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Local police, deputies receive life-saving materials through Oaklawn program 

Marshall police and Calhoun County sheriff’s deputies have received updated emergency equipment that could help save lives, through a grant-funded donation arranged by Oaklawn staff. 

Photo Caption: Representatives of Marshall police and the Calhoun County sheriff’s office look over new first-aid kits with equipment to help victims of life-threatening bleeding, donated through a grant-funded program supervised by Oaklawn staff. From left are Marshall Police Department Deputy Police Chief Scott McDonald; Sarah Hughes, Oaklawn’s trauma program manager and injury prevention specialist; Marshall Police Department Lt. Josh Lankerd; and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Vanderbilt.

An officer can respond quickly when a fellow officer or a member of the public is injured and bleeding profusely, because of training through the “Stop the Bleed” program designed by the American College of Surgeons. 

Sarah Hughes, Oaklawn’s trauma program manager and injury prevention specialist, oversees that program in Marshall. Hughes recently visited the Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center north of Marshall to present the Marshall Police Department and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department with more than 50 specialized first-aid kits for storage in police vehicles, to augment the local program. 

To meet the program’s specific needs, the kits have been specially modified to feature materials intended to help victims of life-threatening bleeding, including tourniquets, Hughes said.

“Each year, more than 180,000 people die from traumatic injuries sustained as a result of events including motor-vehicle crashes, falls, accidents, natural disasters and tragic mass-casualty events,” Hughes said. “The most common preventable cause of death in these situations is the loss of too much blood in the minutes before trained emergency responders arrive.”

For more than a year, Hughes and other Oaklawn staff have worked to train local law-enforcement officers to help victims of life-threatening bleeding. The training is provided free of charge to the agencies through Oaklawn’s Trauma and Injury Prevention Program. 

The kits’ availability is supported by a grant from the Michigan Bureau of EMS, Trauma, and Preparedness, as well as financial donations by Oaklawn staff. The kits have a five-year shelf life and are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, Hughes said. 

“Lives will be saved by teaching people in our communities to recognize life-threatening bleeding and provide emergency bystander care,” Hughes said. 

Marshall Police Department Deputy Police Chief Scott McDonald said the existence of a similar program in Kalamazoo County prompted the Marshall area agencies to approach Oaklawn about a year and a half ago to assist officers in such training. He credited Hughes with “grabbing the bull by the horns” to help make the proper equipment available. 

Already, incidents have occurred  in the Marshall area during which the training and equipment were used to minimize potentially life- and limb-threatening circumstances, McDonald and other local officers said. 

“It gives me a lot of peace of mind, knowing that, a hostile situation when an ambulance may not be able to come in until the scene is safe, I still can provide trauma care to my partner or someone else who is hurt,” McDonald said. 

“We can provide a better level of service by having these kits in our cars,” he added. “In this way, local law enforcement is partnering with the local hospital to provide better treatment to the community.” 

The free “Stop the Bleed” program, which includes 1.5 hours of classroom time as well as hands-on training, also is available to other groups and organizations. To obtain information about the program, contact Hughes at (269) 789-7144 or shughes@oaklawnhospital.com. 

A close-up of one of the standardized first-aid kits that has been modified to feature materials intended to help victims of life-threatening bleeding, including a tourniquet. More than 50 such kits have been donated through an Oaklawn program to the Marshall Police Department and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.