“Do you want to have a deep laceration, or do you want to have a gunshot wound?” Allison Anderson, injury prevention coordinator for South Nassau Communities Hospital’s trauma department, asked Rockville Centre Mayor Francis Murray.
“I’ll take a gunshot wound,” Murray, after quickly considering a question he had never been asked, answered back with a smile, as he and other village employees enjoyed a momentary lapse in the seriousness of a presentation designed to save lives.
Murray, along with Deputy Mayor Kathy Baxley, proceeded to work at a table set up in the court room at Village Hall on Nov. 15, practicing to stop the bleeding on a fake life-threatening wound.
Stop the Bleed is a White House initiative to train not just first responders, but everybody, just as if one was to be trained in CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. The training was created in 2015 in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., three years prior, which resulted in 27 deaths.
Anderson taught a variety of village employees — including workers in the public works, sanitation and parks departments — about how to properly use a tourniquet and hold pressure on bleeding wounds — from stabbings, to explosive injuries, to gunshot wounds, as well as injuries suffered at home or in the workplace.
“I think it’s so important, especially this building being in the heart of the village and then everybody is kind of from a different background,” Anderson said. “You have your people who work hands-on, you have people who work behind the desk. For everyone to know how to save a life, essentially, is really important.”
Representatives from South Nassau began doing Stop the Bleed presentations in July, Anderson said, visiting fire departments, schools, and now Rockville Centre, the first village the hospital has visited. One goal of the training is to ensure that Stop the Bleed kits, which include tourniquets, gloves and QuikClot, are accessible in as many public places as possible, next to automated external defibrillators.
“I really want to thank South Nassau for coming to the Village of the Rockville Centre and teaching our employees,” Murray said. “A lot of them are first responders. We are volunteer firefighters, but not everyone is, and they wouldn’t know how to save someone’s life, so after today, they learn.” He added that the village, which does not currently have tourniquets, would be purchasing some in the future.
Anderson noted the prevalence of gun violence in recent years — two of the five deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred in the last two months — which is one more reason to know how to save a life.
“The only thing more tragic than a death is a death that could have been prevented,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is the reality of our world.”