When we work in an emergency department, we are ready for anything and everything. But even without our tools and our toys, our colleagues and resources, we have the skills to deliver basic, lifesaving care at the scene of an accident or emergency. We think the public should be able to help patients in a crisis before they reach the hospital, too. This belief was the genesis for ACEP’s new “Until Help Arrives” citizen first responder training program.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 38 – No 11 – November 2019
Our desire to bring lifesaving tools to our communities grew from our experience becoming certified hemorrhage control instructors during our trauma rotation in Baltimore. We felt that, with a few simple skills, anyone could be empowered to make a difference when tragedy strikes.
Too often we hear of active shooter events, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and all manner of medical emergencies in our own communities and throughout the world. Unfortunately, we see many of these victims as patients in our emergency departments. As emergency physicians, we have the closest contact with the EMS system and are often the first physicians who have direct patient contact during these terrible events. Still, sometimes a patient arrives too late for us to save, despite everyone’s best efforts. In some of these cases, basic care delivered by those at the scene of the event could have changed the outcome, saving a life.
An Idea Grows, With Help from ACEP
As we began brainstorming ways to bring these skills to our community, we quickly realized we needed financial support. In our search for funding, we came across the ACEP chapter grant program. This grant program allocates approximately $45,000 annually, of which up to $13,500 may be earmarked for chapter development grants. Created in 1983, the grant program’s goal is “recognizing the important role of ACEP chapters in meeting member needs, educating the public, and furthering the advancement of emergency medicine.” We focused our grant proposal on getting funding to obtain the necessary supplies to share these emergency response skills with our community.
Our grant proposal focused on bringing this training to public places such as schools, community centers, and religious organizations. Historically, these locations have been the targets of devastating terrorist and active shooter events.
Many of these institutions have very little budget set aside for disaster preparedness training and supplies. As part of our proposal, we requested a portion of our funding be allocated to donate a small set of correlated supplies, such as tourniquets and combat gauze, to each location. Not only did we want to provide high-quality training to our community, but we wanted to make a lasting impact by providing some basic bleeding control supplies in case of future emergencies.
Soon after submitting our grant application, we were contacted by ACEP about collaborating with them to pilot their new Until Help Arrives course. Not only would this course teach basic lifesaving hemorrhage control skills, but also compression-only CPR. We were more than excited to be a part of an emergency physician-developed and -driven course intended to provide community members with basic lifesaving skills.