Richmond, Virginia – October 16, 2017 – In a project to raise grant funding that began a year ago, the Richmond Ambulance Authority and VCU Health teamed up to provide 35 of Richmond’s Public Schools with Bleeding Control (BCON) equipment. The equipment, prescribed by national Stop the Bleed Campaign, contains tourniquets, bandages and specially treated gauze dressings; all designed to assist with the clotting and control of bleeding.
Uncontrolled bleeding is responsible for 35 percent of pre-hospital trauma deaths and 40 percent of deaths within the first 24 hours. The Stop the Bleed campaign was launched in 2015 as part of a nationwide effort to reduce these numbers. Stop the Bleed aims to teach simple techniques to slow or stop life-threatening bleeding, believing that people already at the scene can help save lives before first responders arrive.
Active shooter or mass casualty incidents, most recently in Las Vegas and previously at Columbine High School (Denver, CO) and Sandy Hook Elementary (Newtown, CT) have become a reality of modern life and everyone must be prepared for training for the worst while hoping for the best. More than 300 people have been killed in the United States during what have been classified as active shooter and mass-casualty incidents since the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.
Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority commented, “All too often, victims of active shooter or mass-casualty incidents bleed to death waiting for medical treatment. Responses to save victims have to be immediate, fully orchestrated and ready to go. This equipment and the associated training is clearly the way to go.”
The equipment, valued at $22,000, was funded by the VCU Auxiliary Fund to the tune of $5000 and then matched by the Richmond Ambulance Authority. RAA then applied for and received an additional $12,000 from the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF). Once funding was secured and equipment purchased, RAA and VCU Medical Center sent instructors to train all RPS Nursing and Security staff to ensure there is a trained member of staff on site at every school receiving a BCON kit. The hope is now to continue to train as many staff as possible in the coming months.
“A trained person on site can make a lifesaving difference. As the only Level 1 trauma center in central Virginia, we know how critical it is to control bleeding quickly. A person can die from blood loss within minutes without care,” said Michel Aboutanos, M.D., medical director of the VCU Trauma Center.
The first packs containing the equipment was presented at the RPS School Board meeting on Monday by RAA Chief Executive Officer, Chip Decker and Beth Broering MSN, RN, FAEN Trauma Program Manager at the VCU Trauma Center.
"We appreciate this generous donation from the Richmond Ambulance Authority and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in providing the BCON equipment for our schools," said Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz. "The proactive thinking to create these kits as well as train all of our health services and security teams can make a life-saving difference in an emergency situation. The safety of our students and staff is a number one priority, so these kits will allow us to be even more prepared to quickly respond should an incident or severe injury occur."
RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center. For more information, see www.raaems.org.
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. For more, please visit vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.
Richmond Public Schools (RPS) serves over 24,000 students, representing the region’s diverse socioeconomic mix comprised of 26 elementary schools, including one charter school, seven middle schools, five comprehensive high schools and three specialty schools. To learn more, visit: rvaschools.net.