Stop the Bleed

The 2019 Texas Legislature added to the state’s Stop the Bleed campaign when Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 496 into law. The measure requires bleeding control training for staff and accessible bleeding control kits in schools.

Several of Texas’ regional advisory councils (RACs) feature active Stop the Bleed campaigns. Click here to learn more.

TEMSA recently sat down with EMS representatives from two of the regions to learn more about how EMS agencies are helping to promote the Stop the Bleed campaign in their communities.

Corey Naranjo is a Community Health Paramedic and Registered Nurse with Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC), and he has been involved in the Houston region. Russel Thomas is a paramedic with Scurry County EMS, and he has been involved in the Abilene region.

TEMSA: What was your initial response to Stop the Bleed?

Russell Thomas (Scurry County EMS): From the beginning, I have felt it was a good program to share in the community. Only a small portion of our community has opened up to the idea of having and “possibly having to use” this knowledge.

Corey Naranjo (HCEC Community Health): As EMS practitioners, we all understand the importance of rapid hemorrhage control in trauma patients, and our leadership found the Stop The Bleed initiative to be an innovative approach to introduce important, life-saving skills to the lay public.  Initially, our organization sent several clinical services staff, supervisors, and FTOs to a Stop the Bleed course geared for future instructors (special thanks to the team at HCESD #48).  After HCEC established our core education team, we soon offered a free community class, teaching a combination of hands-only CPR and Stop The Bleed.  We had a great turnout, and the day was definitely a success, with nearly 50 community members certified within just a few hours.

We have offered a Stop the Bleed “train the trainer” course for current healthcare personnel and school health teachers.  While the didactic and skills portions are identical to the lay provider course, we focus on how to set-up and manage STB courses, how to prepare for typical questions, identification of potential problems, and other teaching pearls.  HCEC trained 18 people from six different entities as Stop The Bleed instructors, enabling them to organize and coordinate their own courses at their respective agencies.

In October of 2019, HCEC provided STB instructor training to every Aldine I.S.D. school nurse, totaling 81.  With the additional didactic knowledge and skills practice, these nurses can serve as course coordinators and instructors for their respective schools to assure all appropriate staff members are trained and able to spread this life-saving skill.

Recently, HCEC partnered with the Southeast Texas RAC (SETRAC) and Northwest Community Health for a health fair sponsored by United.  Within a terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, United employees and members of the general public had the opportunity to quickly watch a demonstration of tourniquet use and try the skill out themselves.  We were extremely proud that nearly 100 people visited our collaboratively-manned booth.

Finally, we recently trained a group of 17 EMS Explorers in hemorrhage control.  These youth are 14- to 20-years-old and are investigating various health careers, including Emergency Medical Services.  The Explorers were engaged, motivated, and excited to learn a new and potentially life-saving set of skills that they can carry back to the community, their schools, and homes.

TEMSA: How have the EMS agencies in your region reacted to it?

Corey Naranjo (HCEC Community Health): Many local EMS agencies in the Houston area have initiated community Stop The Bleed courses.  Additionally, our regional advisory council (SETRAC), has served as a vital resource for course promotion and training equipment for any agency in the area needing assistance.

Russel Thomas (Scurry County EMS): At first, there was not much response from the Abilene region until GETAC and DSHS both started pushing it to the RAC’s to participate. The Big Country RAC and Hospital Coalition both purchased a large amount of Stop the Bleed Kits to donate to schools and churches that would allow us to come to them and teach the class.

We held a “train the trainer” class during a quarterly RAC meeting for every hospital and EMS in the region, and for the entities that could not be there, I went to their facility and performed a train the trainer for them. The interest has grown tremendously in the last year: now nearly all the schools have had or plan to have a class. HB 496 did help get that moving.

TEMSA: What are the next steps for you all with the Stop the Bleed program? 

Corey Naranjo (HCEC Community Health): HCEC is eager to offer additional community courses for the public, and we are continuously looking for potential course sites in our area—community centers, public buildings, churches, businesses, and schools.  We hope to continue to work with our local school districts, law enforcement, SETRAC, and neighboring fire and EMS agencies to offer this programming to as many members of the community as possible.

Russel Thomas (Scurry County EMS): By working with our local police department, we are planning more public classes with Stop The Bleed and  C.R.A.S.E. (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event) events. We are focusing on doing these classes back to back so that as many businesses and churches as possible can participate.

TEMSA: For EMS agencies that may not be engaged with the Stop the Bleed program, what do you recommend?

Russel Thomas (Scurry County EMS): With every school requiring their staff to be trained, who better to train someone what to look for and how to treat in the field than the local EMS? I feel that every EMS should have someone who can and will take this into their community.

Corey Naranjo (HCEC Community Health): I would encourage EMS agencies to get involved with this initiative.  This program provides a simple curriculum for the lay public to learn incredible skills, and it encourages community stakeholders to consider the addition of tourniquets to first aid kits and AED stations.  Additionally, Stop the Bleed provides an opportunity for EMTs and paramedics to work directly with the community that they serve.  In offering STB courses, an EMS agency can give back to the community, reduce morbidity and mortality, and create a positive image of the industry and their employer.  At HCEC, we believe in empowering the public with simple, effective knowledge and skills to manage emergencies before help arrives.  We expect that hemorrhage control training will become as common as CPR courses, and we encourage other organizations to join with us as leaders in the Stop the Bleed movement.

HCEC is interested in collaborating with TEMSA and other organizations to identify additional avenues to expand and sustain the Stop the Bleed program.  With grant funding, continuous review of content, and communication, we believe that EMS can be at the forefront of the Stop the Bleed initiative.