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Self Defense

Stop the Bleed

Here is my brief after action report on the Stop the Bleed course I recently attended. I urge everyone to look for and attend a course like this to start developing some basic, but critically important, first aid skills.

Took the first step towards my training goals for this year with a Stop the Bleed class held at KR Training with Levi Nathan instructing the course. All in all, it was a very worthwhile refresher of some of the First Aid skills I learned two and half decades ago that didn’t require much investment. I highly recommend everyone takes this course as it teaches some extremely valuable first aid skills that could literally mean the difference between life and death while waiting for an emergency response team.

Levi was a very pleasant and knowledgeable instructor with practical field experience as an EMT. He made the class enjoyable and was effective in communicating the content, demonstrating the skills, and passing those skills in the hands on portion of the course.

The class structure consisted of a lecture segment, followed by a hands on skills segment, and wrapped up with a look at Levi’s personal first aid set up.

The lecture portion wasn’t very long in duration and was made up of a PowerPoint well organized presentation that Levi followed. While Levi covered the content in the presentation, he did so without reading from a script. He took the time to cover the topic on each slide while sharing relevant insights from his professional experience. The content covered in the presentation is pretty straight forward and not difficult to absorb. Even so, I’m glad I brought a little notebook along and took copious notes as it was presented because there were some important details which I might otherwise forget without reviewing them from time to time. One small thing that could have improved the overall value of the lecture portion of the class would be the addition of some reference material the students can take home with them to review in the future. This would be helpful for students who didn’t take notes and also in case a note taker missed an important detail.

The skills portion of the class was great. Each student had the opportunity to practice applying pressure to a wound, wrapping a wound with an Israeli emergency bandage or an emergency trauma dressing, packing a large penetrating wound with gauze, and applying a CAT tourniquet. Students also learned how to make their own dummy wounds using pool noodles that can be used to practice these skills on their own. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons relearned from the hands on skills portion is the importance of practice recency when it comes to perishable skills. All of the skills covered in the class are skills that I had learned years ago and hadn’t practiced in a long time. While it didn’t take long to recall them and practice them, I still managed to stumble a bit when I first attempted them.

The skills covered in the course included the proper application of a tourniquet, how to pack a large penetrating wound correctly, and how to bandage a wound and properly apply pressure to it. From a knowledge perspective, the class material also covered when (and where) not to apply those skills along with the legal considerations of being a good samaritan.

Overall, I think a Stop the Bleed class is a great starting point for anyone who wants to start leveling up their first aid knowledge (or could use a refresher). Given the course’s low cost (in many cases the course is offered free of charge) and small time commitment (2 to 3 hours) makes attending it a no brainer.

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