STOP THE BLEED: Local first responder urges people to learn basics of first aid

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 11:29 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Monday night in Buffalo, Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle in a game against the Bengals.

A medical team gave him CPR on the field for almost ten minutes. They restored his heartbeat before sending him to the hospital.

“They were able to throw a ton of resources at a situation,” Tony Stimpson, President of AGAW Trauma Systems, said. “When you look at that, that’s great, but what happens if you’re at a local football game or a church event or whatever it may be.”

Tony Stimpson has been a first responder for over 40 years. But, he says, that doesn’t have to be your job to maybe save a life. He says seeing what happened to Hamlin reminded him why everyone should know the basics of first aid.

“This is a time and a place to start getting trained and better prepared moving forward, from this day forward,” Stimpson said.

You can get training at a lot of places, including local hospitals, local EMS and local fire stations. Luckily for me, Tony was able to show me a few things when he came to the newsroom Wednesday.

We started with how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED, which was used by first responders on Damar Hamlin Monday night.

“AED’s will prompt you,” Stimpson said.

An AED will tell you what to do, including letting you know whether or not a shock is advised. If it’s not, you should be ready to perform CPR.

“We need to be able to pump it,” Stimpson said. “The heart’s not pumping so this [hand] is the pump. Heel of the hand right on the sternum, you’re going to compress, interlock the hands and start CPR.”

Most people are familiar with CPR but applying a torniquet may be unfamiliar. For me, I had never seen a tourniquet before, let alone used one.

Even though I had never seen a tourniquet before, I was surprised by how easy it was to apply. Even with the pressure on, I was ablet o put it on Tony in under a minute.

I didn’t have the pressure of life-or-death, but Tony says with a little training, everyone can be ready when the moment gets real.

“Now imagine just a little bit of training,” Stimpson said. “See one. Do one. Teach one.”