Stop the Bleed: Local organizations form coalition to offer training in life-saving skills

Three local organizations have joined together to address a serious medical problem, traumatic blood loss. Catastrophic events in our country have made it all too clear that citizens need to be trained to deal with uncontrolled bleeding, whether for themselves or for others. Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable deaths. Approximately 40 percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences

To attack this problem, American Legion Post 56, Hemphill County Hospital, and Canadian Independent School District are working together to implement a new nationwide program called Stop the Bleed. This program teaches first responders how to recognize uncontrolled, life-threatening blood loss, and how to apply a tourniquet. This training is similar to training for choking, CPR, and automated defibrillators: short, simple, effective.

The first Stop the Bleed class will be held next Monday, June 10, from 6 pm to 8 pm in the Gallery Room of the River Valley Pioneer Museum. Class size is limited to 15 students. Persons wishing to take the training can sign up on Saturday, June 8, at the Hemphill County Hospital Health Fair, or they can sign up at the door on Monday. There is no cost for the training. Snacks and drinks will be provided by Post 56.

The Stop the Bleed program is built on the combat experiences of our soldiers in the Middle East. Survival rates of wounded soldiers dramatically increased when bleeding-control training was initiated.

John McGarr, Post 56 commander, explained how the three groups will work together on this project. “Hemphill County Hospital will provide EMS personnel to do the actual training. They have already trained some local first responders. But this information is too important; we want the entire community to have the chance to take this training.

“Post 56 is building training aids so that people who take the class can demonstrate proficiency—just like you do in CPR training. We can make this stuff much cheaper than buying it. And the more training aids you have, the faster students can qualify. Once our members are trained, we hope to help EMS train other groups.

“The school is, in a sense, our source of students. The Texas Legislature has mandated that all schools will establish Stop the Bleed training and install bleed-control kits in every school no later than January 2020. That is a lot of people to train in a very short time. We hope that Post 56 and the hospital can help the school meet that goal.”

McGarr further stated, “We live in a very safe world—until it isn’t. And that can happen so quickly. I know of two cases that involved uncontrolled bleeding. A tourniquet saved one man; the other bled out—in less than five minutes. It could be you who’s hurt, or you could find yourself in the role of first responder at a wreck, or on the jobsite. Either way, this training could save someone’s life. This is important. I hope that this is just the first of many classes.”

For further information, please contact John McGarr at 806.323.2567; or Katelyn Booze, director of nursing, at 806.323.6422; or go to

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