Police officers, firefighters and medics who have attended Cypress Creek EMS Tactical Medic Training are saving lives with the knowledge they gained. Here’s an example that was shared with us by the Evansville Police Department in Indiana.
On June 22, the McCutchanville Fire Department, a privately owned EMS provider and an Evansville Police officer responded to a 9-1-1 call concerning a man with a bad cut to his arm. He was bleeding profusely from an artery. Neither the firefighters nor the medics had a modern tourniquet, but the police officer did. And, that patient is alive today because of it.
The Evansville Police Department regularly sends its officers to the Cypress Creek Tactical EMS training, which is held twice a year. As part of the class, they learn about the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) which is a fabric loop with velcro and a windlass (hand crank for tightening).
Those officers brought their new knowledge back to Evansville have trained their peers in the department and across the state of Indiana. There have been multiple lifesaving uses of tourniquets by EPD since their officers began attending training at CCEMS in 2012.
In addition, the firefighters on the scene of the June 22 case knew how to use the officer’s tourniquet because they had also attended the CCEMS training. Check out these stories about EPD saving other lives with CAT tourniquets.
Facebook Post from EPD
Following the June 22nd emergency, an Evansville area fire captain is now calling on his department to equip personnel with tourniquets saying he wanted to call attention to, “The need for tourniquets due to the effectiveness, speed, and simplicity of application. 25 dollars for a piece of equipment that is disposable seems expensive, but if you ask anyone if their life is worth that they’re going to say yes.”
Great job, Evansville PD. Your training from CCEMS is paying big dividends and others are paying attention.
The importance of tourniquets is stressed during the CCEMS Tactical Medic Training including constant surprise drills in which the medics, police officers and firefighters in the class have 20 seconds to apply a tourniquet to one of their own limbs. After all, they could end up the victim of a shooting or a bad car crash in which an artery is compromised and they will only have seconds to apply the tourniquet before losing consciousness.
CCEMS Special Operations Director Wren Nealy says, “Since many of the first responders we train are also outdoor sports enthusiasts, we also stress that these types of injuries can happen while hunting and boating and in those cases the injured are in more remote areas where it will take first responders longer to get to them.”
Nealy believes it is critically important to train all first responders in the use of CAT tourniquets, so whoever arrives first at the scene can apply it. Nealy says, “It is literally a life or death situation because that 3 to 5 minute death clock started ticking at the moment of injury.” Progress is being made on that front. CCEMS now trains all incoming police cadet classes at the University of Houston Downtown as well as officers from several Houston area police agencies.
It takes lots of practice for our students to get the application time down to 20 seconds or less. But, the need for speed is critical especially if the first responder is applying it to their own injury and they are by themselves. In that situation, they must get it secured before they lose consciousness. A person with an arterial injury can bleed out and die in as little as 3 to 5 minutes, but they only have a few seconds before they will lose consciousness.
For some time, tourniquets were shunned because it was thought their use would cost a patient an arm or a leg. But, the alternative is much worse and modern case studies from the battlefield show that a limb can survive for as long as six hours under tourniquet pressure.
Here’s a video of one of the surprise drills that occurred during classroom instruction at the June 2015 Tactical Medic Class.
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