Burrell High School students taught how to stop life-threatening bleeding
Burrell High School students were likely among the first students in Westmoreland County to get training on how to stop life-threatening bleeding, said Dr. William Jenkins, director of emergency services at Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant.
Burrell’s high school juniors and seniors were trained Monday as part of the national Stop the Bleed program. Ninth- and 1oth-grade students completed the training Tuesday.
“We have the training if we need it,” said Gavynn Thompson, a sophomore from Upper Burrell.
“It’s really good to know,” said Kate Leiner, an 11th-grader, also from Upper Burrell.
Jenkins told students to first make sure they are safe before tending to anyone. He showed them how to use direct pressure and, when needed, tourniquets to stop bleeding.
Uncontrolled bleeding can be life-threatening within minutes.
“Stop the Bleed is a national program that teaches people control techniques so, if they are called upon to help control bleeding before first responders arrive, they are able to provide the control techniques to save lives,” Jenkins said.
When people are trained, “they can step forward and help in the crucial minutes before emergency services arrive,” Jenkins said.
“It works. We have countless examples of bystanders or police officers, other lay persons, providing these skills and saving lives before others arrive,” Jenkins said. “It worked at the Tree of Life. It worked at the Las Vegas shooting. And students who have been taught can show younger students how to help when necessary.”
In the case of a mass shooting or other violence, students may be locked in classrooms, and it will take police a while to clear the danger and allow EMS crews to enter a school, he said.
“There are blue buckets in every classroom in every school with equipment inside for emergencies like that,” said Burrell schools nurse Angela Dastolfo. “Stop the Bleed will help.”
John Boylan, the school’s principal, said the district offered the Stop the Bleed training to prepare them “for the crazy world that we now live in.” He said the training is part of a two-pronged approach.
“With our social-emotional curriculum, we are trying to teach our kids to care for each other and be nice to each other,” Boylan said. “And, also, there is the hardening of the schools and security. There is also reactive training in the event that, God forbid, something occur at our high school,” Boylan said.
Assistant Principal Carla Roland said it’s important to empower students with a few measures they can do before first responders arrive.
“The students know here at Burrell that the students play a role in their safety. They all play a role in taking care of each other. Now, with their Stop the Bleed knowledge, they can take care of someone anywhere,” Roland said.
A group of Excela nurses, a Greensburg paramedic and a nurse practitioner volunteered to help students practice. Nurse Practitioner Vicki Cunnard was a flight nurse with STAT Medevac before she starting working for the hospital. She knows how critical time is in stopping uncontrolled bleeding.
Tiffany Weinel, an Excela nurse from Apollo and Kittanning, has a younger sister who is in high school.
“I know if something happened there, she wouldn’t know what to do. This program could help them,” she said.
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .