Eagle County groups join Stop the Bleed initiative
Eagle County Emergency Services, Eagle County Public Safety Council, Starting Hearts and Vail Health are collaborating in a unique StoptheBleed initiative throughout Eagle County. StoptheBleed was created by the American College of Surgeons in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a program that includes widespread placement of trauma kits in public locations and free education to people using the American College of Surgeons curriculum.
The initiative began with a proposal by Eagle County Emergency Management followed with financial underwriting by the Eagle County Public Safety Council for the first 210 Stop the Bleed kits placed throughout Eagle County.
Starting Hearts, an Eagle County nonprofit, placed the trauma kits in public buildings, schools, parks and other locations throughout the county, utilizing existing on-site defibrillator cabinets for ease of access. Each cabinet has a decal on its face indicating the availability of a trauma kit inside. In addition, Eagle County purchased an additional 50 kits for placement in county government facilities and vehicles.
“We are so pleased to be working in cooperation with our local safety agencies to provide tools necessary to respond in emergency situations,” said Alan Himelfarb, Starting Hearts’ executive director, in a news release. “The Stop the Bleed program is a natural extension of Starting Hearts’ efforts to address our mission to save more lives.”
The Stop the Bleed kits provide necessary items to help stop the bleeding in an emergency situation before professional help arrives. Stop the Bleed kits contain items such as a C-A-T tourniquet, compressed gauze dressing, latex gloves and more. These kits are integrated as part of an emergency response system.
“We owe it to our families and our community to know how to respond to life-threatening bleeding and have the necessary tools close at hand,” said Birch Barron, Eagle County Emergency manager, in the news release. “Nobody can predict when and where an accident might occur, but you can make a difference.”
To bring the initiative full circle, Vail Health is taking the lead in providing hands-on instruction to individuals, with currently 12 instructors that include physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses and EMTs. The instructors are registered with Stop the Bleed and adhere to the guidelines set by the American College of Surgeons. The class includes an educational lecture and practical skills using training materials specially developed to teach bleeding control techniques. The instructor checks movements as participants practice three different bleeding control actions.
Several states in the U.S. have already enacted legislation to educate, inform, and empower citizens to become immediate responders in a bleeding emergency. In some states, this legislation includes training in schools and providing kits for schools and public places, and the Colorado Trauma Network is currently pursuing this in Colorado. The team at Vail Health will be engaged in this effort at a state and regional level and is committed to being a leader in Stop the Bleed education for Eagle County and beyond.
“In a mountain community like the Eagle River Valley, this training is vital, as uncontrolled bleeding after injury is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma,” said Elizabeth Kruger, MSN, trauma program manager at Vail Health. “People here are extremely active in outdoor pursuits. From skiing to hunting, there is a higher percentage of lacerations than in other more urban settings, and this training can help save a life.”