Is B-CON the Next CPR?

What if there were as many people trained in Bleeding Control (B-Con) as there are people trained to perform CPR?  And, what if Bleeding Control Kits complete with manufactured tourniquets and wound packing material were placed next to every public AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the country?

The answer is, a lot of lives would be saved. That’s why Cypress Creek EMS has provided this training for years in our Tactical Medic Classes and in special training sessions for area Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters. We’ve also encouraged officers and firefighters to carry manufactured tourniquets at all times. CCEMS also teaches every new police cadet class at the University of Houston-Downtown. That’s nearly 500 cadets every year. In addition, CCEMS has trained nurses, police officers and athletic coaches in area school districts.

Since a person with a compromised artery can bleed out and die in less than 5 minutes, it’s critically important that the first person to arrive on the scene knows what to do. But, even before a police officer, firefighter or medic arrives on the scene, there is usually a civilian there. Sometimes, it’s the eyewitness who called 9-1-1. Obviously, they are already on the scene. So, what if they knew what to do until the medics arrive?

That’s the thinking behind the Stop the Bleed Campaign which is endorsed nationally by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security and is being promoted in the greater Houston area by the South East Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC). SETRAC is one of 22 Regional Councils in Texas that unites EMS professionals, hospitals, and civic leaders to advance emergency medicine and preparedness.

For the Stop the Bleed Campaign, SETRAC is funding the training materials to teach the people who will train the general public. And, those people are being trained by Cypress Creek EMS.

Special Operations Supervisor Bobby Sellers has been training doctors and nurses from area hospitals and representatives of EMS systems and Fire Departments that are in SETRAC’s nine-county region which includes Harris County. One session included City Medical Director Dr. David Persse and representatives from the Houston Fire Department. Memorial Hermann Trauma Surgeon Dr. John B. Holcomb, an ardent supporter of Stop the Bleed and member of the Hartford Consensus, attended the same session. Dr. Holcomb says about 1600 people die of trauma every year in the Greater Houston Area. He estimates that about 35% could be saved by earlier intervention such as could be provided by people trained in Bleeding Control (B-Con).

Trauma is the #1 cause of death among Americans under 46 year years of age and, overall, it’s the #3 cause of death after heart disease and cancer. It’s estimated that about one-third of the 200,000 trauma deaths in the U.S. each year are due to extreme blood loss, which starves the body’s cells of life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients.

The goals of Stop the Bleed are to make B-Con training as common as CPR training and have a Bleeding Control Kit mounted right next to every public AED (Automated External Defibrillator) complete with gloves, manufactured Combat Application Tourniquets, pressure bandages and hemostatic (blood clotting) materials used to pack wounds.

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SETRAC practices what it preaches

The recommendation to train civilians and all first responders how to stop bleeding came out of the Hartford Consensus, a joint committee of the nation’s leading medical, public safety and legal experts formed to recommend ways to increase survivability in mass casualty incidents such as active shooter situations. The formation of the committee was in direct response to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut which left 20 children and six staff members dead.

Although these techniques could save lives in an active shooter situation they are more likely to be used in the case of life-threatening injuries from accidents at work, home or on the road including motor vehicle accidents. For example, a femur bone broken in an accident can slice through the femoral artery and that can result in death from bleeding out in as little as 5 minutes. Time is critical.

Stop the Bleed is also supported by the Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council (ESSCC) which advises the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on important issues concerning emergency readiness. Cypress Creek EMS Special Operations Director Wren Nealy is Vice Chair of the council.

Nealy also leads the CCEMS Tactical Medic Team and the twice yearly Tactical EMS training which draws police officers and medics from all over the world to Cypress Creek EMS. Tactical Medics provide front-line medical support in high-risk law enforcement operations such as serving warrants on felons with a history of violence or active shooter situations.

Cypress Creek EMS had one of the first Tactical Medic Teams in the country. Now, that team is the first in the country to carry universal donor Packed Red Blood Cells and fresh plasma on missions and during training exercises.

CCEMS is the first standalone ground EMS systems in the country, to carry and transfuse blood cells and plasma in the field. Between the Stop the Bleed effort and carrying blood products in the field, Cypress Creek EMS is leading the way in the prevention of death from trauma.