Stop the Bleed, save a life

BUCKHANNON — Stop the Bleed to save a life was the informational message brought to the Rotary club at Tuesday’s meeting.  St. Joseph’s Hospital Trauma Program Manager Linda Smith, and Gary Booth, Trauma Registrar, were the guest speakers and they are both Stop the Bleed instructors. 

The Stop the Bleed campaign was launched by The White House in October 2015, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.  In retrospective investigations, it was determined that some of those people probably could have survived if someone with the knowledge of how to stop the bleed would’ve been present to assist. 

“Trauma is the leading cause of death in the United States for individuals under 45 years of age.  With that, uncontrolled hemorrhage is the leading cause of a preventable death”, according to Smith.  If trained appropriately with adequate techniques, immediate responders can act quickly to stop a trauma victim’s bleeding, potentially saving a life. 

he Stop the Bleed course is designed for non-medical personnel to stop a person’s bleeding in an emergency, since layperson bystanders are usually the first on scene.  It typically takes approximately 10-30 minutes for emergency services to respond, according to Smith.  She said Booth did some research and found that in recent months, our local emergency medical services took an average of 10 minutes to get from the EMS building to the scene of an accident, which is actually a very good response rate.  The problem with that is, it only takes about 5-8 minutes for a person to bleed to death, according to Smith.  In short, if more average people are trained to intervene, they will be able to better assist with life saving measures. 

“We would like to see a Stop the Bleed Kit in every classroom, in every school in Upshur County”, said Smith.  While that may seem excessive to some initially, she described scenarios from past devastating school shootings that would make it nearly impossible for a teacher to access a kit that was kept in a single location, such as the principal’s office.  Having them available in the immediate vicinity of an emergency will only make life saving efforts more successful, should they ever be necessary.  These are things nobody wants to think about, but as the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

They plan to explore the implementation of this program with the Upshur County Board of Education very soon and hopefully find funding to place a kit in every classroom and on every school bus.  It would also be ideal to have all school personnel from cooks to bus drivers, not just teachers, trained to use the kits.

Smith said they also really want to get out into the community and train as many people as possible on these techniques that will save lives.  She mentioned offering the training to all emergency responders as well as places like lumber yards, pipelines, large retailers, churches and daycares. 

The Stop the Bleed course is free and only takes approximately 90 minutes, which includes a power point presentation with hands-on instruction.  The average kit contains a combat tourniquet, quick clot gauze, gloves and scissors, which can be purchased online at a cost of $60-70. Rotary members inquired about the possibility of purchasing the components separately and even offered to assemble kits once plans progress.  A suggestion was also made to partner with the county fire departments to coordinate training events, so be on the lookout for such notices in the near future.

“The only thing more tragic than a death from bleeding…is a death that could have been prevented”, is the organization’s impact statement. If you would like to learn more about the program, visit or online.  If you’d like to speak with the local program instructors about setting up your own training session, please call Linda Smith or Gary Booth at 304-473-2071.


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