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Pitcairn seminar teaches police life-saving techniques

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Times Express
Dr. Daniel Schwartz, Forbes EMS Medical Director, West Penn Allegheny Health System, teaches area law enforcement agencies how to react to an 'officer down' situation in a workshop hosted by Pitcairn Police Department on June 3. Officers Patrick Loalbo, Mike Morency and Karl Kinkopf study the technique demonstrated by Schwartz.

Life-saving techniques learned in Iraq and Afghanistan were the focus of an “officer down” seminar in Pitcairn last week.

The seminar was organized by Pitcairn police Chief Scott Farally and taught by Dr. Dan Schwartz of Forbes Regional Hospital.

“Police officers are taught many of the same lessons that we teach soldiers regarding immediate life-threatening care at the point of injury,” Schwartz said.

In the past, officers were taught the ABCs of life-saving techniques: Airway, Bleeding, Circulation, Schwartz said.

But that no longer is the case.

“We now are teaching officers to focus on hemorrhage control as soon as possible,” Schwartz said.

“That means early use of tourniquets and hemostatic bandages to speed clotting.”

And regardless of the injury in an active shooter situation, the shooter takes first priority, Farally said.

“You don't have time to put on a tourniquet if you're being shot at,” Farally said.

“You have to neutralize that threat before you can initiate care.”

Nearly 20 officers from Pitcairn, Turtle Creek, East Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh attended the seminar.

“This class went above and beyond your basic first-aid techniques,” Farally said.

“(Police officers) are so used to running around and treating everyone else, but the concept of treating ourselves has been lost.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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