JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Medical personnel from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston are providing training to area school districts that must comply with a new state law that require that teachers, staff members and students be trained in the treatment of injuries in the event of an emergency.
Trauma physicians, nurses and medics from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Brooke Army Medical Center, both located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, are instructing personnel in area school districts on the basics of treating a bleeding wound through the Stop the Bleed program.
Stop the Bleed is a Department of Defense initiative that raises the awareness of basic actions the public can use to stop life threatening bleeding and save lives, according to bleedingcontrol.org.
“The objective of Stop the Bleed is to give people the skills, training and knowledge of proper bleeding control,” said Brandy Martinez, BAMC Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator, registered nurse and course instructor.
The new state law, known as House Bill 496, requires that school districts and charter schools provide bleeding control stations for use in the event of a traumatic injury in which there is blood loss. The stations must be stored in easily accessible areas of school campuses and must include equipment to treat a bleeding injury such as tourniquets, chest seals, compression and bleeding control bandages.
The law also requires that school personnel take a training course on the skills they will need to use at a bleeding control station in treating an injury. School districts must meet the requirements of the law by Jan. 1, 2020.
Martinez said school personnel who participate in the training are learning the basics from the Bleeding Control for the Injured course, which has been offered to local community members and area schools, hospitals, organizations and businesses since January 2018.
The course covers the ABCs of bleeding control: alert, bleeding and compression, and the proper bleeding control techniques, including how to compress a wound, pack a wound and applying a tourniquet while practicing on a hands-on skill station.
She said the course has a full hour of training and that participants are given the opportunity to ask questions and comment on what they have learned.
Since the first Bleeding Control course started at BAMC in January 2018, Martinez said the Stop the Bleed program has been proactive in providing training to area school districts. The program has provided training to more than 2,000 school staff members in approximately 30 schools, in a 22-county trauma service area of South Texas that is covered by BAMC, the only Level 1 Trauma Center within the Department of Defense.
There are 25 instructors from USAISR and BAMC who got out into the local community to help teach the Bleeding Control course.
Dr. John Kragh, USAISR Department of Damage Control Resuscitation orthopedic surgeon and researcher, is one of the course instructors. He is a world renowned expert on the usage and effectiveness of tourniquets in the treatment of bleeding injuries.
In August, Kragh was among eight instructors who provided training to school personnel, including teachers and nurses of the Somerset Independent School District near San Antonio.
Kragh said the Stop the Bleed training in Somerset was held at the same time the school did its active shooter training among staff. He said the school personnel, which included teachers and nurses, were eager to learn and receptive to the training.
“The audience was very engaging and asked questions,” Kragh said. “They participated very well in the skill station. These people were particularly interested. The need for it, the risk of having such an incident (active shooter) and the readiness and preparation to deal with it I think we’re all cited by the speakers and were easily understood by the workforce.”
Kragh said it is important to provide training to school communities on bleeding control because they will be better prepared to react in an emergency.
“If you’re not ready, you’re not ready,” he said. “If you’re ready, you save a life. The time to get ready is now.”
By undergoing training, Kragh said school communities learn how to work together in an emergency situation.
“They are working as part of a team, maybe an improvised team,” Kragh said. “It’s community, it’s a mindset, and it’s a way of communicating. It’s a way of being together.”
Martinez said since schools need to meet the requirements for the new law by Jan. 1, she and the rest of the course instructors will be busy this fall.
“With the new law, we’ve noticed an uptick in the number of schools requesting Stop the Bleed training,” Martinez said. “For the next few months, I have two to three schools a month that we will be visiting that have requested this training.”
Representatives from area school district who want to schedule a time to hold a Bleeding Control course for their staff can do so by calling 210-539-9346 or going to the bleedingcontrol.org website.
Local community members from hospitals, churches, organizations and businesses can also schedule a course by contacting Martinez.
In addition, Martinez said there is need for more course instructors and that anyone interested in becoming an instructor should contact her.