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County pushing to have mass casualty kits for first responders

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 November 2018 at 12:08 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Justin Niederhofer shows two of the mass casualty kits that are going to ambulances, fire departments, Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles and other first responders.

ALBION – New kits with tourniquets, gauze and other supplies will be available for each fire department, Sheriff’s Office road patrol vehicle and ambulance provider in the county, helping first responders to “stop the bleed.”

The Orleans County Emergency Management Office has received state funding to purchase the mass casualty kits. Right now there are 33 kits in the field with about 30 more coming. Those 63 kits have 400 tourniquets.

The smaller kits have four tourniquets and the larger ones have eight. The kits also have bandages, gauze and an instruction sheet.

The EMO pushed to have the kits after a mass casualty training exercise in September 2017. First responders realized the fire departments and Orleans County Sheriff’s Office road patrol vehicles weren’t equipped with tourniquets and other supplies to stop multiple people from bleeding out.

A person can bleed out with 3 to 10 minutes if the wound isn’t stopped, said Justin Niederhofer, assistant Carlton fire chief.

He also is an EMT for COVA ambulance, the lead medic for the county’s SWAT team and Carlton’s representative on the county’s EMS Council. He has been coordinating the effort to get the kits in the county

State funding for about $40,000 is paying for the kits and training.

“It was brought up at the County EMS Council that we weren’t that well prepared supply wise,” said Dale Banker, the county’s EMO coordinator. “Hopefully all those medical supplies never have to be used.”

If there was a mass shooting or an accident with multiple victims, the kits could be critical to stopping the bleed.

Each fire department is getting two of the kits. Medina Fire Department will get four of the bigger for each of its ambulances, and COVA will have three.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office will have one in all 12 road vehicles, and the three investigators which each have one. The fire coordinators and lead medics also will carry the kits.

First responders are being trained on how to use the kits. Banker and Niederhofer want to expand the number of kits to local schools as well.

There will be training for using the kits for first responders in eastern, central and western Orleans, Banker said.

He urged everyone to familiarize themselves with how to use a tourniquet to help someone having a massive bleed.

“Just some basic training in using a tourniquet and you could save someone’s life,” he said.

The kits include gauze, tourniquets and other supplies to try to prevent a person from bleeding out.

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