GRH, LGFD offer free class to community

The free “Stop the Bleed” class provides training for properly applying a tourniquet as well as how to perform hands-only CPR. The total class time is approximately an hour to 90 minutes and both the La Grande Fire Department and Grande Ronde Hospital are willing to teach it wherever and whenever. GRH Emergency Room Manager April Brock said any group can call the fire department and schedule the free class. Their phone number is 541-963-3123.

—Observer staff

Elgin School District is the first in the county to have its staff trained how to properly use a tourniquet and gauze to “Stop the Bleed.”

In September, The Observer reported the La Grande Fire Department and Grande Ronde Hospital have partnered to offer community members valuable information that could save lives.

In addition to the gauze and tourniquet, the two organizations offer training on how to do hands-only CPR. Since that initial class, students from La Grande Middle School and all members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office have taken part in the class, and the Union County Search and Rescue and La Grande Rural Fire Department are planning to receive the training in the near future.

On Friday, approximately 50 Elgin School District staff learned about bleeding control and the district was given five kits with the items needed if there was an accident in the school.

Elgin Fire Chief Kevin Silvernail heard about the class and felt it was important for the school district to take it. Silvernail and four other firefighters from the Elgin Fire Department lent their expertise on Friday, as well, to help the teachers and staff with their questions.

Elgin School District Superintendent Dianne Greif said it was important for her staff to learn this because Elgin is so far away from GRH.

“We have an excellent fire department, but our staff needs to be aware of (these lifesaving techniques),” Greif said Friday.

She said her staff stays current with their CPR and first aid training, she served as an emergency medical technician for 15 years, and there is school staff who serve on the fire department — but it is important all her staff receive the Stop the Bleed training.

Stella Mayfield Principal Tom Sorensen agreed.

“Anything can happen — and does,” Sorensen said. “We have an important role here of keeping our kids safe. We need to learn the best practices of how to do that.”

He said the staff hopefully will never have to use what they just learned, but they now have the necessary tools if there is an emergency.

GRH Emergency Room Manager April Brock led the training for the school staff. She said the training allows the participants to get comfortable with these techniques so they won’t have heightened anxiety if they ever have to use them.

“I’m glad we can do this,” she said of the free training and giving the free kits to the staff. “Our goal is that we help get them going on implementation.”

Brock told the staff the tourniquets and gauze can all be found on Amazon and would make a great stocking stuffer — as well as a LifeFlight membership.

“We want the community to get their own personal (lifesaving) kits,” she said.

This is a community that likes to hunt, hike and fish, she said, and many accidents happen in the outdoors. If you are suddenly in an emergency situation and you are miles away from the nearest fire department, these techniques may mean the difference between life and death.

“We want to empower people,” Brock said.

A lot can happen between the time someone calls 911 for help and the time emergency responders get there. This training can help keep loved ones alive.

Brock said the more people who take the class the better off the community will be.

“The community members (who take the class) are bridging the gap between the injured person and the emergency responders going to the scene,” she said.

Brock said these classes are available to anyone who wants them.

“We’d like to get in front of as many groups as possible,” she said, emphasizing the importance of this training. “The only thing more tragic than a death is a death that could’ve been prevented.”