Health First is teaching the community how to save lives with free bleeding-control class

By: Sara Paulson

Jake Moore was among the first members of the public to take Health First’s free “Stop the Bleed” training. With plans to go into law enforcement, the 22-year-old newlywed figured the skill set could help him save lives on the job.

Two months after that bleeding-control course, Moore put his new knowledge to use – on himself. Moore was accidentally shot in November 2016 while out hunting. After he fell to the ground and was unable to walk, he directed one of his friends to go to his truck and grab his tourniquet. Moore’s pal tried applying the emergency medical device but couldn’t get past the panic. “I ended up taking it from him and putting it on myself,” he said.

Moore had the tourniquet on within five minutes and was en route to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne. He credits his newfound knowledge (and the Health First-provided device) with surviving and not needing surgery. “If I hadn’t had the tourniquet, a whole array of things could have happened,” said Moore. “It could’ve been much, much worse. Having a tourniquet on hand and knowing how to use it was drastically life-changing.”

Moore, who moved from Palm Bay to Jacksonville in January to begin police academy training, is incredibly grateful for the free civilian class he attended with his wife on September 8, 2016. Health First has made Stop the Bleed, a nationwide bleeding-control campaign, a local priority.

The class, taught regularly at Health First’s Training Center in Melbourne, teaches civilians basic but critical bleeding-control skills, focusing on tourniquet use and pressure application.

“Some of these injuries, you don’t have the time to wait for a first responder,” said David Schmitt, Health First’s Training Center manager, during a recent class. “We have to be prepared to help ourselves.”

More than 2,000 people in Brevard have taken the training, including police and fire officials. These lessons are funded by gifts to the Health First Foundation. Participants receive a free medical- grade tourniquet. Classes are held twice a month at Health First’s Training Center in Melbourne. The knowledge is intended to help people control bleeding from sudden, severe injuries – whether from an accident at home or “a man with a gun,” Schmitt said. “There’s no statistic higher than zero that’s acceptable,” Schmitt said of “preventable deaths” caused by blood loss.

Basics covered in class include:
• Identifying thesource and type of bleeding
• How to apply a medical or make shift tourniquet
• Controlling bleeding through direct pressure and elevation
• How to stop moderate bleeding from becoming severe

Being Prepared
Stop the Bleed is a nationwide campaign spearheaded by The Hartford Consensus. The 2014 joint committee of experts was brought together by the American College of Surgeons after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Incidents since that tragedy, in which 20 schoolchildren and six staff members were killed, have occurred close to home. The Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016 in Orlando left 49 dead. In January, a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, killing five. Even more were injured in these shootings.


Rob Spivey, a program trainer and the trauma program manager at Holmes Regional Medical Center, said trauma is the No. 1 cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 46. “It takes just about three minutes for someone to bleed to death if it’s true arterial bleeding,” Spivey said. “Sometimes, it takes three to five minutes for professional help to get there. So think about that timeframe.”

People have shied away from tourniquets over the years, but, Spivey said, the devices “are a good thing” and have saved more than 4,000 military lives.

“This is not a replacement for professional medical help,” Spivey said. “This class is not meant to make you a medical professional.” Melbourne police Sgt. Michael Schmid was one of the instructors in that first civilian class. He took the first-responder version almost three years ago. Schmid recalls a law enforcement officer who’d also undergone the 2014 training used the skills when the deputy came across a bad traffic accident. He said the deputy applied a tourniquet to the severely injured driver’s arm and saved the man’s life. “It opened our eyes and made us realize we had to have that as one of our core law enforcement skills,” Schmid said.

Safety team members of First Baptist Church of Eau Gallie were among the participants in a January civilian class. “We’re trying to get organized,” said Aaron Liebold, 27, of Melbourne. “Just in case.” As for Jake Moore, he’s incredibly thankful for the lifesaving lesson. “It probably saved my life,” he said.

Health First’s public Stop the Bleed training is provided to the community at no cost. Classes are held at Health First’s Education & Training Center, 3470 N. Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne. Register now at