stop the bleed

Students are practicing safe bleeding control methods at a Stop the Bleed training session. 

Members of the Corps of Cadets are participating in the White House Stop the Bleed initiative, which is a program that teaches people safe practices for bleed control and wound care.

“If more people are trained in bleeding control, then more people can be ready for the unexpected, especially with the high prevalence in mass shootings in the U.S.,” said Darian Bersch, a junior majoring in biological sciences.

The Poway synagogue and the Gilroy Garlic Festival shootings were two of the ​359 mass shootings of 2019​ in the U.S., leaving 4 and 21 victims injured or killed respectively. Having seen these tragedies first-hand, Bersch pursued her EMT certification so that she could provide care if she happened to come across events like these again.

She didn’t stop there, however, and wanted to find a way for the layman to be able to provide life-saving interventions should they find themselves in a similar situation.

This led Bersch to reach out to Virginia Tech’s Office of Emergency Management (VTEM) to help advocate for the teaching of the​ Stop the Bleed (STB)​ program throughout the university.

Stop the Bleed is an initiative that was launched in 2015 by the White House to teach the general public about life-saving interventions concerning bleeding control, which includes tourniquet use and other forms of wound care. Properly trained bystanders will be able to save lives by controlling life-threatening bleeding before the arrival of emergency medical services.

Bersch is working toward training every member of the Corps of Cadets, hoping to eventually make the course a graduation requirement. She plans to expand the project by recruiting more people to become instructors and even hoping to train the entirety of the next freshman class in the Corps next year.

VTEM and the Corps of Cadets have worked toward scheduling a Stop the Bleed class every evening at 7 p.m. from Monday to Thursday for the rest of the semester for the Army branch of the Corps.

In addition, Bersch attributes the success of this initiative to help from medical officer, Michaela Stevens, medic staff members, Liam Jones, Jaclyn Guevara, faculty advisor Jason Oberoi and VTEM emergency coordinator Chris Bolling.

“I also would like to see us work alongside VTEM more, and promote the STB classes throughout the university,” Bersch said. “We worked with them for Gobblerfest and other events to promote (the classes).”

Furthermore, the incentive to promote this program is simple, she stated.

“This small piece of knowledge can help save lives,” Bersch said. “If 1,200 people here gain the knowledge on bleeding control, when they go home or go on vacation, they will be helpful wherever they are.”

Anyone in the Virginia Tech campus community can register for this free training by visiting the Virginia Tech Emergency Management​ registration site to see available dates and times.