The following article appeared in the Somerset County Public Safety Expressor, the quarterly newsletter of the Somerset County Department of Emergency Services. 1889 Foundation is reproducing it here with permission.

by Joel Landis, Director of the Somerset County Department of Emergency Services (pictured, far left)

The 1889 Foundation and Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Trauma services have collaborated with assistance from the American Trauma Society of PA (ATSPA) to develop a project to improve the safety of our first responders. First responders such as law enforcement, fire/rescue, park rangers, and etc. are frequently the first on scene of accidents. We have trained these individuals on methods to save the person’s life with skills such as stop the bleed, CPR, and basic first aid. We have also supplied them with equipment to be able to do these lifesaving procedures, but we now realize these first responders are placing their lives in jeopardy by doing this due to the COVID pandemic. Asking these professionals to social distance while performing their job is impossible to complete. Masks and gloves are simply not enough. We felt the need to develop a plan to add a layer of protection for these brave individuals.

The Enhanced Stop the Bleed kits are designed to have the equipment to not only save the victim’s life but also protect the first responders by adding a full set of personnel protective equipment (PPE) and items to decontaminate themselves and the scene after the emergency all in one kit. In phase one of the project, kits will be distributed to Law Enforcement Officers along with training on proper applying (donning), removal (doffing), and decontamination procedures. The kit has also been designed to carry disposable hazard materials bags to protect the community from contaminated items typically left on the scene.

This collaborative project is being completed as a team effort from 1889 Foundation, ATSPA, Conemaugh Health Systems, Cambria EMA department, and Somerset EMA department. Thank you for assisting in making our community safer!