Training to save lives

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Sara Van Cleve
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Arvada Police recently completed special training with one goal in mind — saving lives.

Arvada Police officers and detectives recently completed medical training in addition to their American Red Cross first aid certification and were issued kits to use during emergencies that include a tourniquet, combat gauze and trauma dressing.

“It was brought to the police department as a step forward in the training we’re already doing,” said Officer Mike Brumbaugh, who administered the program.

“With the response to active shooter, Boston, all the things going on — Aurora, Connecticut, Wisconsin, just nationwide — and the trends and the way we are starting to push officers into the front lines and immediate response to an active shooter, giving them a little bit more ability to help treat themselves and help treat victims is a big deal. The necessity to do it quickly is a big deal too.”

The majority of Arvada Police officers received training on how to use the tourniquet and wound dressings in the kits they were given to carry in their patrol cars or on their person should they need to assist an injured person.

All three items in the Individual Patrol Officer’s Kit provided by North American Rescue serve one purpose — to stop the bleeding, and in turn, save a life.

The tourniquet is used to stop bleeding on the limbs. The combat gauze, which has a coagulating and clotting material on it, can be used on other parts of the body to stop bleeding. The trauma dressing can be used to stop bleeding or add pressure to an already-dressed wound.

Officers were trained how to dress their own wounds and those of others during their training.

“The idea is to be able to fight through it and keep going, depending on how bad their injury is, and to help the citizens as much as you can if you can possibly do that,” Brumbaugh said.

Increasing medical training for officers is a growing trend across the United States, Brumbaugh said.

“Financially, it’s an extensive proposition to roll out the program to the entire department, but there are departments nationwide that have training. It’s a growing trend to start in this direction. It’s not that the police department is taking over any medical duties, but in immediate response to the life threatening bleeding, that’s the biggest thing.”

Supplies for the program cost the police department about $17,000 initially as well as training time, but the financial cost is a small one to pay if it means saving lives.

“In talking with Chief of Police (Don Wick) and the command staff, I think the idea of being able to save a single person’s life is worth the cost of the entire program,” Brumbaugh said. “Saving a single person’s life with the medical equipment and training is absolutely worth that small amount in the grand scope of things.”

The quick medical response, and specifically the use of tourniquets, saved many, many lives the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, Brumbaugh said.

“Without having a medical response as fast as they did, it would have been a lot worse,” he said. “The more ability to have more of these (kits) on the road and easily accessible to officers to have them help medical staff is a big thing and that means we can save more lives.”

This fall, Arvada Police will partner with the Arvada Fire Protection District firefighters and paramedics to train together on how to quickly and efficiently handle an emergency situation and transport people out that need medical assistance.

Brumbaugh said the future training isn’t as much medical training for officers, but more a progression in the departments’ ability to respond to incidents together and better understand each other’s roles.

“The quicker we can get them in and have the injured people transported to hospitals, the more people we can hopefully save and keep from having long-term issues … (we will be working on) getting the fire and paramedic personnel in faster because they can save lives by getting hands on people and we can save lives by protecting them.”

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