Stop the Bleed: UH St. John Medical Center Launches Emergency Life Saving Educational Program

Would you know what to do if a terrorist attack, a shooting or even a car accident happened and help was needed?

Matt Sheehan, Disaster Coordinator at UH St.
John Medical Center, demonstrates tourniquet
application at last week’s Stop the Bleed seminar

Stop the Bleed is a program initiated by a Federal Interagency Workgroup convened by the National Security Council staff, the White House.

The purpose of the campaign is to build national resilience by better preparing the public to save lives by raising awareness of basic actions to stop life threatening bleeding from everyday emergencies and man-made disasters.

Advances made by military medicine and research in hemorrhage control during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have informed the work of this initiative which exemplifies translation of knowledge back to the homeland to benefit the general public.

UH St. John Medical Center wants to utilize the program to educate the community in basic life-saving strategies like applying a tourniquet and controlling bleeding through compression.

These techniques can make a difference!

“The only thing more tragic than a death is a death that could have been prevented,” reports Matt Sheehan, EMS and Disaster Coordinator at UH SJMC.

The mission of Stop the Bleed is to educate the public to respond effectively in multiple scenarios, including work-related injuries, home injuries, motor vehicle crashes, mass shootings and bombings.

Debbie Ustar, Quality Data Abstractor,
UH St. John Medical Center, demonstrates
compression techniques.

ABC’s of Bleeding

Sheehan, EMT-P, EMSI, EMS, along with team members Danelle Boomer, Asst. Emergency Dept. Manager, Maureen Traine, Trauma Coordinator, and Debbie Ustar, Quality Data Abstractor, launched the Stop the Bleed program with a presentation at UH SJMC last week. Their goal is to educate at least 4,000 community members with the 60-minute presentation this year.

The ABC’s of Bleeding are simple:

A – Alert, call 9-1-1,

B – Bleeding – find the bleeding injury,

C – Compress – apply pressure to the stop the bleeding by (1) covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, (2) Using a tourniquet, and (3) Packing (filling) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure.

The first thing to do, however, says Sheehan, is to ensure your own safety. “You can’t help anyone else if you are injured,” says Sheehan. “Initiate care if the scene is safe for you to do so. If your safety is threatened, remove yourself from danger and find a safe location.” Caregivers should also wear gloves, if possible, to prevent blood-borne infections.

Danelle Boomer, Asst. Emergency
Dept. Manager, UH St. John
Medical Center

Tourniquets & Compression

Improvised (homemade) tourniquets are much less effective than commercially available tourniquets. They are also difficult to make and apply without practice. So, it is important to look for a First Aid kit and to carry a First Aid kit with the commercially available tourniquet like the C.A.T. (Combat Application Tourniquet) available online for about $10.

Direct pressure (compression) is applied by using (both) hands or fingers to exert firm pressure on a wound (usually external). Do not remove pressure until medical responders arrive and do not release to check the wound.

Common Mistakes

It is a mistake to wait too long before applying a tourniquet. The tourniquet must be tight, and even hurt, to stop bleeding. A second tourniquet may be used if needed. Periodically loosening of the tourniquet is a mistake – it allows further blood loss. Only a paramedic or physician should remove a tourniquet. Tourniquets hurt – pain does not mean it was applied incorrectly.


In the event of a catastrophic event like the Boston Marathon bombings, the US Dept. of Homeland Security has produced a Catastrophic Planning Initiative with response guidelines for citizens. Run-Hide-Fight consists of three strategic categories of response in the event of an attack:

1 – RUN: If you can escape, evacuate. Evacuate if others agree or not. Leave belongings behind. Help others escape if possible. Prevent others from entering the area. Call 9-1-1 when you are safe,

2 – HIDE: If escape is not possible, lock and/or blockade the door. Silence your cell phone. Hide behind large objects. Remain very quiet.

3 – FIGHT: As a last resort and only if your life is in danger, attempt to incapacitate the shooter, act with physical aggression, use improvised weapons and commit to your actions.

Save a Life

UH SJMC Environmental Services staffers were
the first to take the community educational class
Stop the Bleed on Jan. 24 at the hospital.

The mission of the UH St. John Medical Center Stop the Bleed program is to save lives.

“The focus of the program is on the immediate response to bleeding, to recognize life-threatening bleeding and to teach appropriate ways to stop bleeding,” says Sheehan. “The help given by an immediate responder can often make the difference between life and death, even before professional rescuers arrive. With the right training, all can help save a life.”

Personal Bleeding Control Kits are available online for about $50.

March 31, 2018 is National Stop the Bleed Day. UH St. John Medical Center is providing four classes at Great Northern Mall in the UH 360 room. The class times are 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. To reserve a spot please call 1-877-597-6348. It is a toll free call.

If you or your organization would like to schedule a Stop the Bleed presentation, please contact Matt Sheehan at 440-221-6835.

Click below to view the Stop the Bleed flow chart, booklet or poster.


flow chart



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