Bringing bleeding risk under control

Unintentional injury is the number one cause of death in young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Often, the unintended injuries involve bleeding, which is why the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) has installed “Stop the Bleed” bleeding kits around campus. According to BEMCo Director and Field Supervisor Michele Etzbach ’20, although BEMCo has a response time of only two minutes, the kits are intended for public use as well as for the use of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) who are currently not on shift. “We have over 60 trained EMTs on campus and only four of them have equipment on them,” said Etzbach in an interview with The Hoot. 

 “Stop the Bleed” is an initiative that was started in 2013 by a group of trauma surgeons from the American College of Surgeons, as well as other professionals in the government, law enforcement and emergency medical care. According to its website, “the purpose of the Stop the Bleed campaign is to make our nation more resilient by better preparing the public to save lives if people nearby are severely bleeding.” This campaign strives to raise awareness and teach people how to learn three quick actions to control serious bleeding, which mirrors what BEMCo is trying to achieve on the Brandeis campus. “We believe that implementing these kits on campus would be a cost-effective and easy way to increase campus safety,” added Etzbach. 

The kits themselves are designed for public use and “come with a detailed instruction book, which allows for people to get help before BEMCo arrives on scene,” said Jacob Silverman ’20, Maintenance Officer of BEMCo. In addition to the instruction book, the kits installed at Brandeis contain a tourniquet, bleeding control dressing, a Sharpie marker, protective gloves and a compression bandage. “BEMCo already carries the necessary items to stop bleeding,” Etzbach told The Hoot. “However, in severe cases a person can bleed out before we [BEMCo] have time to get there.” The kits could also allow for more people to be able to get treatment simultaneously. 

Currently there are six “Stop the Bleed” kits on campus: two in the Library, two in Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, one in the Usdan Student Center, and one in the Shapiro Campus Center. “We are hoping to have the bleeding kits to be matched with the automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that are currently on campus,” said Etzbach. The hope is that the “Stop the Bleed” kits will be as widely known as the AEDs, so people can use them to save lives. The kits are available for purchase to the public, so any department or individual on campus can purchase them.  Although no training is required to use the kits, BEMCo is adding instructions for using the kits to their Community CPR course, which is offered every semester and counts toward a physical education credit. “If there is enough interest, we are considering doing a class only about the kits,” Etzbach told The Hoot. They are also offering training to all departments in whose buildings the kits have already been installed. “We are trying to raise awareness about the kits, which we hope will help save lives in emergency situations,” concluded Etzbach.

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