15 Apr Stop the Bleed Kits
Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs) are chaotic and put an immense toll on all emergency resources. As much as we hope for them not to happen, all emergency services must be prepared for the worst.
In recent years we’ve had many learning opportunities from both large and small scale MCIs worldwide that will better the effectiveness of emergency services and ultimately the outcome of patients in future events.
One lesson learned specifically in Los Vegas (2017), was how greatly bystanders could have helped control bleeding had they had bandages or equipment. Although there was a first-aid tent at the scene, they were not prepared with enough equipment to address the number of casualties they were presented with. The Los Vegas paramedic service has since created packages of bandages and equipment that the first paramedics on scene can distribute to bystanders while more help is still responding. The kits are called ‘Throw Kits’ because they might literally throw them to the bystanders.
Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service has adopted this inexpensive yet impactful idea and created our own “Stop the Bleed” kits. We were able to create packages of bandages, gloves and supplies for approximately $2.30 each. With five kits in each ambulance, the cost is less than $25 per truck.
As our Chief, Stephen Dewar puts it, “If there are more patients than the first paramedics can deal with and there are bystanders who are able to provide help, we can provide the supplies to the bystanders to stop bleeding until we can get to that patient until more help arrives.”
The kits are, of course, not intended to replace paramedics or allow us to extend our response time to emergency calls. We hope that we don’t ever need to use them, but if we do they could very possibly help someone save a life.