On October 7 and 8, Burrell High School students were among the first students in Westmoreland County to get training on how to stop life-threatening bleeding.
The training was a part of the Stop the Bleed campaign, a national effort led by the American College of Surgeons Committee that teaches people how to treat wounds that occur in everyday emergencies and man-made and natural disasters.
Since its inception in 2015, the program has trained more than 600,000 people in bleeding control, but none of these were local students ?— until now.
"The students learned that they can play a vital role in saving someone's life in any setting where an emergency may occur," said Carla Roland, Assistant Principal at Burrell High School. "Specifically, they learned how to pack a wound to stop a person from bleeding and also how to use a tourniquet if a life-threatening injury is located on a limb."
The training was led by Dr. William Jenkins, director of emergency services at Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, and his team of surgeons and EMTs. Students were broken down by grade levels for 70-minute sessions each.
In addition to basic wound care, Dr. Jenkins and his colleagues went over a number of concepts, including how to determine if an area is safe enough to help a victim, how to use nearby tools if a bleeding control kit is not available, and how to keep a person calm until help can arrive.
Overall, the student reaction to the training was positive.
"The students were fantastic participants," said Roland. "Some verbalized appreciating the preparedness and expressed their confidence in handling an emergency situation anywhere they might be."
While the training did take place during the school day, Roland stresses that it's a skill that extends beyond the classroom.
"Knowledge is always power," Roland said. "Stop the Bleed information can be used in any setting and empowers people to have the means to take care of another."
With this training under their belt, Roland believes students will be better prepared for life in general.
"We view safety from two perspectives: hardening the schools but also strengthening our people, both students and staff," Roland said. "Stop the Bleed training was one element of the differentiated approach to empowering and strengthening our high school students as they learn to navigate the world."