Recovery

Santa Fe Wants to Train, Equip Bystanders for Bleeding Stations

A resolution borne out of discussions between the city fire, police and emergency management departments would set the city on a course to purchase bleeding-control stations, to be placed at 17 city facilities.

by Tripp Stelnicki, The Santa Fe New Mexican / April 10, 2018

(TNS) - The city of Santa Fe’s public safety agencies want to train and equip bystanders to save lives in the crucial minutes before paramedics arrive on the scene of a catastrophe.

A resolution borne out of discussions between the city fire, police and emergency management departments would set the city on a course to purchase bleeding-control stations, to be placed at 17 city facilities, and a training kit for city employees.

The resolution, focused initially on the city’s own internal preparedness for a bloody attack or incident, represents the first “baby steps” toward broader community involvement in trainings and preparations outlined in the federal Stop the Bleed campaign, Assistant Fire Chief Jan Snyder said.

Stop the Bleed, launched in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, “created a protocol … to enhance survivability from active shooter and intentional mass casualty events,” according to the campaign’s 2018 progress report.

“We’re trying to get the city to recognize it and say, hey, this is a good thing, and we need to do this regularly,” Snyder said. “Right now we’re just trying to get this first step.”

Next could be some form of partnership between the city and Santa Fe Public Schools and public trainings to ensure bystanders in high-traffic areas could “provide first care … [and] help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives,” according to the resolution.

“It’s not difficult to teach,” Snyder said. “I think people comprehend it at a certain level.”

Snyder likened the bleeding control stations to automated external defibrillators, portable devices that can diagnose cardiac emergencies and are situated in places like shopping malls, libraries and City Hall.

In three years, Stop the Bleed efforts have trained more than 124,000 people in the U.S., according to its most recent annual report, though only 593 in New Mexico.

The 17 bleeding-control stations, which include tourniquets and hemostatic dressings used by U.S. military forces, would cost the city $19,000 and the training kit would cost another $2,800.

The city Public Works Committee advanced the item unanimously Monday night.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t need it until you really need it,” said Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler. “I sure hope, if I’m bleeding up here, someone in the audience knows what to do.”

Councilor Mike Harris, saying he supported the idea, requested the resolution language focus less specifically on atrocities committed by firearms and more generally on the bleeding kits’ possible application across various bloody scenarios.

“This notion we all have to be in constant fear of an active shooter, I somewhat resist,” Harris said.

Contact Tripp Stelnicki at 505-428-7626 or tstelnicki@sfnewmexican.com.

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