Chesterton Tribune



School maintenance custodial staff learn how to Stop the Bleed

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Blood loss is among the most common causes of preventable death following a traumatic injury, simply because it can happen so fast.

Consider: the victim of a gunshot wound can bleed out--depending on the location of the wound and caliber of weapon--in under three minutes, a perilously short window of time for EMS to respond to the scene, locate the victim, and begin first aid.

Traumatic injuries, however, can happen anywhere: on the road, at a work site, in a machine shop, even at home.

That’s why, on June 21, upwards of 100 members of the Duneland School Corporation’s custodial and maintenance staff received a 90-minute tutorial entitled “Stop the Bleed” in the School Board meeting room of the administration building.

The point of the hands-on course: to give civilian bystanders--who are very often at a scene before it becomes a scene, and well before the arrival of first-responders--the skills and tools needed to stop uncontrolled traumatic bleeding.

Michael Kellems, manager of safety and security for the Duneland Schools, took the course himself earlier this spring, along with Chesterton Fire Chief John Jarka, and Kellems returned convinced of the value of offering the tutorial to as many staffers and faculty as would be willing to take it.

“Stop the Bleed training has proven invaluable when treating injuries that can claim a person’s life,” Kellems told the Chesterton Tribune. “In an emergency, seconds count and when you’re dealing with a severe bleed, utilizing what was learned will make a difference.”

“Unfortunately, while we tend to focus on active shooter situations in our schools, in reality severe bleeding injuries can by caused by anything, anywhere, at any time,” Kellems added. “Stop the Bleed training gives our staff the tools they need to come to the aid of a student, a staff member, or even themselves.”

So there Kellems was, wondering how best to introduce a Stop the Bleed course in the schools, when--in the fortuitous way things sometimes happen--he got a call from Tony Emanuele, CHS Class of 2005, currently a federal law enforcement officer in Washington, D.C., and a partner in Medicine in Bad Places, a tactical medical consulting company. The reason for his call to Kellems: Emanuele wanted to donate a Stop the Bleed course to Duneland Schools employees.

“After the recent school shootings, I got tired of reading all the media reports and I decided I wanted to do something about it,” Emanuele said. “I figured, a good place to start would be at my former high school.”

Kellems was delighted to accept Emanuele’s offer and arrangements were made to cycle five groups of staff through the course over an eight-hour day, with a promise from Emanuele to return in the fall and teach it to faculty.

The Course

Joining Emanuele as instructors last week were Chesterton Police Cpl. Jamie Copollo, a certified EMT; Todd Konradi, a firefighter and paramedic who serves on the Porter County SWAT Team; and Michele Runions, an ER nurse who also serves on the SWAT Team.

Together the four used limbs fabricated by Konradi from swimming pool noodles and duct tape to teach the proper application of a tourniquet; and a high-end device simulating a junction wound--a puncture or laceration, for instance, in the neck, shoulder, or groin--to demonstrate the direct-pressure technique.

In fact there’s no great secret to stopping the bleed. “You can learn how to put on a tourniquet in less than 30 seconds,” Runions said. “You can learn how to use direct pressure in less than 10 seconds. That’s what’s going to save lives, in minutes.”

No tourniquet available or no materials to improvise one? No problem: direct pressure is the comprehensive treatment for uncontrolled traumatic bleeding, Konradi said. “It’s the one thing you can do without equipment. And it can stop almost all fixable bleeding.”

The technique is simple enough even for a Tribune reporter to master: first pack the wound--ideally with gauze treated with QuikClot, a commercially produced hemostatic agent--and pack it tight, like “concrete,” Runions said; then use the heels of both hands to apply pressure to the wound, really lean into it, lock the elbows and push, hard.

There’s one other thing, Runions emphasized: at the scene of a traumatic injury--especially with multiple casualties--a Good Samaritan bystander “should use all available resources” to render first aid. A tee-shirt or handkerchief to pack wounds, if there’s no gauze. A belt or length of rope or paracord to fashion a tourniquet. And “other people, the folks standing around watching, to help,” she said.

Stop the Bleed Kits

In addition to the course itself, which Emanuele is donating to the Duneland Schools free of charge--usual cost: $49 per person--his company, Medicine in Bad Places, is also donating a $750 wall-mounted Stop the Bleed station, to be installed next to an AED station at CHS.

Each station is stocked with eight individually wrapped kits containing the following: one combat application tourniquet, one QuikClot hemostatic dressing, one emergency trauma dressing, a pair of gloves, a pair of sheers, and an instruction card.

The idea, both Kellems and Emanuele said, is to find a way to fund the purchase of additional stations to be installed throughout all the Duneland Schools. “I recently read in the Chesterton Tribune how the community came together and raised over $70,000 for the new boxcar restrooms,” Emanuele said. “If our town could do that, we could surely raise $10,000 to place lifesaving bleeding control kits in strategic locations at all of our schools in Duneland.”

“Stop the Bleed training is extremely valuable and has been proven effective by research,” Emanuele added. “It is not an end-all approach for an active shooter situation. But it does provide the training and equipment to treat someone in the precious seconds before EMS arrives.”

Persons interested in making a donation for Stop the Bleed stations should contact Emanuele at

All donations will go directly to the Duneland Schools and Medicine in Bad Places will procure the stations at discounted pricing.


Posted 6/27/2018




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