SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Getting trauma victims potentially life-saving care - faster. That's what hundreds of Savannah Police officers are training for Monday with bleed-control kits.
It's another tool in the toolbox, and it's one that will help save lives. Memorial University Medical Center is donating 518 bleed-control kits to the Savannah Police Department. Monday morning, officers got to practice tourniquet technique as well as packing simulated wounds on each other and on themselves, under the instruction of Memorial's trauma team.
"They mainly contain two things: packing material to stuff into wounds that are actively bleeding to slow that bleeding down, and then tourniquets that are applied above the wound to cut off the blood supply to that wound so that you can stop the bleeding," said Dr. James Dunne, the Chief over Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at MUMC. "One thing that we've found is, especially in single-shooter events or in penetrating trauma, the scene tends to be closed off for EMS personnel, and so they can't get in to render first aid or life-saving care at the scene. So, it's really up to the police department to help us up with that, so that's why we're donating the kits to the police department."
The goal was not only equipping the officers with the kits but also making sure they are comfortable using them.
"You can bleed out in as little as three minutes, so generally, police are the first on the scene before EMS, and EMS cannot go on the scene until police make it safe," said Stephanie Gendron, the Regional Trauma Advisory Committee Coordinator. She continued, "So if you're in a car accident, or you've been shot, they can save your life within five minutes whereas you could potentially have to wait another 20 for EMS to be on the scene."
"We want to thank Memorial Health for the training and the bleed control kits," said Assistant Chief Robert Gavin. "We know these kits can make a difference in numerous critical incidents where our officers are the first on the scene. It all comes down to saving lives. That's our goal every day and these kits will only enhance our ability to do that. It's another tool in our tool kit."
Training will continue through Wednesday with each group of officers leaving with their kits, ready to use them on the street if necessary.