All 16 schools in Conway School District now have a wall-mounted public access bleeding control kit for use in emergency situations.
The trauma kits are part of a statewide program, Stop the Bleed, funded through a $250,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Health to train bystanders to be immediate volunteer responders and act fast in the event of a trauma to save lives until professional first responders arrive on scene.
Eighteen Conway Public School nurses attended recent training and in turn, will train 25 percent of their school staff.
“[The] goal is to get all the teachers trained,” Conway Police Department’s Chris Harris said.
While schools across the state are the first focus, Harris said, the complete goal is to incorporate the initiative into the overall community, getting everyone trained to be able to help in the event of a disaster like a tornado or flood or traumatic situation like a car accident … conditions in which someone is often times present before first responders.
He said they would come out and train any business interested — they’ve already gotten a few calls — for free but ask that they consider donating a kit, which costs roughly $500 or so, to one of the schools.
Each kit includes five individual bleeding control kits that consist of a tourniquet, combat gauze and other useful items like a Sharpie.
“[We] want to get the word out and get the whole community on board to help [their] fellow citizens if they are in need,” Harris said.
Several other districts in the county are taking a look at the program including Conway Christian, St. Joseph, Vilonia and Mt. Vernon.
Conway High School nurse Cheryl Bramlett said having the kit available at the school is important because it increases their comfort level and make them feel more adequately prepared to respond in the event of an emergency situation.
“The more tools that we have, I think the more comfortable everyone feels that we’re ready to respond … respond in a positive manner,” she said. “I just think feeling more confident about our response to emergencies is probably what it brought for me.”
The training — which was taught by CPD, Metropolitan Emergency Services (MEMS) and Conway Regional Medical Center — Bramlett said, is crucial because what she used to be taught doesn’t apply anymore; statistics state that a person can bleed out in five to 10 minutes and applying pressure is an old way of thinking.
She said where professionals used to say tourniquets were bad, they are now saying they should be used.
Bramlett said she’s had to shift her thinking and others will have to as well.
According to Stop the Bleed information, the original initiative in Arkansas was started in 2014 by a group of volunteers who wanted to provide point-of-injury medical care and training to non-traditional and non-medical personnel to minimize those preventable deaths from trauma.
Since 2014, more than 5,000 law enforcement officers across the state have received the training.
Clayton Goddard, the special operations supervisor with MEMS, previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that the expanded part-two to implement the program at schools was started the summer of 2017.
Trauma is the number one cause of death for Arkansans between the ages of 1 and 45 years old, Department of Health’s Greg Brown, branch chief, trauma and emergency response, told the LCD in February.
“Immediate volunteer responders who are trained in Stop the Bleed techniques can make a life or death difference to a person who is injured and we feel very strongly that providing our support, both financially and by assisting in teaching these classes, will make a difference in the lives of Arkansans,” he said. “This is truly a public health initiative and [we] are proud to be a partner in this endeavor.”