As a final note related to the terrible incident that occurred in Las Vegas many thoughts and comments have been made regarding the actions of many of the citizens that took it upon themselves to shield victims and provide some type of emergency critical care to those who suffered horrific gunshot wounds. Many stories evolved about the individual who placed his “fingers” into the gunshot wounds of victims to stop or retard the bleeding. Many used shirts, belts and many other items to help the wounded.
So, I began to think, what do we have available around us or on us that can help should we be in a situation that would require us to act to help save a life. Our knowledge should not restrict us to only think of the “active shooter” situations, but our day to day interaction with others who may find themselves needing immediate emergency care. Think about the many car accidents, falls, accidental cuts, and work-related injuries.
In reviewing many sites and discussions with first responders that deal with such emergencies many have suggested using a tourniquet that could be used to stop or slow a victim’s bleeding out. A tourniquet could be applied, should the victim have massive bleeding on the arm or leg area. You can use your belt, placing it approximately 2 to 3 inches above the injury and tightening it until the bleeding stops. This process puts pressure on the artery against the muscle and bone cutting off blood flow. If you’re not certain where the injury is located, due to an active shooter situation and you don’t have time to examine the injury place the tourniquet “high and tight”. The reason you use the area above the elbow or knee is because there is only one bone on the upper leg and arm, whereas, below the elbow and knee there are two bones. You can use a belt, tie, or if necessary rope or shoe strings as a substitute. Applying pressure against an open wound to help retard the blood flow, you can use a shirt, towel, or any other material to “pack” the injury and then wrap it keeping pressure on the wound until help arrives.
Let’s think about being at a restaurant, a store, walking your dog, and you observe someone choking or experiencing chest pains, you can help by using CPR, chest compressions, until help arrives or a Heimlich procedure to dislodge the object. You should invest time in taking a CPR course so that you would be able to aid, or at least be able to tell someone how to perform these techniques if you find that you can’t.
Many individuals jumped into action, risking their own lives to help others. Many were surprised of the heroic actions of others. I’m not. When Americans are pushed against a wall, they come out fighting to survive, helping others and working as one. It’s just who we are. God Bless… and be safe