When seconds count

Seconds often count in medical emergencies. Imagine if there was a terrible accident and the only person who could save the life of the victim was the deputy who responded to the call? The situation could be the same during a tactical emergency or in an extreme situation such as a natural disaster or an active shooter situation. A variety of outcomes are possible during an emergency situation — loss of limb, cuts from shattered glass, bullet wounds and more. “In the past, the deputy on the call would call the ambulance and hope they would get there on time. He or she would apply pressure and hope for the best,” said Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep. “We wanted to change that situation,” he said.

To better equip Lyon County Sheriff’s deputies in a variety of accident and emergency situations, the sheriff’s department applied for a $1,288 grant from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation to offset the cost of purchasing North American Rescue STORM first aid kits. The Lyon County Conservation office purchased the kits a few years ago and recommended the kits to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department for its squad cars.

“The STORM first aid kits are the next level of first aid kits,” explained Vander Stoep. “Before receiving the new STORM first aid kits, deputies only had standard first aid kits that wouldn’t be efficient in a severe accident,” said the sheriff. The compact, emergency STORM kits contain necessary tools to deal with injured casualties, many things that aren’t in a standard first aid kit, to help reduce unnecessary loss of life.

The first thing is a tourniquet. “I would use a tourniquet in a situation where someone could be losing a lot of blood,” explained Lyon County Sheriff’s deputy William Minor. “I would then wrap it around the part of the body losing circulation to minimize blood loss.” Before the STORM kits, deputies would use a belt at the scene of an accident or something they could find in the car. With the certified tourniquet in the kit, they never have to worry about not having one.

The kit also includes a HyFin Vent package which includes pressure relief vents and chest seals for the treatment of an entry or exit wound or multiple penetrating wounds. “In a situation where anyone would have a gun shot wound, any of the deputies would apply one to the entry wound and one to the exit wound,” explained Minor. “This is meant to help the lung not to collapse and cause severe damage.” The STORM kits also include a package of a blood-clotting agent. According to Minor, deputies would use the clotting agent if they themselves or someone else would have a severe wound. “The clotting agent would slow or hopefully stop the bleeding,” he said.

Deputies also have access to two bundles of gauze in the kits in the event they would have to wrap a limb or other part of an accident victim or perpetrator. A standard first aid kit usually only contains a small roll of gauze and would not be efficient in a life-or-death situation, according to Minor.

The Rescue STORM kit also includes a decompression needle to take pressure out of a lung if it collapsed or to put oxygen back into the lungs. Having the needle in the kit could save precious moments in a critical situation, according to deputy Minor.

Sheriff Vander Stoep and the Lyon County Sheriff’s deputies see the STORM kits as a huge improvement to the squad cars, an improvement that has the potential to save many lives. But the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t want to stop there, according to Sheriff Vander Stoep. “We plan to equip every squad car with an Automated External Defibrillator,” he said, of another valuable tool with the potential to save lives when seconds count.

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