If you ever find yourself at the scene of an accident and come across someone with a gushing wound, would you have a clue how to help?
Ian Voisine, fire captain and paramedic at Fire Station 1, wants to spread the word on how to “Stop the Bleed.”
He is leading a free four-hour class to anyone affiliated with Redstone Arsenal, to provide local information he obtained in a national campaign by the same name.
The class trains participants in the proper use of tourniquets and how to pack other wounds to stop bleeding as an immediate life-saving measure.
The national campaign started after a couple of tragedies in which bystanders with training were able to use such measures to save lives, Voisine said.
“Stop the Bleed started after the Vegas (mass) shooting, and the Boston (Marathon) bombing,” he said.
Thanks to the efforts of those on the scene and trained in the use of tourniquets – including many with military experience – people learned “how well tourniquets work.”
Voisine saw tourniquets work firsthand when he served as a Marine corporal and witnessed an aircraft crash in Iraq. He was working then in security, not as a medic, but he observed as others used tourniquets to save lives.
Misinformation about tourniquets has been around for some time, Voisine said. For example, some people think tourniquets should only be used as a last resort, because “they think it means you’re going to lose
“It’s not true,” he said. “You want to stop all that bleeding. This is a course you can use every day.”
While professionally made tourniquets are ideal, many items can be used to fashion a tourniquet, such as a belt or clothing, “anything one and a half inches thick,” Voisine said.
He hoped to begin teaching Stop the Bleed classes in early 2020, but the pandemic delayed those plans. He is now ready to schedule classes upon request, and said participation is open to individuals and groups, including youth such as Scout troops.
The four-hour class is comprised of a Power Point slide show, lecture, hand-on use of tourniquets, and a test.
The “hands-on” portion of the class asks students to randomly put a tourniquet on themselves or a buddy.
“They’re not comfortable,” Voisine said. “I want people to know how tight a tourniquet is supposed to feel.”
Everyone who completes the class successfully will receive a certificate of completion good for two years.
“It’s a lot like CPR. The only difference is my class is free,” Voisine said.
Although Voisine is currently the only teacher on post, he is training other firefighters and paramedics and hopes eventually there will be multiple qualified instructors.
To schedule the class, call Voisiine at 876-3437, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.