Citizens Live class teaches anyone to be prepared for medical emergencies

Eli Backman and Anna Ellis practice treating chest wounds with Diamondville officer Jeff Kolata at the Citizens Live emergency first aid class, taught by Chief Mike Thompson, at Diamondville Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 29. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis) 

Diamondville Town Hall turned into a mock crisis center on Friday, Dec. 29, for the Citizens Live emergency first aid education class.

The free class, which Chief Mike Thompson taught, was an adapted version of a Department of Defense program. Participants learned how to use tourniquets, treat sucking chest wounds, apply direct pressure and pack a wound.

Thompson explained the origins of the education program.

“It was created after 9/11,” Thompson said. “Troops weren’t dying from initial impact and injuries, but from loss of blood.”

Thompson adapted the program for everyday citizens that may need to perform emergency first aid on themselves or others.

“Today threats are more than active shooters,” Thompson said. “It could be a car accident or a hunting accident that you may be in or stumble upon.”

Thompson explained that time is of the essence when someone is seriously injured and losing blood. He demonstrated a mock 9-1-1 call to explain that the arrival time of professional first responders may be too late, and victims or witnesses may need to help themselves to prevent from bleeding out.

“Anyone can be a first responder, including you,” Thompson told the class. “It’s all about administering appropriate care as close to the injury time as possible.”

The class had a hands-on lesson in understanding and applying tourniquets.

Diamondville Police Chief Mike Thompson shows a class member the parts of a manufactured tourniquet at the Citizens Live emergency first aid class at Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 29. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)

“A tourniquet will hurt when applied,” Thompson said. “If it doesn’t, you’re not putting it on correctly.”

Thompson explained that one can use a manifactured tourniquet or  make one in an emergency from a seatbelt or a rifle sling.

Class members learned how to use the manufactured tourniquets by applying them on themselves and their “battle buddy” class members, and also learned how to use a bandage or a seatbelt with a screwdriver or a wrench to apply torque and secure the tourniquet. 

The next part of the class involved treating sucking chest wounds. Thompson explained that this wound could be from a bullet, an arrow, or shrapnel. The foreign object causes the lung to collapse, and blood and air is entering the chest.

Class members employed Diamondville police officer Jeff Kolata as a test dummy to practice raking their fingers across someone’s chest to find the wound, cleaning the wound, applying a seal (which could be anything from a credit card with duct tape or a piece of plastic) to the wound and placing the victim in a recovery position.

Class members learn how to apply direct pressure to a wound with a blood-clotting bandage at the Citizens Live class on Friday, Dec. 29, in Town Hall. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis) 

“These skills are important for rapidly evolving emergency environments,” Thompson said. “Hostile threats or other incidents can happen right here in Wyoming.”

The class also learned how to apply direct pressure bandages and pack a wound with blood clotting bandages. All of the materials provided to the class can be found in many emergency first aid kits, but Thompson said it is important for everyone to know how to use the materials, otherwise they will be useless in an emergency.

Stay tuned for announcements about more of these types of classes that will be taught by Chief Thompson.

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)

Chief Thompson provided each class member with a first aid kit at the class. He also had water bottles of red liquid to show how much blood can be lost in a short amount of time. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)