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Wash. School Nurses Learn Bleeding Control Techniques

Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)

Billie Wensveen stuffed gauze into the gaping, bloody wound.

She worked quickly, knowing a severe injury means every second counts.

"You just want to fill that up. You're going back and forth, just layering," said Ricky Micheles, a firefighter/paramedic, who was watching as Wensveen worked the gauze.

Soon, the bleeding stopped.

Luckily, it wasn't an actual emergency—the wound was in a chunk of foam and the blood was saline. But it could have been, and Wensveen was glad for the refresher course.

"I think it's invaluable," she said.

She's a nurse at New Horizons High School in Pasco, and she and about two-dozen other Pasco school nurses took part Wednesday in a training to help them better respond to bleeding wounds.

The Pasco Fire Department put it on, using the "Stop the Bleed" program, which aims to cut down on preventable deaths from uncontrolled bleeding.

It's another way to make schools safer in the case of shootings, accidents or other traumas, officials said.

The fire department bought 30 "Stop the Bleed" kits—which are stuffed with items such as gloves, gauze and tourniquets—for distribution throughout Pasco schools.

Micheles and other fire department officials led the hands-on training Wednesday, showing the nurses how to use the kits. The nurses then will train others in the school district.

Ben Shearer, the fire department's public information officer, said he hopes to eventually see a kit in every classroom, as well as in public places throughout the community.

"(We) live in an area of the state with some of the best pre-hospital medical care anywhere. The problem is, if there's no blood in (a person's body) when we get there, there's nothing we can do about it," he said.

Years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, mass shootings and other traumas have shown that "being that help until help arrives makes all the difference in the world," Shearer said.

Wensveen said schools had some of the items in the "Stop the Bleed" kits, but didn't have them all together in one place until now. "It's a valuable tool," she said of the kits.

"It's definitely nice to have these kinds of trainings, and to know that the people who deal with these types of emergencies are the ones who are training us," she said.

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