Guests from OU’s Medicine Trauma Program led a crowd of civilians through a workshop that was not for the faint of heart.
Stop the Bleed was part of the larger Preparing for Community Devastation and Recovery event held by Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative last week. The event consisted of presentations about  active shooter response training, suicide prevention and other heavy topics, but none were quite as visceral as OU’s Trauma Education and Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Rasmussen’s presentation on saving lives by stemming bleeding at the scene of an incident.
Rasmussen said the program was created in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
“The trauma center was preparing for mass casualties, lots of patients, and they weren’t getting anyone,” Rasmussen said. “They said ‘what’s going on, is this a drill?’ They called medical responders who told them no, unfortunately everyone expired at the scene.”
The program teaches basic methods of stopping bleeding that anyone can employ, whether it’s during a shooting, a
natural disaster or some other emergency. The goal isn’t to treat victims, it’s to keep them from hemorrhaging until medical help arrives.
“Safety first. We do not want two victims instead of one,’ Rasmussen said. “And make sure someone has called 911. Don’t assume.”
With proper training, a tourniquet can stop a person from going into shock. If a tourniquet isn’t available, gauze or clean cloth can be packed into a wound. Rasmussen said it’s important to remove clothing, identify where bleeding is coming from, pack a wound and apply as much pressure as possible until the bleeding stops. In an emergency, even using clothing to pack a wound is better than nothing.   
The crowd somewhat queasily followed Rasmussen through the presentation before breaking up into smaller groups and practicing tourniquet tightening on each other and wound stuffing on foam dummies.
Casey Reynolds, a Dickson High School teacher, said she’s somewhat familiar with the information presented. Before she became a teacher, she worked at the Carter County Health Department. But the tourniquet training was new.
“Personally I’ve had a lot of experience with wound dressing, so it didn’t make me queasy,” Reynolds said. “But knowing the discomfort of the tourniquet, that if it hurts it’s actually a good thing, was new.”
“I think people may think ‘oh, I only need this if I’m in a certain profession,’ and I think it’s applicable to every day life,” Reynolds said. “These days, any job can be dangerous.”
Southern Oklahoma Library System Public Information Coordinator Gail Currier said her library closed for the day to let staff attend the training. She said that more than ever, librarians think about how they would respond to a sudden emergency, like a shooting.
“You never know when you’re going to be in a serious situation,” Currier said. “We’ve done CPR training and our director is trying to get us to learn these valuable, life saving things.”