HF_header130 first responders complete program, enhance life-saving skills

MELBOURNE, FL (December 22, 2016) – Using a tourniquet is a simple tool that could determine whether a person survives a trauma. In the past, using a tourniquet was considered as a last resort to save a life with concern for the loss of a limb.  Now thanks to Health First’s training to more than 130 members of the Melbourne Fire Department, they have learned how to use tourniquets during hostile or mass casualty incidents in a way that will save lives and limbs.   

 Recently, Melbourne’s firefighters underwent eight hours of training provided by Health First trauma providers. The training was inspired in part by the national “Stop the Bleed” campaign, which teaches individuals the tools necessary to save lives in a trauma crisis.  Health First and the City of Melbourne’s first responders fine-tuned this training and made it a priority. Recent tragedies ­– such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, where 49 lives were lost – demonstrate the need for such training and that every second counts.

Altogether, Health First has now trained more than 1,600 first responders through this program.

“We’ve all been following the national trends and we know that active shooter incidents are on the rise,” said Tom Pownall, EMS Division Chief for the Melbourne Fire Department.

In addition to providing the training, Health First donated two tourniquets for each Melbourne Fire Department emergency vehicle.

 The training highlights the ever-changing reality of public safety. Traditionally, firefighters wait for clearance by law enforcement before entering a scene to administer medical care. Now, the city’s 250-plus police and firefighters can work in tandem to care for trauma victims almost immediately – a first in Brevard County.

“Every first responder in the municipality is trained and equipped to deal with these life-threatening conditions,” said David Schmitt, Training Center manager at Health First. That’s what the fire department is all about – saving lives and preventing death when it is preventable.”

The department was taught Law Enforcement & First Responder-Tactical Casualty Care, a program through the National Association of EMTs. Skills taught included:

•  How to quickly control bleeding with a tourniquet during hostile/mass casualty incidents

•  Bleeding control utilizing gauze packs or topical hemostatic agents

 The course combined principles of Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), which all U.S. military medics undergo. Lessons followed Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) guidelines and meet the recommendations of the Hartford Consensus Document on Improving Survival from Active Shooter Events.

 About Health First

Founded in 1995, Health First is Brevard County’s not-for-profit, community healthcare system. The fully integrated delivery network (IDN) includes health insurance plans, hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group and outpatient and wellness services. As a locally owned, not-for-profit organization, Health First is committed to investing in our community. In 2015, Health First provided more than $129 million in community support. To learn more about Health First and how we’re giving back to our community, please visit HFgivesback.org.

 About the Melbourne Fire Department

The Melbourne Fire Department operates seven basic life support units and 10 advanced life support non-transport units from eight stations utilizing 132 medically certified firefighters. Of the department’s 132 personnel, 92 are paramedics and 44 are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). So far this year the Melbourne Fire Department responded to over 18,000 incidents. Approximately 85% of the incidents are requests for emergency medical services.