Glenwood Springs High School students learned the ABCs of saving lives Wednesday as part of an ongoing national campaign called “Stop the Bleed.”
With educators and local medical professionals from across the Roaring Fork Valley presenting, the hands-on event taught students basic life-saving techniques to utilize in the event of an emergency.
‘A’ for alert
Presenter Jen Elias, who also serves as Valley View Hospital’s trauma coordinator, first stressed the importance of dialing 911 or specifically instructing someone else to do so.
Although such a task may seem like common sense, all-to-often panic causes people to take longer to call emergency responders, and subsequently delay professional medical help from arriving on scene.
“The only thing more tragic than a death, is a death that could have been prevented,” Elias said to students, echoing one of Stop the Bleed’s mottos.
‘B’ for Bleeding
Instead of diving straight into how to prevent life-threatening bleeding to the greatest extent possible, Elias made sure students understood that they should not offer help, until they could ensure their own safety first.
Students were then shown images of what life-threatening bleeding looked like and given instructions on how to handle the various situations accordingly until emergency medical personnel did arrive.
GSHS seniors Hanna Spencer and Telford Underwood said that they never envisioned learning about how to prevent a classmate, teacher or even a complete stranger from possibly bleeding to death, But they said they certainly understood the importance of Wednesday’s Stop the Bleed assembly, particularly in this day and age.
“It’s becoming a lot more relevant now and this is a big eye opener as to how relevant it is in our society and contemporary times.” Spencer said.
Added Underwood, “Since things like this can happen all of the time and there’s such a wide spectrum of accidents that can happen, it’s really helpful to know how you could save a life.”
‘C’ for Compress
After making sure 911 was called, ensuring their own safety and identifying life-threatening bleeding, students learned how to use a first aid trauma kit, and what to do if one is not readily available.
Local ER doctors, trauma surgeons, paramedics, EMTs and even Classic Air Medical’s flight crew gave students hands on training on how to stuff wounds with gauze or a clean cloth and looked on as students applied pressure to life-threatening bleeding simulations.
Additionally, the medical professionals taught and reinforced how to utilize devices such as tourniquets around arms and legs.
“It has been a valley-wide collaborative and people from all different professions have gotten involved,” Elias said of bringing the national Stop the Bleed campaign to the local area.
“It was really important to me to have people that were recognizable to the students … their coaches, their teachers, their local EMS.”
Without question, tragedies such as the Columbine High School massacre, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting come to mind during Stop the Bleed assemblies.
However, the national campaign teaches students critical, life-saving techniques they may apply in a variety of emergency circumstances.
“Could it happen in a school? Absolutely. Could it be a shop class? Absolutely. Could it be at a ball field? Could it be anything?,” inquired Glenwood Springs High School Assistant Principal Patrick Engle.
“For a kid to just at least say, ‘I remember how to do this. I could put my hands on someone and I think I could stop their bleeding,’ what a great service that the medical community is providing to the kids,” he said. “If this right here keeps one kid alive, then this was well worth our time.”