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How to save a life

AHEC’s free bleeding-control classes put critical skills and knowledge in the hands of faculty, staff and students.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 10, 2018

Bleeding control kit and instructionsBleeding is the No. 1 cause of preventable death from trauma. This Emergency Preparedness Month, ensure that you are ready to provide immediate aid to an injured person by enrolling in the Auraria Higher Education Campus’ bleeding-control course.

Eric Leath, emergency-preparedness manager for AHEC, and Nicholas Clayton, paramedic-education coordinator for the Denver Health Paramedic Division, train members of the campus community to respond to emergency medical situations the moment they arise. Metropolitan State University of Denver faculty, staff and students might not be paramedics, but Leath and Clayton say in-depth medical knowledge isn’t necessary to provide lifesaving bleeding-control assistance.

“Chances are your first responder is going to be a student or faculty member that is walking by when an accident happens,” Leath said.

It can take just three minutes for a seriously injured person to die of blood loss, but it generally takes 10 minutes for paramedics to reach the scene after a 911 call is placed. Therefore, the course, part of the national Stop the Bleed program, focuses on two basic but vital skills: tourniquet application and wound-packing. Additionally, classes familiarize students with the contents of the bleeding-control kits. Along with gauze, scissors, tourniquets and other easy-to-use tools are illustrated, step-by-step instructions for their use.

Auraria Campus police officers were the first group to receive the bleeding-control training, which has already helped law-enforcement officials across Denver save lives.

“Since police officers in the city received this training, there have been 12 confirmed saves by law enforcement before EMS could even get on the scene,” Leath said.

tools in bleeding control kitThose who complete the 90-minute course receive a bleeding-control kit to carry with them or keep in their desk, and 20 multi-kit packs have been dispersed throughout the campus. It’s Leath’s plan to eventually place a bleeding-control pack next to every automated external defibrillator on campus.

“They’re a little expensive, but when you put it up against a human life, it’s no cost at all,” he said.

Clayton also stressed that enrollment in the courses, which are also offered at Denver Health, surges after a shooting; however, your likelihood of being involved in an industrial or car accident is generally much higher than being involved in a violent event.

“We always like to make sure people understand that this is an everyday skill … because the delay involved in someone like me showing up with a kit on their belt, it could dictate life or death,” Clayton said.

For more information on upcoming bleeding-control classes, which are offered twice a semester, contact Eric Leath.

The American Red Cross also offers emergency-preparedness training sessions in SSB 324. Classes are free and open to all MSU Denver faculty, staff and students on a first-come, first-served basis. To sign up for an American Red Cross training, please contact Samantha Atkins.

Bleeding Control and Disaster Behavioral Health

Sept. 20, 9-10 a.m.        

Hands-only CPR and Disaster Behavioral Health

Sept. 27, 1-2 p.m.

Hands Only CPR + Disaster Behavioral Health

Oct. 11, 9-10 a.m.

Active Shooter + Disaster Behavioral Health

Oct. 18, 9-11 a.m.       


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