Virginia Tech Emergency Management (VTEM) is rolling out the “Stop the Bleed” Program to prepare faculty, staff, and students to treat bleeding emergencies with strategically placed bleeding control kits throughout the Blacksburg campus.

The kits are tied to the national Stop the Bleed campaign, which was launched by the White House in October 2015. The campaign’s goal is to prepare people to readily save lives by becoming aware of basic actions to stop life-threatening bleeding. Since the launch, several college campuses began bringing the campaign to their campuses.

Four men practice wrapping wounds
From left, junior meteorology major Collin Butler, first-year entrepreneurship, innovation and technology major Kalvin Yuan, operations coordinator Franc Wiedmer, and VTEM Assistant Director Andrew Marinik practice wrapping wounds in the Stop the Bleed training class.

Last May, Virginia Tech hosted the Best Practices in Higher Education Emergency Management Conference. Peter McCann, emergency coordinator for VTEM, attended a presentation by the University of Georgia’s Office of Emergency Preparedness on “Stop the Bleed.” McCann then presented the idea to bring Stop the Bleed home to Virginia Tech to Assistant Vice President of Emergency Management Michael Mulhare, who thought it was a valuable preparedness initiative.

“It puts stop the bleeding resources where they’re most needed or where they can be used immediately,” Mulhare said. “[It] allows our campus population to take those immediate steps, while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.”

McCann then led the efforts within VTEM to develop the program goals, obtain and distribute resources, and initiate a training program.

Bleeding control kits will be located throughout campus in automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets and will contain a combat application tourniquet, chest seals, emergency responder dressing, compressed gauze, trauma shears, gloves, and instructions. The kits are packaged in a vacuum-sealed pouch, and the items inside do not expire.

“[The kit] is made so that anyone could … pick [it] up, open it, [and] see the instructions and be able to use the pieces in it,” McCann said. “With all the various projects, research, construction, [and] machinery shops, there’s always everyday potential for hazards that could end up causing life-threatening bleeding.”

Not only do college campuses have these trauma kits, but so do hospitals and rescue squads in the surrounding community, like Roanoke Carilion Clinic and Blacksburg Rescue. McCann said having the kits available could potentially save lives especially when someone is bleeding severely.

“We’re fortunate enough to have our own rescue squad [and] our own police department here on campus, but they can still be minutes away,” McCann said. “You have the opportunity to start helping and assisting someone.”

Man kneels to practice applying pressure to wound
VTEM Emergency Coordinator Chris Bolling demonstrates how to use gauze in the Stop the Bleed pilot training class.

VTEM has already held a pilot training class on March 15 that walked participants through the program and trained them on different types of bleeding control with direct pressure, using tourniquets, the pack and wrap method, and other techniques. Class participants get to practice the new techniques.

McCann said the training can be helpful for people who don’t have any type of emergency medical background.

“The training is built for anyone who wants to come and learn and be educated more about how to use the kits,” McCann said.

McCann said he has received good feedback about the training program.

“I think the students really were engaged and really enjoyed it,” McCann said. “I think they appreciate the fact that we’re thinking about other things going on on campus for everyday type of emergencies where these [skills] could come into play."

Man (right) helps woman (left) how to use gauze
VTEM Emergency Coordinator Peter McCann (right) helps assistant professor Chelsea Woods during the Stop the Bleed pilot training class.

VTEM’s mission is “to instill a culture of preparedness by building, sustaining & improving … individual preparedness, departmental readiness, and university resiliency.”

“The Stop the Bleed Program directly supports this mission,” Mulhare said.

Training sessions will be scheduled in the upcoming months.

“For departments or organizations, whether faculty, staff or student groups … are interested in training, they can reach out to our office,” McCann said.

For information on these trainings, visit the Stop the Bleed program website. VTEM can be contacted by email at oem@vt.edu or by phone at 540-231-4873.

March 31 is the first National Stop the Bleed Day. To learn more about how to treat life-threatening bleeding, visit bleedingcontrol.org.