Stop the Bleed, a national awareness and training program, came to the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia (JCCNV) March 6. Stop the Bleed trains bystanders to act in emergencies, including terrorist attacks, active shooter incidents, car accidents, and other emergency situations where the injured can die from blood loss before help arrives.
Stop the Bleed is a national campaign launched by the White House in 2015. It began as a collation of government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations. Volunteers from PerSys Medical, a Houston, Texas-based medical device provider focused on products for life-threatening injuries, gave the training.
“Many do not realize how long it can take EMS to reach victims in an attack like Pittsburgh. In the October attack, it took 39 minutes for the first EMS resource to evacuate the first victims,” said Steve Birnbaum, a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Rockville, Maryland. “That is not an unreasonable time given the events. Someone can die from loss of blood in as little as three to five minutes. Enabling bystanders is often the only way to save lives, just as we provide CPR training to save lives of those experiencing a heart attack.”
At the JCCNV program, a full class of almost 30 students learned how to stop traumatic bleeding injuries using their hands, tourniquets, pressure dressings, and a technique called wound packing. The participants were primarily staff from the JCC, with a few participants from nearby synagogues.
Prior to the class, JCCNV purchased public access bleeding control kits, which they placed next to their AEDs (defibrillators) throughout the campus. These kits contain the medical equipment necessary to stop bleeding and save lives in the event of an incident at their facility.
Birnbaum, who trained as a tactical (SWAT) medic, helped bring this event to the area. Previously, he served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Counter-Terror School. Birnbaum hopes to bring this training to Jewish institutions throughout the region. “It’s truly about building bystander capacity to do something to save lives when bad things happen,” he said.
The next class will be at Congregation Olam Tikvah, located at 3800 Glenbrook Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22031, on March 17.