INDIANAPOLIS – In an emergency, every second counts, as do the tools readily available in those times.
“Seconds matter. We’ve seen it in a number of incidents, ”said Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
When it comes to an emergency response, the police are often the first to arrive on the scene, but what happens when rescue techniques are needed and emergency medical personnel do not isn’t there yet, or the scene isn’t safe for them to approach?
This is where trauma kits come in. The kits play a crucial role for regional agencies in Marion County, including the Metropolitan Indianapolis Police Department (IMPD), as well as police departments in the surrounding eight counties.
To date, the Central Indiana Police Foundation has distributed over 3,000 trauma kits to agents in central Indiana, all made possible by donations and volunteers helping to assemble the kits.
ARCO Indianapolis employees volunteered their time on Tuesday to help assemble trauma kits. The event was hosted by the Central Indiana Police Foundation and included a lunch, an explanation of why the campaign had started for these kits, and then a real assembly by the volunteers.
In total, the volunteers assembled around 130 kits in about 30 minutes. Inside each kit is a tourniquet, a traumatic bandage, which can be used to help heal a wound, traumatic shears, strong enough to cut a vest, seat belt, or piece of leather, and a plastic OP airway, used to maintain or open an airway.
“You would be amazed how hard the clothes are to cut,” said Adam Staab, IMPD officer, as he demonstrated why every piece of equipment is in the kit and how to properly apply a tourniquet. .
The kits assembled on Tuesday will be kept as backups for distribution to law enforcement officials.
“We see the kits used several times a year,” Snyder said. “We have already saved countless lives, both civilians and officers.
Snyder said that as recently as last weekend, trauma kits have been used to help save the lives of a civilian and a police officer.
“The contents of the kit were used in the incident in which an IMPD officer was shot and killed on several occasions,” he said. “We were also told that parts of the trauma kit were also used on the suspect during the event.”
An IMPD officer is recovering after being shot five times in Riverside on May 29. She was released from hospital the night of the shooting, just hours after a tourniquet was used to treat her injuries.
Snyder said, “The mission of our officers is to preserve life as much as possible, and even in incidents where an officer must use force to resolve a situation in order to protect others, and that force can result in serious injury or death. someone else, our agents always provide medical follow-up.
“There are also those incidents like the FedEx tragedy where medical staff cannot necessarily enter right away because the scene is still not secure,” he said.
During the mass shooting at FedEx on April 15, where 8 people were killed, trauma kits were used by officers who responded to the scene.
Angela Hughley was on her way to work that night when she was shot by the suspect while she was in his car. It was the actions of two officers who found her injured that probably saved her life.
In April, Agents Jason Niewedde and Skip Copeland had the opportunity to reunite with Hughley for the first time since that night and recounted what happened at those crucial moments.
“I was driving as fast and as hard as possible to get there to try to save lives, to save lives, when I got to the scene I was walking through the parking lot and noticed a car that had been shot down and there were two people standing on the other side of the car, “Constable Copeland said.” I wanted to make sure they weren’t a gunman. I drove up to that car, that’s where I found Mrs. Hughley.
It was then that Officer Niewedde arrived and realized that they were dealing with a person who had been shot.
“Once we got her out of the car Jason said we needed gauze so I went to see the trauma kit that was given to the ward several years ago,” the officer explained. Copeland. Through the use of an Israeli emergency bandage in the kit, officers wrapped it around Hughley, exerting pressure until medics arrived.
“With this type of injury, this dressing literally starts the clotting process to keep the person from bleeding,” Snyder said.
Hughley attributed the survival of the shooting to the actions of the two officers who defended her and ensured that she was taken care of until medics could come to the scene.
“I shouldn’t have done it, but I did,” she said. “So it’s a blessing to see them. “
Although these are two major incidents, police and the Indianapolis EMS (IEMS) say that the use of these trauma kits at the scene, before the EMS arrives, is quite common.
“What’s impressive about police officers is that they learn from the military and apply those lessons learned on the streets,” said Mark Liao, IEMS medical director.
He said that often when the ambulance arrives at the scene of a shooting, many victims already have a tourniquet applied by a police officer, which can make a difference for these patients. He also recalls that not all uses of these kits are due to shootings.
“We think a lot about the shootings in Indianapolis, we’ve had documented cases of these trauma kits being used in traffic accidents by police officers,” Liao said.
One of the first kits ever used, just 24 hours after being distributed, was to rescue a child who had been shot dead in a car shootout.
What created the massive surge of trauma kits in officer cars in central Indiana and beyond?
Snyder said the need for these kits was demonstrated by a shootout that seriously injured retired IMPD officer Jason Fishburn in 2008.
In July 2008, IMPD began searching for a suspect in a series of burglaries and thefts in eastern Indianapolis. When officers attempted to stop the van the suspect was in, the suspect left on foot, Constable Fishburn being one of the officers attempting to stop him.
As agents on the scene worked to confirm the location of all agents involved, Snyder said they realized they couldn’t find Agent Fishburn.
“We had officers who stayed with the suspect and the rest of us immediately started backing up to try and find him along the path of this foot chase,” Snyder said. “We didn’t get very far until we looked down between two houses and the first things we saw were Officer Fishburn’s boots holding straight up on the ground.”
Officer Fishburn had received two bullets – one to the chest, which was protected by his vest – and one to the head.
As officers stepped in and helped treat Officer Fishburn, an OOW, who was a former combat medic, returned with a medical trauma kit he had prepared on his own.
“He was given a one percent chance of survival. That’s what the trauma surgeon told us at the hospital, ”Snyder said. “They immediately took him for surgery and we fully believed he was going to be okay.”
He survived his injuries, although Officer Fishburn suffered permanent damage and later retired from the IMPD.
While Snyder believes it was the officer’s tenacity and willingness to fight that helped him survive, it was also this medical kit that allowed them to heal his wound until a ambulance could transport him to hospital.
“Every officer should have some form of trauma kit available,” Snyder said. So, with that, Snyder and the Central Indiana Police Foundation made it their mission to try to get them into the hands of officers not only in Indianapolis, but the surrounding agencies as well, and it continued to grow from there. .
“We’re so happy to see how this spreads in a positive way, and quite honestly, it’s an important legacy of Officer Jason Fishburn’s sacrifice. His sacrifice not only protected our community that day, but he continues to protect our community every day, ”he said.
Snyder hopes that will continue to grow and that people understand how important these kits are not only in saving the lives of officers, but citizens as well. He said it was a perfect example of a community-police partnership helping to save lives.
“People say, I wonder if it was one of my kits that was used, but the other thing we are saying is you can help provide a kit that can be used on you”, a- he shared. “Every component in this kit is vitally important and the importance of making sure we have them available.”
“The ultimate goal, quite frankly, is that we would love to see one of these kits in the hands of every officer in the State of Indiana, but we’re even trying to encourage other agencies across the country to review this. model and consider standardizing that across the country, ”Snyder said.
He said there was currently an effort underway to distribute the kits to law enforcement officers in southern Indiana. Snyder said a commitment had been made for a $ 25,000 matchmaking challenge to raise funds to provide trauma kits to these officers.
He explained that if churches, businesses and organizations increase that amount starting next month, an anonymous donor will double it, which will provide at least 500 officers with trauma kits in the southern part of the state.
Trauma kits cost around $ 100 each. After receiving the donations, the Central Indiana Police Foundation buys equipment and organizes events like Tuesday, for volunteers to help assemble the kits.
Snyder said, “In this day and age where our community is ravaged by violence, one of the recurring questions I always get from the community is, what can we do to help? “
“It’s a great first step to help. It has an immediate impact on our community.
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