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Charlottesville Fire Department’s Stop The Bleed training can save lives

Spending 90 minutes of your day could save a lifetime for someone else.

Firefighters and paramedics with the Charlottesville Fire Department this week provided 90 minutes of life-saving training to members of a Charlottesville organization working to stop violence in the streets.

Members of the Brothers United to Cease the Killing, also known as the BUCK Squad, a local organization with a mission to reduce gun violence and provide de-escalation intervention in violent situations, participated in the Stop The Bleed certification training at the city’s Ridge Street fire station Thursday night.

The program is part of a national campaign through the American College of Surgeons.

Stop The Bleed teaches and trains people to control severe bleeding before medical help arrives. According to the organization, the number one cause of preventable death after an injury is the bleeding the injury causes. A quick intervention with proper procedures can save a life, they said.

“This is a game changer because we were able to get the Stop The Bleed kits out to an organization that [is] the boots on the ground,” said Fire Captain Lance Blakey.

“They’re out in the city, they’re canvassing, they’re patrolling the neighborhoods. They’re talking to members of the community that may be involved in gang violence or are involved in shootings,” he said. “If they come upon an incident, or a shooting or stabbing or a traumatic event, they’ve been trained and they’re able to act and possibly reduce bleeding, which can ultimately save lives.”

“Our mission is number one, to stop the violence. Number two, when it occurs and we could be around, we need to know what to do for the victim, not only to keep them safe, but to keep us safe,” said Herb Dickerson, squad director.

Blakey led the group training, explaining how to respond when someone is bleeding out. He demonstrated bleeding control methods with the help of other firefighters using models. These included compressing a wound with gauze, applying tourniquets and administering CPR.

Following the demonstrations, each BUCK Squad member had to demonstrate their competency in using each of these methods on the models before receiving their certificate.

Members of the BUCK Squad also received Stop The Bleed kits with medical equipment, provided through a donation from Mission BBQ.

“Not only did they give us nice equipment, but they taught us how to use it. This is going to be instrumental in us going in the streets in the future,” Dickerson said.

Brian Pace, a member of the Squad, said he feels more confident in his ability to respond to violent situations after receiving the training.

“It’s beneficial in our line of work. For me personally, I didn’t know about any of this. I’ve seen them pack wounds on TV, but now I know how to do it,” Pace said.

The department plans to do more training sessions and work with other local organizations to get as many people certified to Stop The Bleed as possible.

Blakey said as a Charlottesville native, it’s important to him to give back to his community through these trainings.

“I’m from this community, born and raised. So I wanted to reach out to the BUCK Squad and provide this training for them because I want to give back to my community and be able to do whatever I can to make a difference,” he said.


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