes to become certified shows people what it takes to pack the wound and potentially save a life. She recommends the class to anyone who might be interested because that could potentially be all that is needed to prevent a death.
“If you have knowledge, you can help and save a life or two or three. It’s one of the realities of living in rural Iowa. There’s a time delay in first response, so the better prepared individuals are, the better off we all are,” she said.
Classes for individual registrees will be offered at a later time, but anyone wishing to sign up a group for a Stop the Bleed class can contact emergency management at: 319-653-7794.