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Laurel Nokomis middle schoolers learn how to save lives

By Jonah Hinebaugh
Staff WriterPosted May 22, 2019 at 6:05 AM   www.HeraldTribune.com

Students were taught how to use trauma kits to stop potentially fatal bleeding

NOKOMIS — A dozen middle school students sat transfixed as teacher Michael Jennings gave them a crash course on saving lives.

Instead of their regular crime scene investigation class, the students from Laurel Nokomis School learned how to identify bleeding, different methods to stop it and the life-saving benefits of being able to step in before first responders arrive.

Jennings used pool noodles to replicate body parts. He cut chunks out for students to pack the wound, apply gauze and use a tourniquet.

“Hopefully, none of you ever have to deal with a shooting,” Jennings said to the class. “But I’m here to tell you that you can learn to save a life, and I like to say, ‘The life you save might be mine.’”

Eighth-grader Harmony Wirick found the instruction beneficial.

“You never know when you could actually come across a situation where someone is in need of services like this,” she said.

Classrooms at Laurel Nokomis are equipped with trauma kits in case of emergency, and Jennings wants the students to know how to use their contents.

After the class, he awarded certificates for successfully completing the Stop the Bleed course.

“You’re the immediate responders,” Jennings said to the class. “You’re there before the first responders, and you have the ability to give someone the chance to live.”

His class stemmed from the National Stop the Bleed Month, which focuses on raising awareness of how to recognize and stop potentially fatal bleeding through free classes.

The class can be tailored to almost any age group, and even has been taught to kindergarteners in some places, according to Leeann Putney, a critical care nurse and trauma program coordinator at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

“I think it’s great if it’s tailored for the appropriate age of the students,” Putney said. “It can give them skills to make them less afraid, so they have the ability to act in an emergency.”

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has been offering courses monthly for more than a year on how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and stop it.

Putney said SMH teaches the ABCs of assisting in emergencies — this includes alerting emergency response services, recognizing the bleed, which can be identified by squirting or pooling of blood, compression of the wound through direct pressure, packing of the wound and, when all else fails, the use of a tourniquet.

On average, approximately 10 to 20 people attend the 30-minute class offered on the second Tuesday of every month. Putney said the classes make attendees feel empowered because they learn the skills to potentially save someone’s life.

Putney added that blood loss is the leading cause of death among people under the age of 45, and one-third of pre-hospital deaths are due to severe blood loss.

“No matter how quickly emergency response services arrive, bystanders are always the first on the scene,” Putney said. “A person can die from blood loss in less than five minutes, and our goal is to train bystanders to quickly intervene and prevent blood loss.”