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Eagle County Emergency Services, Eagle County Public Safety Council, Starting Hearts, and Vail Health, are collaborating in a unique Stop the Bleed (STB) initiative throughout Eagle County.  STB was created by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a program that includes widespread placement of trauma kits in public locations and free education to citizens using the ACS curriculum.

Each partner in the collaboration has a unique role to play.  The initiative began with a proposal by Eagle County Emergency Management followed with generous financial underwriting by the Eagle County Public Safety Council for the first 210 STP kits placed throughout Eagle County.

Starting Hearts, an Eagle County nonprofit, placed the trauma kits in public buildings, schools, parks, and other locations throughout the county, utilizing existing on-site defibrillator cabinets for ease of access.  Each cabinet has a decal on its face indicating the availability of a trauma kit inside.  In addition, Eagle County purchased an additional fifty kits for placement in county government facilities and vehicles.  “We are so pleased to be working in cooperation with our local safety agencies to provide tools necessary to respond in emergency situations,” said Alan Himelfarb, Starting Hearts’ Executive Director.  “The Stop the Bleed program is a natural extension of Starting Hearts’ efforts to address our mission to save more lives.”

The Stop the Bleed Kits provide necessary items to help stop the bleeding in an emergency situation before professional help arrives.  STB kits contain items such as a C-A-T® tourniquet, compressed gauze dressing, latex gloves, and more. These kits are integrated as part of an emergency response system.   “We owe it to our families and our community to know how to respond to life-threatening bleeding and have the necessary tools close at hand,” said Birch Barron, Eagle County Emergency Manager. “Nobody can predict when and where an accident might occur, but you can make a difference.”

To bring the initiative full circle, Vail Health is taking the lead in providing hands-on instruction to individuals, with currently twelve instructors that include physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, and EMTs.  The instructors are registered with Stop the Bleed and adhere to the guidelines set by the ACS. The class includes an educational lecture and practical skills using training materials specially developed to teach bleeding control techniques. The instructor checks movements as participants practice three different bleeding control actions.

Several states in the U.S. have already enacted legislation to educate, inform, and empower citizens to become immediate responders in a bleeding emergency. In some states, this legislation includes training in schools and providing kits for schools and public places, and the Colorado Trauma Network is currently pursuing this in Colorado. The team at Vail Health will be engaged in this effort at a state and regional level and is committed to being a leader in Stop The Bleed education for Eagle County and beyond.

“In a mountain community like the Eagle River Valley, this training is vital, as uncontrolled bleeding after injury is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma,” said Elizabeth Kruger, MSN, Trauma Program Manager at Vail Health. “People here are extremely active in outdoor pursuits. From skiing to hunting, there is a higher percentage of lacerations than in other more urban settings, and this training can help save a life.”

About Eagle County Emergency Management

Emergency Management works to protect lives and property in Eagle County through effective emergency management practices and procedures. The office coordinates with local response agencies to prevent, prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from natural human-caused emergency situations.

About Eagle County Public Safety Council

The Mission of the Eagle County Public Safety Council is to work together to promote health and safety in Eagle County. This is done by fostering interagency relations, communication, cooperation and coordination through practice and planning, sharing lessons learned and maintaining standardized response activities.

About Starting Hearts

Starting Hearts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Avon, CO.  Our mission is to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims through free CPR and defibrillator education, widespread distribution of lifesaving defibrillators everywhere in public, activation of citizen first responders, and broad stakeholder cooperation in the communities we serve. Our organization is now expanding programs through affiliations across Colorado and encourages interested parties to contact us.

About Vail Health

Vail Health is a nonprofit community health care system with 12 locations across Eagle and Summit counties. Vail Health offers a 56-bed hospital, 24/7 emergency care, helipad, urgent care clinics, cancer care, breast centers, cardiovascular services, surgery, childbirth, physical therapy, primary and specialty care, and more. Locally operated and governed by a volunteer board of directors, Vail Health has committed $60 million to Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. For more information, visit www.vailhealth.org.

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